By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
A Senior Political Scientist at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Edward Gyampo Legon says the Electoral Commission (EC) deserves commendation for the bold decision to disqualify some presidential aspirants who were unable to meet the necessary requirements that makes them eligible to contest.
According Professor Gyampo, the fact that compromises were made in some time past does not mean the EC cannot enforce the laws and regulations this time around. To him, the new EC boss, Mrs. Charlotte Osei needs to be extolled.
“Dr. Afari Gyan did not want it to be like it’s through him that many political parties will not survive in the country. We should remember that he came at the time when our democracy was very young and he wanted to strengthen the democracy,” he noted in an interview with the Daily Express.
“Dr. Afari Gyan made mention sometimes ago that if he want go according to the laws governing political parties in the country, not even a single political party can exist,” Prof. indicated that.
“You then have another Chairperson of the EC who is saying that am going to enforce every single law that governs political parties in the country, she must be commended that bold decision.”
He mentioned that building a strong institution does not mean putting up a structure with concrete. But it rather means that there must be laws, they laws must be well known. The one who will use the laws must know there are laws and the citizenry also must know that there are laws exist.
He said the laws must be implemented and the laws must be internalized, “meaning we have used the laws and the laws have been part and parcel of us the individuals of the country. The laws must also be predictable. If we are able to achieve all these things then we can say that we have strong institutions.”
He believes the challenge with many developing countries like Ghana is that it has all the fine rules but the implementation of the rules is the problem. “We have the rules that we can implement to help shape and fight against poverty and underdevelopment. We simple do not want to implement them. That has been our challenge.”
“So if we have someone who wants to implement the laws we just have to support the person. We must support the implementation of the rules to ensure that only political parties worth their sort exist in the country,” he emphasizes.
“Multi party democracy means there are more than two political parties in existence that have more or less equal strength such that it becomes difficult for only one party to win an election without the support from other minor political parties. With this definition, Ghana do we qualify now as a truly multi democracy,” he asked.
“NPP or NDC are able to win election without the support of the minor political parties. Again ask yourself that the 13 political parties that have been disqualified are they truly political parties? Are they performing the functions of what constitutionally imposed on them?
“We have created election machine and when its election time we see these political parties and after the election period we don’t see them again. The political parties act say that the parties must also functions in the inter-election period, they must perform a function of interest aggregation, they must perform a function of articulation, they must perform a function of political socialization, they perform a function of recruiting, attracting and training and grooming future political leaders. Ask yourself how many of our political parties are able to perform these functions when we have finished election? Are they also able to satisfy the political parties act that says that they should have branches in all the two/third of the districts?”
“If you are not able to be meticulous and unable to scrutinize a form, how can you rule a whole nation? The fact that a former EC chairman decided not to implement the rule of the laws does not mean it should be the norm.”