29.2 C
Accra
Monday, June 17, 2024

COST OF SELECTING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IN GHANA FOR POLITICAL PARTIES: The Other Side Of The Corruption Coin

Must read

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

…We Need To Question All Things Now As Our Electoral Process 

www.ghanareaders.com

Is One Colossal Political Juggernaut For Corruption From Grassroots Level 

Hence The Compulsive Need For Urgent Electoral Reforms

 

A story is reported on GhanaWeb about a call by my old-time Kumasi brother and friend, Dr. George Ayisi Boateng, former Ghana’s High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa, to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) leadership to ‘investigate and punish Hon. Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, former Member of Parliament for Ejisu, who is accused of participating in an alleged bribery.

This definitely is a TEST CASE that I would support for a logical conclusion of the matter for several reasons, including negative impingement upon our 4th Republican democratic dispensation in the matter of BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION to influence electoral results.

 

Hon. Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, a former Roads Minister, is alleged to have openly confessed on a local Television network that he paid an amount of three million Ghana Cedis (Gh₵3,000,000.00) to influence his selection during the NPP parliamentary primaries in 2020, paying each of the six hundred (600) delegates five thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh₵5,000.00) to entice them to endorse his candidature.

 

When I saw the original story online, reportedly out of the television interview, I asked myself whether it was a matter of a fetish, spiritually, arresting a person in broad daylight at the marketplace during a popular ‘market day’ in a place like Mankesim Roundabout, with traffic jammed both ways – Accra to Cape Coast and Cape Coast to Accra; and with all especially school children running from their classrooms to go and watch the spectacle of the ‘open confession’. 

 

How will an aspiring candidate redeem such a debt and what about all Members of Parliament (MPs) under this dispensation, from the First (1st) Parliament to the Eighth (8th) Parliament; and for that matter, future Parliaments – how do they redeem such investments in one election to be able to contest the next Elections?

 

Who really are the GUILTY persons in this drama: the voters, ordinary Ghanaians like all of us, who make it a condition to demand a motivation as cost of their votes from the party constituency level to be parliamentary candidates or what happens at the national levels as the ELECTED MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT (MP) for a constituency?

 

Why would we complain when after we have voted them into office, extracted monies as payment for our votes, and then they begin to dodge us whilst in office for another motivation or fee?

 

Why do we cry to the high heavens against corruption being endemic in the Ghanaian Society, even as we are rather the GUILTY culprits because we demand payments for our votes, thereby creating this kind of society, as corrupt as during the days of Abraham and Lot during the sojourn at legendary Sodom and Gomorrah in Biblical times?

 

But if you think what happens at the Parliamentary level is scandalous then look for a new adjective for the Presidential, from the party levels – polling centres to constituency to national for the elected candidate to vie for the Office of the President?

 

Truthfully, this is the unstated open secret abomination that has bedeviled our partisan politics since the advent of the 4th Republican Dispensation because it is not for the fainthearted at all, including the possibilities of sourcing for funding from foreign business interests and governments, who could pose national security risks for our nation, Ghana with their financial supports for Presidential Candidates. 

 

The Electoral Colleges of the two (2) dominant political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Party (NDC), with the increased number of Polling Stations to thirty-three thousand (33,000), have raised their numbers to about three hundred thousand (300,000) people who vote to elect the Presidential Candidates of both parties.

 

If we go by the KOA (Kwabena Owusu Aduomi) Principle of Votes Buying during primaries and applying same for the Presidential Nominees with members of the Electoral Colleges demanding amounts far-in excess of what he alleges to have offered each person the sum of five thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh₵5,000.00) then we can understand why we cannot uproot CORRUPTION from our body-politick. The people, who we expect to fight the canker are the guiltiest offenders. as they thrive on these to get elected from constituency to national levels,

 

The following members vote at the constituency level – Council of Elders, Patrons, Constituency Executives, Zonal Coordinators and Polling Station Executives, amounting to about two hundred and ninety-seven thousand (297,000) party members of good standing, vote for the people who offer themselves. Don’t forget they might have paid about fifty thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh₵50,000.00) each for their nomination forms.

 

At the Regional level, there are also Council of Elders, Patrons and Regional Executives, who are about 500 (five hundred), whilst the composition of voters at the National level include Council of Elders, Patrons, Executives, current and or former Metropolitan / Municipal / District Chief Executives, sitting and former Members of Parliament (MPs), Student Delegates of either TESCON (Tertiary Students Confederacy for NPP) or TEIN (Tertiary Education Institutions Network for the NDC). Both TESCON and TEIN have been one of the most important wings of both parties for student and political activism and grassroots mobilization.

