The Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, has urged minority parties in the country to reinvent themselves to be relevant based on the powers given them by the 1992 Constitution.
He said political parties were the only groups given privileges by the Constitution in Article 55 (3) to “shape the political will of the people.”
Dr Akwetey, therefore, asked them to make themselves relevant in shaping the political will of Ghanaians for the better.
He was speaking at a review meeting organised by IDEG and the Radikale Venstre (RV) of Denmark with the support of the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD) for representatives of small political parties on the Small Parties and Multiparty Democracy in Ghana (SPMDG) pilot project.
The meeting was organised to review the performance of small political parties during the 2016 general election and after.
It was also to validate results of a quick online survey of the seven participating minority parties after their capacities had been built in mobilisation and party organisation prior to the 2016 election.
The parties are the People’s National Convention (PNC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP), the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) and the Democratic People’s Party (DPP).
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Coalitions and alliances
Pointing to other jurisdictions such as the UK, Dr Akwetey said some lesser parties, which did not win the election, could, however, not be ignored by the main political parties that had to enter into alliances and coalitions with these lesser parties before a government could be formed.
He, therefore, asked them to take the opportunities provided for them in the Constitution to bring about change for Ghanaians.
Dr Akwetey told the minority parties that the response rate of the quick survey undertaken to assess their performance after the election, that is, about 100 responses in a week out of 250 digital questionnaires sent out, gave an indication of where minority parties should deploy their strength.
“The corrupt political system works only for the minority few. Small political parties cannot work like the big parties. They must become organs of change,” he told them.
The consultant, who undertook the survey, Ms Golda Addo, said structured digital questionnaires were e-mailed to 250 Ghanaians about their perceptions of the small political parties.
Hard copies were also e-mailed to others to respond to.
She said an initial collation of the responses showed that about one Ghanaian out of every 10,000,000 said they would not vote for any small political party because of the formation of cults around the flag bearers of such parties.
Respondents said although the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) was the party with the most potential, the one they most liked and favoured, they would not vote for it because of the cult around the flag bearer, Dr Papa Kwesi Ndoum.
They added that they would not vote for the party because of their uncertainty about the party collapsing if the leader discontinued his or her role as flag bearer.
Ms Addo said the responses showed that respondents highly favoured small parties but were worried about the strength of their structures.
Those responding thought that the flag bearers of small political parties were mobilising numbers to join any of the dominant political parties that would be their highest bidder.
Respondents were also of the view that the name “small” was a disincentive to the parties, as they would not vote for a party with no viability.
They recommended that the parties should be called minority or alternative parties and not small parties.
The consultant, therefore, recommended a branding of minority parties that would dispel the notions conveyed.
She added that there was an opportunity for them in the pooling of resources if they united.
Representatives of the parties, particularly Mr William Doworkpor and Mr Kwamena Okyere of the PPP, however, contested the results, pointing out that the survey should have been undertaken in the constituencies of the various parties and not online.
They also disputed the figures of the survey saying that they were not representative enough.