Reduce the cost of organizing election – CDD charges EC

0
Ghana marks 25 years of democratic governance in the Fourth Republic
Ghana marks 25 years of democratic governance in the Fourth Republic

The Center for Democratic Governance, CDD has appealed to the new Commissioners of the Electoral Commission to put in place the necessary measures that will reduce the cost of conducting elections in Ghana.

CDD observed that the amount spent in the organisation of election saw an astronomical rise in figure in 2016 compared to the 2012 cost.

The Civil Society Organisation asserted that the cost involved in engaging in an election shot up by 59% from 2012 to 2016, potentially costing as much as $85,000 (GH?403,750) to contest primaries and parliamentary elections.

This the Organisation notes has a tendency to widen the participation gap, exclude the marginalised and competent people from contesting elections and weaken the democratic credentials of the country over time.

A press release issued by CDD to mark International Democracy Day on September 15, it remarked, “according to a 2017 research conducted by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and CDD-Ghana, the cost of elective politics (i.e. electing a Member of Parliament to serve a 4-year term) increased by 59% from 2012 to 2016, costing a candidate in 2016 as much as $85,000 (GH?403,750) to contest primaries and parliamentary elections. This excessive cost of campaigns has implications on further widening the inclusion gap; has exclusionary effects, especially by gender and other social groups; deter qualified, honest and service-oriented citizens to contest elections; and above all has the tendency to reduce citizens’ interest and preference for democratic governance over time”

They thus urged the “the new leadership of the Electoral Commission (EC) must work to reduce the cost of running elections by half in 2020 and rigorously enforce existing political party financing legislation.”

Below are the full details of the press release by CDD.

MAKE DEMOCRACY WORK FOR THE CITIZENRY – CDD-GHANA TO GOVERNMENT

As the world prepares to celebrate this year’s International Day of Democracy on Saturday, September 15, 2018, under the theme, “Democracy Under Strain: Solution for a Changing World,” the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) calls on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to take concrete steps to enhance the country’s democratic systems to benefit its citizens.

This year marks an important milestone in the country’s democratic journey – 25 years of the Fourth Republic. As noted by the Afrobarometer Executive Director, Professor E. Gyimah-Boadi in a recent public lecture, the 14th edition (2018) of the ‘Kronti ne Akwamu’ lecture series, Ghana’s democracy has entered the stage of consolidation.

The Center congratulates Ghanaians on this important feat and also recognizes the substantial progress made in our democratic governance system. Significantly, we note that popular support for democracy in the country has increased over the years. This is evidenced in the Afrobarometer 2017 survey that revealed a 13-percentage-point increase in Ghanaians’ preference for democracy (from 68% in 2015 to 81% in 2017). As one of Africa’s touted democracies, Ghana prides itself for having held seven successful elections, three of which led to alternations of executive power.

Notwithstanding the achievements, it is equally important to note that there remains a significant gap within the political system which can always lead to democratic reversals. While Afrobarometer data indicates that eight in 10 Ghanaians support regular, open and honest elections – which is one of the key indicators of a good democracy – CDD-Ghana is concerned that the rising cost of elections, both elective and administrative, puts an undue strain on political inclusion and ultimately, our democracy.

According to a 2017 research conducted by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and CDD-Ghana, the cost of elective politics (i.e. electing a Member of Parliament to serve a 4-year term) increased by 59% from 2012 to 2016, costing a candidate in 2016 as much as $85,000 (GH?403,750) to contest primaries and parliamentary elections. This excessive cost of campaigns has implications on further widening the inclusion gap; has exclusionary effects, especially by gender and other social groups; deter qualified, honest and service-oriented citizens to contest elections; and above all has the tendency to reduce citizens’ interest and preference for democratic governance over time. As the cost of elective politics (campaigns) is on the rise, the cost of running elections is also on the ascendancy. For instance, at $12.3 per voter in 2016, the cost of Ghana’s general elections per voter is unjustifiably higher than in Nigeria ($9.33 in 2015), Tanzania ($5.16 in 2015) and Uganda ($4 in 2016). This, if not checked, may propel Ghana to a point where it may be difficult to organize elections in the future. The inability to hold general elections at its stipulated time could also undermine the tenets of democracy, threaten the peace and stability of the country and hamper socio-economic development.

The International Day of Democracy presents yet another opportunity for CDD-Ghana to reiterate recommendations put forth by Prof. E. Gyimah-Boadi at the just ended 14th ‘Nkronti ne Akwamu’ public lecture for addressing gap in inclusiveness, representation and political participation of Ghanaians.

The new leadership of the Electoral Commission (EC) must work to reduce the cost of running elections by half in 2020 and rigorously enforce existing political party financing legislation.

Government should reconsider and increase the paltry budget allocations to the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection – the sector Ministry ostensibly established to support the vulnerable in our societies.

State and non-state actors must intensify civic and democracy education throughout the country in order to enhance the civic competence, interest, participation and build political efficacy.

In addition, CDD-Ghana believes our leaders must work towards consolidating our democracy to solve the widening inclusion gap in order to bring into the fold, the young and marginalized to promote inclusiveness, representation and political participation.

Finally, CDD-Ghana takes this opportunity to call on the government and relevant state institutions to create the enabling environment necessary for promoting an inclusive developed democracy as aptly stated by the former UN Secretary, the late Kofi Annan, “No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime”.

 

Do you have a news item or publication that needs to be featured on Mynewsghana.com?  Send them to [email protected]

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here