Anti-corruption campaigners in Ghana are relentlessly advocating for the amendment of the country’s electoral to compel the political parties and candidates to disclose their sources of funding for campaigns.
With the 2024 presidential and parliamentary elections months away, discussions on the disclosure of sources of funding for political activities have been revived and various stakeholders advocate for a constitutional review of provisions on elections that will allow some form of transparency.
At a capacity-building workshop for journalists, the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GNCC), Beauty Emefa Nartey, indicated that the amendment would help curb election malpractices like vote buying and monetization of elections in Ghana.
“Each MP would tell you how much they have spent but when you go to the audited accounts they submit to the EC, we do not see that money in there. So you ask yourself, where is the money coming from? How can we make this thing accountable if we do not amend the act?” she said.
She added further that the “GNCC is pushing for that because we need to be transparent. If we do not put these measures in place, soon we will have people who are not Ghanaians interfering in our elections, electing people or helping us to choose people who they want. They are not Ghanaians but they are participating in our electoral place because we do not have these mechanisms in place”.
Meanwhile, Section 13 of the Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574) which is the regulation on the activities of political parties in Ghana stipulates that political parties declare their assets and expenditures before the registration of the party. The act also requires them to state the sources of funding and other assets of the party.
Section 14 of the same Act deals with the declaration of assets, liabilities and expenditures concerning elections. Subsection 1 states, “A political party shall, within twenty-one days before a general election, submit to the Commission a statement of its assets and liabilities in such form as the Commission may direct”.
Also, Section 21, requires political parties to file an annual tax return with the Electoral Commission, indicating the state of its accounts, the sources of their funds, membership dues paid, contributions or donations in cash or kind, the properties of the party and time of acquisition, audited accounts of the party for the year and other particulars as the Commission may reasonably require
Subsection 2 stipulates that citizens have the right to access this information. It states “Any person may, on payment of a fee determined by the Commission, inspect or obtain copies of the returns and audited accounts of a political party filed with the Commission under this section”.
The complete disregard for these acts has necessitated the calls for anti-corruption campaigners to advocate for reforms including putting quotas on election spending to promote fair competition among candidates.