The Delicate Role of Delegates: Political Participation in Ghana.
The Constitution, 1992, under Article 55 guarantees the right to form political parties. This multi-party democracy has since produced a number of political parties in Ghana, National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party been the two main political parties since the establishment of the fourth republic. Political parties are entitled to nominate candidates for public office. The nominating process is accomplished through a system of primaries which may vary from political party to political party but generally, primaries are held for delegates to cast their vote in order to
nominate a candidate to represent the party in an election. Political parties, in an effort to include members in the selection of leadership have adopted the use of delegates in their electoral process.
Delegates are elected by a group of people to represent their interest at the national or constitutional level and have a fiduciary duty towards members of a political party in particular and the general public. The power vested in delegates is a result of the principle of inclusion governance and must support free and fair elections. The integrity of delegates should be a priority in the political and democratic development of Ghana as delegates play an integral role in the election of people into public office.
In modern times, delegates in the political arena of Ghana forsake the sanctity of their honourable station and sell their votes while neglecting the ultimate needs of the ordinary citizen. In a recent investigation conducted by Corruption Watch, some aspirants seeking to represent their constituencies in the 8 th Parliament paid monies and gave out items to delegates with the intention of buying votes.
The late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, a Ghanaian lawyer, politician and a former General
Secretary of the New Patriotic Party once said “…fear delegates…” This statement unfortunately speaks to the dishonest nature of delegates.
Selling and buying of votes is inimical to the political and cultural development of Ghana and goes against the basic tenets of democracy. Delegates must start taking responsibility for the quality of political leaders in Ghana. They should understand they represent the greater interest of the people as candidates they elect will represent their party and can be elected into public office.
Delegates must perform their civic duty with integrity avoiding aspirants whose aim is to manipulate the chastity of elections because of their monies. We the people are working towards an era where election is free and fair and candidates are elected based on facts and data. There is no room for incompetent politicians who buy votes and take the citizens for granted.
The writer is a Public Servant and a student at UPSA Law.