John Dramani Mahama has kicked against the state financing political parties at the moment because, in his view, the country is broke and cannot absorb additional expenditure streams.
Instead, Mr Mahama is suggesting political parties broaden their source of funding through technology powered by electronic crowdfunding platforms.
In his address at a public lecture on political financing in Ghana and launch of JM 2024 fundraising platform at the UPSA in Accra on Wednesday, 22 March 2023, the former president said “as a key actor in our political space since 1996, I can attest to the relevance of ethical campaign financing in Ghana. Whereas some political actors have advocated state sponsorship for political parties, the truth is, Ghana is today, broke. Ghana is struggling to secure an IMF programme lest the economy collapses totally by end of March 2023, according to the Minister for Finance. This being the case, Ghana cannot, at the moment, absorb additional expenditure streams.”
He noted that “truth be told, the state already supports political parties in many ways – many political parties have on many occasions had their filing fees returned to them after elections, because they attained the minimum threshold of votes. This means the state finances filing fees.”
Also, in the past, he indicated that government has through the Electoral Commission procured and distributed vehicles to political parties in proportion to the share of votes in the immediate past election.
“With the possibility of further state financing shut, at least for now,” he said his aim is to “re-open the conversation on political party financing in Ghana, with emphasis on needed reforms and regulation to promote transparent and broad-based financing options for parties.”
Mr Mahama said in the future, if the state wants to continue to finance political parties, there should be an independent and credible institutions that should be mandated to ensure fairness in sharing the funds to beneficiary parties.
“Ghana today is broke. International credit rating agencies have placed us in junk status. Additional state financing can, therefore, not be a viable option on the table. Even if that becomes an option in the future, I recommend that we put in place an explicit Public Funding of Political Parties Bill in a bipartisan and inclusive manner.
“I further recommend that should public funding of political parties be scaled up in the foreseeable future, then, an independent and credible institution must be selected to administer the state resources advanced to political parties.
“In that regard, a sharing formula could be established to ensure fairness, and specific disclosure requirements on beneficiary parties. This must be complemented by auditing and publication of party accounts,” the former president suggested.