Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Joseph Whittal, has said he backs suggestions that a new independent body should be established to take over the Electoral Commission’s role of regulating political parties.
According to Mr Whittal, the EC already has its hands full with conducting elections and referenda to take other roles like ensuring that political parties adhere to the rules on financial audits.
“The Electoral Commission is certainly overburdened with all public elections and referenda and so to add a regulator of political parties or as we call them ‘Registrar of Political Parties’, as we call them in other countries, I think it is an over-kill,” the CHRAJ Commissioner said at an event to launch the Citizens’ Anti-Corruption Manifesto in Accra.
Mr Whittal was responding to concerns that the EC has reneged on its mandate to audit the finances of political parties in Ghana, which some have said fuels corruption since there is no transparency in the financing of the parties.
The CHRAJ Commissioner said Ghana can adopt the system in other African countries where there is an independent Political Party Registrar responsible for ensuring registration of political parties granting certificates, going through their audits and their statement of accounts.
“If the evidence shows that the EC has not been able to activate that aspect of this law, we must be thinking of hacking it off and giving it to an independent body that can handle that aspect…and making sure that the outstanding issues of monitoring political party financing are addressed,” he stressed.
The citizens’ manifesto is a project that seeks to inform strategic policy direction for the political parties before they are elected into office.
The project is funded by STAR-Ghana Foundation with support from UKAid and European Union.
It is titled, “Making All Voices Count in the 2020 Anti-Corruption Agenda of Political Parties’ Manifestoes” and reveals, among other things that, citizens want legislative reforms to prioritise stronger sanctions against proceeds against criminal activity.
On the administrative fronts, citizens proposed that there should be an introduction of anti-corruption and integrity curricula in schools.