Following a two-year advocacy campaign and a lawsuit led by CitizenGhana Movement (CGM), the Electoral Commission of Ghana has released the financial accounts of all political parties, marking a significant step towards transparency and accountability.
The release of these statements of accounts is the first time in the 27-year history of Ghana’s Fourth Republic that the financial records of political parties have been made available to the public.
Publication of the statements reverses the decades-long trend of political parties breaching the 1992 Constitution, which guarantees all Ghanaian citizens the right to information, and the Political Parties Act which mandates that all political parties present their statements of accounts to the public on an annual basis, through the Commission.
Despite this breach of the national laws, the Electoral Commission previously failed to enforce these provisions – until now.
On Friday 9th February 2018, the CitizenGhana Movement secured an order from the Human Rights Court, Accra directing the Electoral Commission (EC) to publish the statements of accounts of all political parties for the purpose of public information in accordance with national law.
The Honorable Court ordered the Commission to perform these duties by 1 September 2018; however, the Commission failed to meet the deadline ostensibly because of the constitutional procedures and subsequent transition going on at the time.
To prompt action, CGM wrote to the new Commission in December 2018 to remind the public body to comply with the Court’s order.
In reply, the Commission issued a notice demanding that all political parties submit their statements of accounts to the Commission by the 13th of February 2019.
Subsequently, on 21st March 2019, the Commission published the statements of accounts of all registered political parties in the Daily Graphic newspaper.
In accordance with the Court’s order, the Commission also prescribed a fee that the Citizen Ghana Movement was to pay for copies of the accounts.
The Citizen Ghana Movement has paid this amount and expects to receive the copies shortly.
Financial disclosures by political parties are a key public accountability mechanism. Making the sources of political party funding public discourages the acceptance of funds from unsavoury individuals or organizations.
The Citizen Ghana Movement is hopeful that the release of these statements of accounts will mark the beginning of a new era of transparency in the financing of Ghanaian political parties.