General News of 2014-01-24

It is not wrong to induce delegates with money – Jake

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey says candidates are free to use money to influence delegates if they have it because in politics, money is a gift.

Responding to allegations of inducement and corruption ahead of elections to select regional executives, Jake gave a lecture on the importance of using one's strength in politics.

"If you speak well, then go and speak well, if you are a good organizer, show the people you are a good organiser, if you have money..then use the money, if you have time and patience then show the people you have time and patience", - an advice that could potentially increase a vote-buying orgy.

An aspiring Regional Chairman Bernard Antwi-Boasiako aka Wontumi this week donated a three-storey building to the party to be used as office space. The decision of the Regional Chairman to accept the donation has angered the other contenders who complain of bias.

But to Jake, politics "is like a heptathlon, it's not just one event...there is sprint, long distance, shooting, there is swimming [and] archery. Some of those things you will be good at, some of those things you are not so good at, so you work hard to make sure that you don't fall too far back... and you maximize the advantage that you have".

The National Chairman who is also seeking re-election says "it will be difficult in politics to stop them from using their strengths" despite concerns that this amounts to vote buying.

But a political scientist at the University of Ghana, Ransford Gyampo is disappointed in the NPP leader's comment saying; "that statement shouldn't come from a high profile person like him".

Although he concedes that money is important in running a campaign, he fears it undermines internal democracy of the party.

According to the senior lecturer, using money to influence voters, creates uneven playing field, sacrifices fair competition and creates rancour and bitterness for those disadvantaged by the lack of money.

He conjectured that the NPP Chairman may have made the comment because he is also contesting but he warns, undue monetary influence creates ineffective leaders.