Some Ghanaians have called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to, as a matter of urgency, enforce an existing policy which requires all political parties to establish presence in all the districts in the country to sanitise the political space.
According to them, the proliferation of non-functional political parties in the country demonstrate the weaknesses in the electoral laws, hence the need for the EC to enforce the laws to enhance compliance.
They argued that failure on the part of some political parties to establish their presence across the country was a contributory factor to their inability to expand their support base to become vibrant.
In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic, they also urged the EC to crack the whip by revoking the certificates of all political parties that had been dormant and inactive over the years.
“I do not see the reason why those parties are still recognised by the EC. Governance is not a joke. Any party seeking to contest elections and form a government must demonstrate seriousness at all levels,” Ishmael Asare, a banker, stated.
Another person, Kofi Yeboah, a trader, said: “Any party that will fail to contest in the next two presidential elections should be automatically deleted from the books of the EC.”
“The existence of multiple parties is supposed to enhance competition by providing multiple options for voters.
These parties are not vibrant because they have failed to package themselves well to attract voters,” John Korankye, a teacher, said.
As of 2019, there are 24 political parties listed on the website of the EC.
The commission’s latest data on political parties shows that most of them do not contest in general elections and only exist on paper.
The dormant parties include every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE Party), Ghana Democratic Republican Party (GDRP), United Ghana Movement (UGM), Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD), United Renaissance Party (URP), New Vision Party (NVP), United Love Party (ULP) and United Development System Party (UDSP).
Concerns have been raised about the lingering inactiveness of these political parties, with some describing them as a disservice to the State.
High cost of filing fees
A section of the public, however, attributed the inactivity of some political parties to what they described as the high cost of filing fees charged by the EC during national elections.
According to them, a decision by the EC to increase the filing fees for presidential aspirants in the 2016 election from GH¢10,000 to GH¢50,000 hampered the ability of many aspiring candidates to mobilise the needed funds to contest the presidential race.
They expressed confidence that if the fee was slashed, it would be easier for many parties to mobilise funds and contest in the 2020 and subsequent presidential elections.
Nonetheless, some people proposed the merging of the smaller parties to enable them to increase their support base and become competitive in national elections.
They mentioned the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP), People’s National Convention (PNC) and the National Development Party (NDP) as some of the parties that should be consolidated.
“We need these parties to come together to form a third force.
Until that is done, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will continue to dominate the political space,” Frank Appiah, a pharmacist, said.