The All People’s Congress (APC) party will go to court to demand sanctions against political parties that have defaulted on the law should the Electoral Commission (EC) fail to crack the whip.
That is according to party founder, Hassan Ayariga who says his party today is the biggest political party in Ghana.
The Electoral Commission in April demanded that all political parties submit by 31st May, audited annual financial accounts in compliance with the Political Parties Law, Act 574. However, only seven of the 24 were officially known to have complied with the directive as at the expiration of the ultimatum.
They were the:
• Progressive People’s Party (PPP)
• Convention People’s Party (CPP)
• National Democratic Party (NDP)
• Democratic People’s Party (DPP)
• Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP)
• Independent People’s Party (IPP) and
• United Front Party (UFP)
Defaulting parties included the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the largest opposition the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the People’s National Convention (PNC) from which Ayariga broke away to form the APC.
Consequences for non-compliance with the Political Parties Law include the withdrawal of certificates of the offending political parties.
The APC, the youngest political party which received its final certificate to commence business as a fully registered political party only recently, was not part of the parties expected to submit their accounts because they had just started operating.
But Ayariga, who was speaking on Radio Gold on Thursday, said within the three months of its formation, his party is complying fully with the political parties law while those established long ago but unserious, are defaulting.
“If a political party is serious, the first thing you are supposed to do is to satisfy the constitutional requirement of your land, ok, because that is the same constitution that you are going to use to work… so if you don’t believe in that constitution what other constitution do you want to believe in? That shows you are not a serious political party. Seriousness has something to do with abiding by laws and regulations and commitment to our land and constitution so any party contrary to that is not a serious political party, in my opinion”, he said.
According to him, during the process to register the APC, the EC was holding on to the registration of two other parties because they had not fully satisfied the requirements for registration, and allowing others to operate when they are equally defaulting on requirements amounts to political bias.
Asked if he expects the EC to sanction defaulting political parties, Ayariga responded emphatically “Yes”, and explained, “They (EC) are supposed to sanction political parties that are unable to satisfy their constitutional requirement… don’t forget it is the same Commission that is going to supervise your elections and you don’t believe in them, tell me how do you intend to accept their declaration when they make it. That same party, that same institution that you are supposed to satisfy their constitutional requirement, you refuse to do that and now you are telling me that if the EC should announce or declare the result you will accept it? N-o-w-a-y.”
“Before the APC got its final certificate, before we got granted with the final certificate, there were other two political parties that were holding provisional certificates, two of them. Till date as we speak, they have not given them their final certificate, you know why, because they were unable to satisfy the constitutional requirement of the EC and that is one, to show evidence of 144 district offices…so why would the same law not be applied to political parties that have been in existence for years and they don’t have party offices…?” he quipped.
“If they (EC) don’t crack the whip…that means they are politically biased because those two political parties would go to court, the APC would definitely go to court because…you took us through that procedure and we have, we actually complied, satisfied the requirements and respected your laws, so if other political parties are not respecting your laws, what do you do?”
“…We want political parties to be serious, we want the EC itself to be very serious because we are talking about big time elections and Ghana is a serious political country, it’s a nation that people have found serious. We don’t want a situation where we had in 2012 after elections people are going to court and all that so the EC should act, it should act and do the right thing and sanction the political parties that do not listen to them or obey, they are supposed to do that.”
Other political actors, including Jacob Osei Yeboah, a presidential candidate in the 2012 elections have also demanded that the EC applies the law evenly. Other parties also found the EC’s request too much of a challenge.