A Parliamentary aspirant seeking to enter the legislature in Ghana should be prepared to cough a little over GH¢2million for campaigns and other over head costs.
The longest serving lawmaker in Ghana’s parliament and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kinsford Bagbin who made the shocking disclosure, said ‘moneycracy’ is gradually taking over democracy in the country as a result.
“In our minds political office is private business so young men and women are struggling to be members of the national parliament. Your salary is so low it cannot take you up to two weeks. When you join a political party to be a parliamentary candidate and go round to campaign, party members demand money. When you pay courtesy calls on chiefs you are supposed to part with something”, he disclosed.
According to him, the resources candidates dole out are supposed to come from their own pockets and in situations where they are unable to meet that challenge they rely on ‘money bags’ a term used to describe the sources that fund the campaign.
“When you go to talk to your party members and any of them you approach, they will tell you that you cannot just come and talk to me like that and go away. When you visit the chiefs the courtesy must be followed your pocket is empty. Some people are funding you and you are dolling out to the constituents because they know their bread is buttered when you are in office”, he disclosed.
“When you are going around and you are not greasing palms they will vote against you. When you do not organize events and let the drinks, food and music flow you are bound to lose. If you don’t visit the community too, they will tell you that you do not respect and will vote against you. You don’t have the money and some people are sponsoring. You spend about two million Ghana cedis to be elected as a member of parliament. Now you are in parliament and there is call ‘serve the state’. …Who who pays the piper calls the tune”, he said.
He explained that those who sponsor you are in the shadow and need to be satisfied despite the party’s manifesto that is in place.
Hon Bagbin observed that politicians go through this struggle to be elected which is the genesis of corruption reiterating the need for something to be done in order to reverse the trend.
‘We can’t fight corruption and when I speak out then I am lambasted and insulted, but that is the truth and you cannot take it away. Recently I was talking about Nana Akufo-Addo and I said well after fighting three world wars and becoming president, all those three world wars people funded you and now you say you are going to fight corruption, you think they are “Father Christmas?”
“I’m charging the President to lead the way in cleansing the system, redefine politics and also reduce the cost of political business in Ghana.