Ghana needs independent body to monitor party financing – EU

General News of Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

2017-03-01

Tamas EUDr. Tamas Meszerics, Head of EU Election Observation Mission in Ghana

The European Union (EU) Observer Mission for Ghana’s 2016 Election has suggested that an independent institution be set up to monitor political party campaign financing for elections.

The international observer mission argues that the move will help reduce extravagant spending by parties and promote transparency.

According to the Leader of the mission, Dr Tamas Meszerics, the Electoral Commission (EC) was expected to regulate and enforce the political party laws on campaign financing, but it appeared overwhelmed with its responsibilities, causing it to abandon that duty.

Nearly three months after the election, the mission reveals that campaign financing is key among issues the country must begin to look at critically.

Right to Information Bill

Mr Meszerics noted that another recommendations was the need for a timely passage of the Right to Information Bill to help increase the confidence in the electoral process.

He said the EU believed that with the passage of such a bill, it would empower civil society and other stakeholders to have easier access to information which would help reduce the tension as witnessed in every election in the country.

State-owned media

The EU EOM, according to Mr Meszerics, observed that there was an over bias of state-owned media in favour of the party in power.

“We believe GBC should be reformed to ensure that it fulfils its obligation as a public broadcaster,” he said, adding that there was the need for a mechanism to ensure the independence of the state-owned media and a regulatory mechanism to guarantee impartialities and bias of state-owned media, with special regard to campaign times.

Reaction

In an interview in reaction to the press conference, the Campaign Manager of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2016 election, Mr Peter Mac Manu, corroborated the aspect of bias in favour of the then ruling party, saying that the NPP had the occasion to complain about it and urged the media to differentiate between government activities and political campaigns.

He called for the need to enact laws, citing Senegal which had it in its statutory books that six months to elections, the government could not inaugurate new projects, and called for a national discourse in that regard, stating the cut-off point at which an incumbent could not inaugurate a new project.

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