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The Institute for Development Governance (IDEG) and Redikale Venstre (RV) have organised a two-day workshop aimed at building the capacity of small parties in Ghana to make an impact on the political scene.
The workshop assessed the performances of the smaller parties in the 2016 election and how the lessons learned could help them grow and have presence in the legislative and executive arm of government.
It also reviewed the role played by the Electoral Commission, the media and security services in the pre and the post-election.
The programme begun on Wednesday 28 and would end on Thursday 29.
The participant included the leadership of the seven smaller political parties namely; the Convention Peoples Party(CPP),Democratic People’s Party (DPP),Great Consolidated Popular Party(GCPP) ,Independent Peoples Party(IPP),National Democratic Party (NDP),Peoples National Convention(PNC) and the Progressive Peoples Party(PPP).
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Kofi Awity, the Director of Operations for IDEG said “IDEG and its partners are committed to seeing to the active participation of the smaller political parties in Ghana, and the lessons learnt from the session would be analysed and used to build their capacity in anticipation of the next election”.
He also said though the elections were over, he did not expect the parties to go to sleep and wait for the next election therefore IDEG would look at the role they could play in the district and local levels to remain relevant.
Mr Jorgen Estrup, the project coordinator for RV, said the parties were on course by being at the workshop and other similar ones because his discussions so far with the seven parties revealed that they went through rough times during the elections but are still moving on after the elections.
He said it was clear that Ghana had tuned into duo-polistic system like the Americans and was therefore not recognizing the smaller ones and they could only convince the electorate by stating their case about power and money.
Assessing the performances of the smaller parties, Mr Kwesi Jonah, Project coordinator for IDEG said a surface look at the 2016 election results would portray the smaller parties as doomed and out of government because they don’t have presence in parliament and were as well not making progress in the presidential election.
He explained that the smaller parties namely the PNC and the PPP lost the only two seats they had in parliament during the elections.
Again, the parties made no progress in the presidential election because the figure obtained from the 2012 election, thus 1.6 per cent was the same figure they had in the 2016 election.
However, a critical analysis of this same election results demonstrated that the smaller parties could perform well adding that some of the parties performed well in their constituencies by obtaining from 20 to 33 percent of the votes, a figure which was significant when compared to that of the two big bigger parties- NDC and the NPP.
He said the only way those parties could have proportionate representation in parliament and governance was to form alliances and mergers.
Talking about experiences from the election, most of the parties present said they believe the act by the EC was a deliberate attempt to stop them from contesting.
They said, the exorbitant filing fees, the request by EC on political parties to have the required number of offices in the districts, the issues with signatures that lead to the disqualification of some presidential and parliamentary candidates were all an attempt to prevent them from contesting.
On the role played by the EC, Mr Murtala Mohammed National Secretary of PPP also said the demeanor of the EC wasn’t the best and should be looked at.
He said the EC boss didn’t listen to their pleas and concern making it difficult for them to come to a consensus.
The group agreed that the media and the security services performed up to expectation though there were few hitches that disrupted the peaceful nature of the election.
The group recommended that in order to avoid some of these programmes in the next election, Ghana should go e-voting to do away with the monetisation of the elections.
Mr Kwabena Okeyere, a National Committee member for PPP said issues on party offices and bloated register in districts should be interpreted by the Supreme Court and solved by the national identification cards.
IDEG is a not-for-profit policy research and advocacy organisation established in 2000 with vision of sharing knowledge for sustainable development and a free, just and prosperous society in Ghana and the rest of Africa.
In 2015, the organisation and RV, a Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD) organised the Small Political Parties and Multiparty Democracy in Ghana (SPMDG) that build the capacity of small parties in Ghana to be able to make an impact on the political scene.
The team organised a series of activities for them in the lead up to the 2016 elections.
Some of the main activities organised were outreach to parties, agenda setting meeting with parties, manifesto preparation, publicity, dissemination, advocacy and public education activities, debate credible elections and peace building activities.
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