 

The fight for the Presidential Candidature for either party is definitely not for the fainthearted, especially as most members of the Party’s Electoral College know that it is their ‘Cocoa Season’ every four years, and that after the elections, the candidate, possibly after becoming President of the Republic of Ghana, will not be seen or heard from again, not even for a ‘Thank You’. This way, the transaction is strictly cash down, making it a truly ‘COCOA SEASON’ as the least or minimum inducement fee is five thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh₵5,000.00) for a party in opposition and ten thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh₵10,000.00) for a party in government at the constituency level.

 

Indeed, from the grape vine, it is reckoned that some of the members at the national level in various caucuses could demand twenty thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh₵20,000.00) per person, whilst there is always the inducement factor by collecting double or triple from all candidates vying for the party candidacy.

 

By the KOA Principle of Votes Buying, a Presidential Aspirant would require about three billion Ghana Cedis (Gh₵3,000,000,000.00) or half a billion US Dollars (USD$500,000,000.00) to secure the party slot, not counting the budget for Transportation & Vehicles, Advertising & Paraphernalia, Security and Rallies & Events Organisation.

 

Amazingly, this is about same budget required to launch and execute any one of the flagship projects launched in this country under the 4th Republican Dispensation.

 

So you tell me, how can any government in power, honestly and truthfully fight CORRUPTION IN GHANA, except by LIP SERVICE? They cannot because they need to pay back the expenses of the campaigns that brought them into office and worse is one who had campaigned severally before finally getting into office, including collateralizing a party’s headquarters on the blindside of the executives for funds in order to challenge again at the next opportunity. 

 

The next level is the GENERAL ELECTIONS itself and that obviously will be more than four (4) or five (5) times the expenditure for securing the Party’s Presidential Candidature; no wonder we are where we are, because, in the first two (2) years of a new government’s tenure in office, they will need to divert our attentions from their PAYBACKS to their sponsors and loan-givers by way of juicy contracts, sometimes for ‘GHOST’ businesses or consultancies.  

 

In other jurisdictions, the parties rely on DRUG LORDS for the financial supports at all levels with the intent to look the other way with a fake campaign for fighting same.

 

After they have paid off those loans and facilities, then they have to now marshal a new war chest for the next campaign for the second-term in office; if you add ‘BREAKING THE EIGHT’ campaign then the calculations become obscene as here now, the minimum at each level of the campaign changes.

 

If we cannot fight this CANKER, then the least we can do is to pursue stringent ELECTORAL REFORMS to include full disclosure of all campaign sources of funds as well as expenditure to be audited by international auditing firms and the Audited Reports of these exercises should be published in all local, recognized dailies. Thereafter, there should be a set period for any member of public to question any item in the Report and seek clarity from the courts of law.

 

There should also be FIXED CEILINGS on how much an individual can give to a political party for elections, annual or monthly dues, a strict law barring foreigners, either individuals or corporate entities, from giving to parties, whilst any and all funds from criminal activities should not only be banned but declared criminal offences. 

 

There should also be FULL DISCLOSURES of the audited accounts of all Presidential Candidates, stating assets and liabilities before entering public life and on exit, same be published for all citizens to know how they lived their lives in public offices.

 

I don’t sincerely mind the call for state sponsorship of political parties except there has then be stringent punishment of life sentence without repeal for those in public office, who are convicted under the new law on Campaign Financing.

 

This is part of the CHANGE we want to see with our politics. The old way of ‘RAGS TO RICHES’ stories by politicians, who enter politics not for public service of selflessness but to loot and share should be a thing of the past, definitely not after three decades of experimentations.

 

We also need to reconsider the law on IMMUNITIES for the Presidents of the Republic after they leave office after second terms of office or lose a comeback – we definitely need a whole new paradigm otherwise we might as well forget what holds us as a nation and as a people and become like an imaginary island nation of pirates.

 

You see, from where I sit, our politics and political parties is a WHOLE NEW BUSINESS ENTERPRISE for the political class, otherwise why would the nomination forms for the Chairmanship of a political party cost as much as twenty thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh₵20,000.00) each so that after winning a General Election, this person is made the CHAIRMAN of the GNPC – Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, where, where the Ruling Party Chairman and the CEO could flex muscles as to who is really in charge of our oilfields? Sincerely, is that why we queue in the sun for so long to cast our votes to what end – not our collective but personal or sectional interests?

 

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, sooner than later so join the Change now and refuse to be a BYSTANDER because no bystander is ever innocent, either here on earth or at the final day of reckoning after death.

 

Need I say more?

 

 

By Magnus Naabe RexDanquah, the Ghanaian – is a Land Economist & Appraiser, 

Events Architect & Planner, SportBusiness Consultant, Social Commentator and an Author

(The Daily Searchlight appears every day on the newsstands and for sale 24 hours every day and all week on www.ghananewstand.com. Visit www.ghananewstand.com for a wide variety of newspapers published in Ghana and from across the world.)

- Advertisement -

More articles

Latest article