Should the number of political parties be pruned down?

2020 Political Parties Some of the political parties in the country

Sat, 10 Oct 2020 Source: Osei Tutu

When the Electoral Commission raised the presidential filing fees by 100%, that is from Ghc50,000.00 to Ghc100,000.00, I thought the idea was to restrain a number of political parties which are always in to add to the numbers from contesting.

If the ideas were to scare some political parties and some individuals from contesting the presidential race, then it has failed woefully. By close of the last day for filing of nomination, Friday 9th October 2020, a whopping fourteen political parties and three Independent candidates had filed to contest.

The question is should all these seventeen political parties and individuals be allowed to contest? My answer is NO.

I wonder what will be the length of the ballot paper if all these parties and individuals are allowed.

Some way must be sought to prune down the numbers to a manageable level. The question is what criteria should be adopted to prune down the numbers?

One of the criteria for a political party to have license and operate is to have functioning offices in at least two-thirds of the number of constituencies in the country. In other words, each political party must be seen to be active in at least 183 constituencies.

Apart from NPP, NDC and one or two other parties, I can say without any fear of contradiction that none of the remaining parties satisfy this requirement. And I believe it is a fair and legitimate ground to disqualify them during vetting.

Some of the parties don't even have a single office. And some, apart from their headquarters, you will be hard-pressed to find their presence anywhere else.

Let's face it some of the contestants and their sponsoring parties are plain jokes and time wasters and must not be entertained at all. Some of them also know very well that they just cannot win but want to be there for fame and influence.

As a nation, we cannot afford to spend so much resources by way of printing of lengthy ballot papers for the sake of satisfying some people's inordinate ambition.

As for the Independent candidates, the least said about them the better. The electoral process will be better off without them. Records show they don't make any impact at the presidential level and there is nothing to show that things are going to be any different.

If this criterion alone is strictly applied, I believe the number of parties and individuals contesting at the presidential level can be reduced to the barest minimum and Ghana will be the better for it.

Columnist: Osei Tutu
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