The Director of Policy Research at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr. Kojo Asante, has expressed fears that the recent public disclosure and accusations of vote-buying in party elections could cripple the country’s democracy.
This follows claims by the Ashanti Regional Chairman for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako, who said that his party meddled in the just-ended National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary primaries.
Antwi Boasiako, also known as Chairman Wontumi, said the governing NPP intervened by directly paying monies to delegates and key persons within the NDC who subsequently handed such monies to delegates ahead of the primaries.
Speaking on the matter on Eyewitness News, Dr. Asante said ‘normalizing’ the monetization of politics in the country is gradually becoming detrimental to Ghana’s democratic gains.
“If people engage in vote-buying and other shenanigans just to serve the people, If we don’t do something about the corruption of our elections, and think that it will produce something good in our development, we are basically monitoring the system. We keep talking about these things but we are not putting any firm policy response in place to tackle the problem of vote-buying and campaign financing. The fact that we are saying that in public, means that the problem is perverse. We are normalizing something which is illegal and undermining our democracy. We are really corrupting our democracy and we shouldn’t be surprised if the system is not able to hold anymore.”
Mr. Asante is also worried that there is no firm policy to address the problem of vote-buying in the country’s political space.
He fears illegalities are being normalized and the system will be affected in the long-run.
“This is a very dangerous thing. Can we put a cap on spending and have a system to track those who break it and have them sactiones if they break it. If we don’t do anything about the monetization, our politics and parties are really going to be hijacked by those who have money. The parties do not even have injunction about vote-buying so there is nothing to hold anyone accountable. We have to try to correct this system. If the system doesn’t self-correct, it will not be able to deliver the aspirations that Ghanaians set up for the 1992 constitution.”
Bernard Antwi Boasiako claimed he orchestrated the defeat of the NDC Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak in the NDC’s just ended parliamentary primaries.
Chairman Wontumi claimed he took the decision to teach Mr. Mubarak a lesson for being “too loud.”
Laws must deal with Wontumi
Responding to these claims, Mr. Mubarak on Eyewitness News said Chairman Wontumi has to be prosecuted for allegedly engaging in such criminality.
“If there is any criminality in what he is claiming to have done, clearly it is a lawful country and the laws of the land will deal with him.”
I spent GH¢300,000 to campaign in parliamentary primaries – Xavier Sosu
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate for the Madina constituency, Francis Xavier Sosu, had also claimed that he spent about GH¢ 300,000 on his campaign ahead of the party’s parliamentary primaries held last Saturday.
He said the funds were expended on items including feeding and transportation for delegates, fuel for campaign travels among others.
“For now, I can’t say for a fact but I’m sure it should be somewhere over GH¢300,000. That is from somewhere July 2018 till now. It may be more, I am yet to reconcile…. Generally, the key elements include posters, branch visitations and most likely you would have to convey them; cost of transportation, feeding, cost of buying fuel for your team and sometimes petty requests coming from delegates; you take care of medical bills, school bills and so on,” Xavier Sosu said.