An Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, has said Ghana’s democracy is gradually treading on a dangerous path with the over-increasing splashing of money by politicians as bait to influence the electorate to win power.
He said if measures were not taken to curtail the corrupt practices which had become a social canker, a time will come that the country’s democracy would be on sale.
Prof. Gyampo, who shared his views on the issue of monetisation in politics with the Daily Graphic, was of the opinion that giving money to someone for the purpose of influencing that person for political gain amounted to what was called “treating” in political science parlance.
That, he said, would not allow for the selection or the emergence of the right caliber of politicians to steer the affairs of the nation.
He said once the nation found itself in such a situation, the democratic expression of choice of the people would be undermined because the tendency of voting for people the electorate did not believe in would be high.
Prof. Gyampo, who is also the Director of the Centre for European Studies, said monetisation, “which is a coinage in Ghanaian politics is a recipe for corruption and avenue for incompetent leaders because once they are elected to power, they would find every means to recoup all the monies they had spent on the electorate during the campaign”.
He said, ‘‘the idea is to get the political kingdom first and all other things will be added. So it is like selling your mother to get power, and once you get the power, you can use that same power to get your mother back.’’
Prof. Gyampo said Ghanaians were in an era where politicians had become dishonest, self-seeking, self-serving and did not care about the interest of the people and for that matter, they would use all manner of corrupt means to win power.
‘’They always promise the electorate heaven, knowing very well that they can give them nothing. All that they are looking for is how to win power and nothing else matters. The cliché is that tell the people what they want them to hear and on that basis they can give you the mandate.
‘‘Interestingly, the electorate have also realised that once the politicians are voted to power, they will not serve them or attend to their needs. So they have also adopted a strategy to siphon money from them when they are seeking for their mandate. That is why the money factor has become very obvious in political party primaries,’’ he remarked.
According to Prof. Gyampo, one major factor that had contributed to the situation was that party delegates and the electorate were wallowing in poverty, and politicians being mindful of their status, would always give them money as a way of dealing with their financial challenges.
‘‘If you are poor, there isn’t anything like small or little amount. Anything that you would be given is accepted,’’ he said.
He explained that the lack of public funds for political parties had been another factor which had given politicians the leeway to misappropriate funds for their selfish interest.
He added that money that such politicians usually gave to party supporters and delegates would not have been possible if their political activities were funded by the state.
‘‘With public funding, when a political party is organising its primaries, the party will rent vehicles or buses to transport the electorate from wherever they are coming from to the venue to enable them to exercise their franchise.
‘‘But because there is nothing like public funding for political parties, the need to cater for some of these delegates has fallen on the shoulders of those with fat pockets.
‘‘These politicians who use money to win power usually do not have what it takes to represent the interest of the people that is why they do not visit the constituencies they represent. It is high time the electorate show these politicians who have become intolerant, unconcern and irresponsible a painful exit when it comes to elections,’’ he emphasised.