The presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, says there cannot be free and fair elections if the Electoral Commission (EC) fails to strictly implement the Political Parties’ Law.
Making the strongest case yet for the implementation of the Political Parties’ Law during a visit to the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in Accra yesterday, Dr Nduom said even though the Constitution had given powers to the EC to decide on the accepted criteria for the formation and operation of a political party, it appeared the EC was reluctant in applying the law.
Dr Nduom and his party’s national executive interacted with editors at the Editorial Conference of the Daily Graphic and witnessed the processes followed in the selection of stories for publication.
He said since 1992, the EC had refused to do its work and that political parties that were defunct or decided to go on holidays remained recognised by the EC.
Dr Nduom observed that those parties surfaced only during election periods and thereafter, went into hibernation when they should be playing defined roles in shaping policies and critiquing the ruling party’s actions and inactions.
He was of the opinion that the media had not helped much in holding the EC accountable to its functions as enshrined in the Constitution. “Pressure must be put on the EC to do the right thing,” he added.
He said it was not an easy task hiring the services of an auditor to audit the party’s account which the PPP had done, noting that some “so-called big parties” had failed to do so but the EC had not cracked the whip”.
With the announcement by the EC for flag bearers and aspiring Members of Parliament (MPs) to pick nomination forms, some parties that were virtually dead have sprung up to life and gone for the nomination forms but no one has questioned their eligibility.
Funding of political parties
Another matter that the flag bearer of the PPP described as an issue of concern was that the law was certain on who could contribute to the financing of political parties but the EC had failed to question the source of funding of political parties.
So, he said, it was possible for a political entity to be using state resources for political campaigns, saying “things are happening but the custodians of the law do not bother.”
Dr Nduom recounted that following the 2012 elections, the PPP wrote a letter to the EC concerning the use of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards in registering voters but the EC conveniently ignored it, adding that the voter register, as it currently stood, was not “correct” and that at the end of the day, the results of the elections could be contested as not “free and fair.”
GCGL on the move
In his welcome address, the Director, Newspapers of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, stressed the commitment of the company to partner political parties in a bid to deepen the country’s democracy.
Over the past years, he said GCGL had opened its doors wide for any political party that intended to use the company’s brands to project its objectives and mandate.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh said GCGL, in this year’s elections, had created a wider platform to dialogue with the political parties by providing a wider coverage for them to sell their policies.
The director said the company respected all political parties because without them the country’s development would not be complete.
For his part, the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Ransford Tetteh, said the brand believed very much in accuracy and integrity.
He said GCGL would not allow its various brands to be used as a tool for chaos but would consciously allow itself to be an agent of national development by playing fair, being accurate and balanced in its reportage.
Dr Nduom was accompanied by a high-powered delegation including Mr Allotey Brew Hammond, National Chairman, the Vice-Presidential Candidate, Ms Brigitte Dzogbenuku, Mr Mike Eghan, an elder of the party and Mr Richard Keelson, National Campaign Coordinator.
Source: radioxyzonline.com/files from graphic