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General News Fri, 19 Oct 2001

Subject funding of political parties to debate - Kedem

Mr Kosi Kedem, NDC MP for Hohoe South says there was the need for the state to fund political parties now that Ghanaians were confident that multi-party political system has come to stay.

He thus urged the government to give the idea a serious consideration and subject it to a national public debate.

Mr Kedem, who was making the statement in Parliament on "Zero-tolerance for corruption and state funding of registered political parties," said many countries including Tanzania, South Africa, the USA, Canada and some Western European countries, partly enjoy funding of political parties by the state.

"Essentially, the partial funding of registered political parties will minimise the incidence of corruption in politics and above all strengthen democratic governance.

"However, structures and checks should be put in place to ensure that the concept is not abused by politicians."

Mr Kedem said: "If we are talking about good governance, which depends heavily on the existence of an active, virile opposition, then it stands to reason that the opposition parties should be assisted financially by the state."

Since 1993 the idea of state funding of registered political parties has come up for discussion albeit infrequently at seminars and occasionally in Parliament but no concrete decision has been taken on the issue. The NPP, then in the minority advocated for the state to fund political parties. Although the NDC then in government indicated that they agree in principle to the proposal, they insisted that the government did not have the resources to undertake the rather expensive venture.

Political analysts say it is interesting that the NDC is now raising the matter.

"We are now in a new political dispensation and Ghanaians are now confident that multi-party political system has come to stay and it is important that the system should be strengthened and sustained. And to do that the state should do well to consider giving some financial assistance to the political parties."

Mr Kedem said there was no way President John Agyekum Kufuor could implement successfully the policy of "zero-tolerance for corruption" without the state giving some financial assistance to the political parties.

”The governing party itself will need money to run its operation and if it has not got the money it may be tempted to dip its long hands into the national coffers” the MP said adding, the opposition parties on the other hand need financial assistance to enable them to function properly or even survive."

President Kufuor in August this year, at the New Patriotic Party (NPP) national congress at Legon called for a national debate on state funding of political parties and explained that he knew what it took for ones' party to be in opposition.

Source: GNA