Monetization Of Politics Threatens Democracy – Stakeholders

Prof Joseph Atsu Ayee

A stakeholders’ conference has been held at the University of
Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to find a way
of minimizing if not completely eliminating the emerging trend of monetization
of politics in the country which participants think it is a threat to Ghana’s
fledgling democracy.

There were participants from the academia, political parties,
civil society organizations and some public democratic institutions who
deliberated and had panel discussions under the theme: “Money, Influence,
Corruption and Capture. Can Ghana’s Democracy Be Safeguarded?”

Opening the conference, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs,
who doubles as the Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said
the time has come for political parties and politicians to critically look at
the creeping monetization of politics in the country which is directly or
indirectly hampering the efforts to fight against corruption in public
office. 

He said it is now rich people who are determining the type of
politicians who occupy public offices in Ghana and politicians with money who
are able to go to Parliament or win party positions.

According to him, when such people expend such huge sums of money
to get political power, they had to find ways and means to get their money back
and even make profit as well as stock their financial arsenal for the next
elections if they want to retain their positions.

He said if the current trend is to be reversed then political
parties and political actors would have to come out with a proactive
legislation that would allow political parties to select their parliamentary
and presidential candidates based on competence, integrity and merit and not in
the hands of party delegates.

The main speaker at the conference, Prof Joseph Atsu Ayee of the
Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, said it was time Ghana
looked critically at the idea of the state sponsoring political parties to help
reduce the temptation of influencing the election of party representatives with
money.

He also stressed the need for legal regime to control the extent of spending on internal party elections as well as general elections.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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