The Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) has challenged assertions that political parties in the country are legally mandated to have offices in at least two-thirds of districts nationwide.
Its flagbearer in the 2012 elections, Dr Henry Herbert Lartey, has stated that the EC’s directive to political parties to ensure they had coverage in most parts of Ghana did not necessarily stipulate the setting up of offices across the country but the need for “visibility”.
Discussions on the presence of political parties across the country have re-emerged following a May 31 ultimatum issued to parties by the Electoral Commission for parties to meet the statutory two-thirds requirement for established offices in the country, failing which such parties will be disqualified from contesting in the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
But most minor parties, including the GCPP, have kicked against the move, threatening court action against the election management body.
But Dr Lartey was certain that the EC’s directive had been misinterpreted. To him, the EC had stated that it would disqualify parties “not organised” in two-thirds of all districts across the country. “It did not say ‘office’, it said ‘organised’. …We are organised in all the [two-thirds]. We have had our constituency, regional and national elections, which means the Electoral Commission has come to conduct elections in those areas. We qualify,” the son of party founder Dan Lartey expressed on Accra100.5FM’s morning show, Ghana Yensom, on Thursday May 19, adding that it had also submitted its updated accounts to the EC and had all its regional offices in place for the last two years.
He said asking “smaller parties” to be established in at least 70 per cent of the country will be to their detriment, a situation he believes will favour the top two political parties – NPP and NDC – which will “knock out the multi-party system”.
He further stated that in modern times, getting a physical address for operations may not be necessary as one can create a “virtual office” and run affairs. “So, this talk about office is just to throw dust into people’s eyes. The requirement is to be visible in [at least two-thirds] of all [districts]. That is the crux of the matter, not that there should be 144 offices.”