Mr. Sarfo Kantanka (right) presenting the certificate to Mr. Akwasi Addai
Officials of the National Electoral Commission, NEC, are to inspect the premises of the various political parties in the country to ascertain whether the premises indicated on their registration forms are really where they operate from.
Mr. K. Sarfo Kantanka, Deputy Commissioner in charge of operations of EC, disclosed this during the presentation of a final certificate of registration to the United Front Party (UFP) in Accra on Friday.
He said “We know of many parties who will go and rent their premises, show them to us and a few days later when you go there, the properties will no longer belong to them.”
He exhorted the new party not to behave like that, adding, “in the next 90 days you have to show us all your assets and liabilities as required by law.”
Mr. Kantanka said so far, UFP had fulfilled all the requirements required of it before commencement of business and had thus become a fully-fledged political party.
“This does not mean showing your presence at radio stations. It requires more than that.
You need to organize. After all what is the essence of a political party?”, he asked.
“You all say you want to wield political power to get in control of the direction of where the country goes but that requires a lot of organization,” he stated.
He said the EC would not like a situation whereby only one man would say he funds a party.
“The Commission is also expected to know how much has gone into the funding and from which other sources,” he stated.
“No party belongs to any one person. By registering, you can become a corporate body like a company limited by liability,” he said.
Mr. Kantanka said the Commission would expect the UFP to operate as a political party if it would want to win power.
“Yours has taken a relatively shorter time of just under nine months to form the party and register but you must bear in mind that the commission still retains the power to withdraw your certificate if we see that you are not on the proper path.”
The Deputy Commissioner tasked members of the party to do real politics and not abusive politics.
“If it was for abuse alone, you would not have gone this far to register as a political party, but you will have to contribute effectively to the political discourse of the nation in a democratic manner, he stated, adding that the constitution demands that there must be internal democracy within any political party.
Drawing the attention of the party hierarchy to how it should operate, Mrs. Rebecca Kabukie Adjalo of the EC referred to Article 55 of the Constitution which guarantees the right of Ghanaians citizens to form political parties.
She said the Commission was happy that UFP had claimed that right and gained the mandate to participate in shaping the political will of the people to disseminate informed political ideas as well as social and economic programmes to move Ghana forward.
“Whilst you have this privilege, you also have obligations which are enshrined in the constitution and other Acts of Parliament,” she said.
Mrs. Adjalo therefore entreated the party to abide by the provisions of the political parties Act 2000, Act 574.
On the party’s obligations to the Electoral Commission, she said under the declaration of assets and expenditure in relation to elections, the party owed, to the EC, the provision of particulars of national, regional, districts and constituency offices and returns and accounts of the party as obligations which must be fulfilled.
“Above all it is your duty to provide information to the Commission to ensure that provisions of Act 574 are complied with”, she stated.
Mrs. Adjalo exhorted women in the part y not to remain as cheer leaders but rather demand their equal rights in the party by ensuring that the party puts in place policies and actions to achieve gender equality.
“You must critically examine you party’s constitution, manifestos, internal rules, regulation, and procedures to ensure that these policies promote gender equality, equal participation at all levels of decision-making within the party,” she said.
The interim chairman of the party, Mr. Akwasi Addai, in his remarks, said the party had come to stay and was committed to the rule of law and democracy in the country. He stated that the UFP holds the key to sustainable development and will not compromise the interest of posterity.