Legislator advocates law to guide election year spending by incumbent parties


Legislator advocates law to guide election year spending by incumbent parties

New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentarian for Atiwa East, Abena Osei-Asare, is advocating for laws to guide spending by incumbent political parties in election year.

She says without such a law, abuse of incumbency, which has been identified as both a cause and an offshoot of political polarisation in the country, would flourish.

Founder of the Progressive People's Party (PPP), Papa Kwesi Nduom, first made the call for such a law at a forum in Accra, insisting the current Republic is replete with instanes of incumbency abuse in an election year.

The charge of of incumbency abuse has already been levelled against the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) over President John Mahamas ongoing Accouting to the People Tour.

The NDC has justified the tour, insisting the tour of all ten regions in the country by the president is aimed at getting people to appreciate the development projects the government has brought about during his four-year rule.

Critics, particularly from the opposition NPP, say the Accounting to the People Tour is a campaign tour for re-election funded by state resources ahead of elections in November this year.

However, on Newsfile current affairs programme, Abena Osei-Asare says the time has come for a law to end the accusations and counter-accusations by the two main political parties on the issue.

I think it is high time we come up with legislation, a law to help us in this regard. Because it looks like in 2008 it happened, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), and then in 2010 the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has stated [that it happened].

I think we should come up with legislations that would guide some of these conducts so that at every election year we dont have these problems, she stressed.

She however wants the current government to lead such a campaign to streamline and check excess spending by incumbent political parties.

In order jurisdictions if [an incumbent party] incurs cost to a certain level using state officials, [they] pay a certain amount, she said.

Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee

A law lecturer at GIMPA, Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee, agrees with the need for such a law, and has also suggested that there should be severe punishment for governments that may abuse such a law.

For me the problem is that we have no agreed definition of what constitutes abuse of incumbency, we have none. So we have to address the problem, until we address the problem every government in power would decide for themselves what constitutes abuse of power, said Clara.

Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee, who is also Managing Partner at Kasser Law Firm says a good starting point for the enactment of such a law would be for political parties, Civil Society Organisation (CSO) and other interest groups to come together to set pararmeters for what constitutes incumbency abuse.

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