Too many political parties confuse the electorate – Minority leader Mensah-Bonsu
Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has noted that the Electoral Commission’s ‘shocking’ disqualification of 13 presidential candidates is long overdue.
Weighing in on the impact of their rejection, the Minority leader said the prospect of having at least 17 presidential candidates on the ballot paper is haunting.
‘Too many political parties, confuse the electorate’ he said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday.
High-profile candidates axed from the 2016 presidential elections included a three-time minister Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive Peoples’ Party.
Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings was also disqualified once again after she suffered a similar fate in 2012.
The EC is bracing for an avalanche of legal suits seeking to overturn the decision.
The disqualification will emphasize that the 2016 general elections is a two-horse race between the governing NDC and the main opposition NPP. Perennial also-runs, the CPP is not expected to upset the cart, analysts say.
Speaking on the disqualifications, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said the number of non-viable political parties is worrying. Too many of them exists on paper and have no significant influence on the results of general elections,he explained.
No political party outside the dominant two have managed to obtain more than 7% of the presidential ballot since a return to democracy in 1992.
The fortunes of parties outside the top two have been declining was speed. The People’s National Convention garnered 6.7% in 1992, a result that was nearly halved by 1996.
The party got 3.0% in 1996 and 2.92% in 2000. The ceaseless slide into electoral oblivion continued in 2004 with the party obtaining 1.92% . It got 0.84 % in 2008 and in 2012 it got the 0.22%.
The PNC example represents the best showing of all the other 23 minor political parties that exist on the books of the Electoral Commission in Ghana.
Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said the Electoral Commission obtained approval from parliament to spend 1million cedis to go around the country to check if the parties meet the legal requirement to have offices in at least two-thirds of the districts in Ghana.
“They didn’t do that”, he expressed disappointment.
But the Commission failed to do this and repeated the approval for another 1 million cedis to do the exercise. The EC promised it weed out non-viable parties by March 2016.
The commission caused alarm among minor parties after it announced in July that it would withdraw the license of non-functioning political parties by close of 31st May 2016.
The affected parties begged, criticised and urged dialogue not sanctions. The EC appeared to have stayed its hands.
According to Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu despite their non-viability, these parties are always present at political party’s meetings with the EC where they often oppose the opposition NPP.
They are only “invited to IPAC just to dilute the discourse. I think that is just unfortunate”, he complained.
The Suame MP however expressed fears that court suits to challenge the decision could derail the process to choose the next set of political leaders.
The EC could be “leading us into a Nigerian situation where elections had to be postponed” Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu said.
The country has barely 56 days to go for the general elections. By some constitutional requirements, elections in Ghana are fixed by law on December 7. Any other date beyond the December month is illegal.
The Minority leader said the postponement of the 2016 general elections would mean extending the life of parliament and the presidency.
“…that may be most unfortunate and scary situation” the Minority leader said.