There’s a Twi saying in Ghana which literally translates as ” There’s a Mensah in every house” meaning there’s a bad nut in every family. Same could be said of corruption in Ghana. You will find it everywhere, from the big brother giving toffee to his little brother after beating him so he blames another, to the politician inflating the price of a project so he can get a fat kick back.
Recently in Ghana, buses were branded for a fee enough to buy another set of buses, a free app was rebranded and bought for millions of dollars, Millions of dollars supposed to be used for poverty alleviation in Northern Ghana ended up in peoples pockets, Subah, GYEEDA, STX, AMERI just to mention a few.
You may be thinking “How is the delegate to blame for all this?”, well wait for it.
The ordinary Ghanaian may think the most competitive election is the general presidential and Parliamentary elections but they are wrong. Infact the two major parties only have to convince a few floating voters during election campaigns because most Ghanaians already have a political party they have and will always vote for and nothing can ever change their mind. That is how come NDC see volta region as their ‘world bank’ while the NPP see Ashanti region as theirs.
Where the actual competition happen is the election of flagbearer for the two giant political parties in Ghana, NPP and NDC. This is where delegates come in.
As per the constitution of the political parties, the selection of leaders and flagbearers is the responsibility of delegates. Delegates have a reputation of collecting huge sums of money from aspirants in order to sway their votes. One could say their vote is for the highest bidder.
Candidates spend so much money on thousands of delegates which amounts to millions of cedis, making up a large percentage of their campaign expenditure. A recent example is the NPP delegates conference held on 7 June 2018. Stories of vote buying by various aspirants was rife. Imagine a candidate having to give out GHC1500 each to over 7000 delegates. That runs into millions of Ghana cedis not to mention of the gifts which came in various forms.
Where does these monies come from?, How do they recoup their money?
These two questions never occur to the delegate taking such money, after all they will never really see or benefit directly from the said politician after he/she wins the election so they try to make hay while the sun shines.
Here is a possible answer, the monies come from businessmen and multinational companies acting as party financiers. They enter into a pact with the aspirant under terms we call ‘ You scratch my back, I scratch yours’.
How do they recoup their ‘Investment’?,
it is simple, remember that two classroom building recently built at a government stated price of GHC1.2million even though you know it wouldn’t cost more than GHC100,000 to raise that poorly built classroom?. Who was the contractor?, the person who financed the president, minister or MP’s election.
Throughout Ghana’s history, we have paid more to complete government projects than the actual market value of the projects and now we know who’s to blame, at least partly.
It is a matter of demand and supply. So long as delegates continue to demand and expect aspirants to give them money to get their votes, there will be financiers willing to ‘invest’ because the returns is massive and worth every bit of the risk.
Therefore if delegates would vote without demanding money, maybe the politician wouldn’t feel justified to inflate project prices and all the myriad avenues used to siphon public money to recoup all the money ‘invested’. You may argue, “they don’t demand the money, it’s the aspirants who come begging with it”.
Well here’s what you say next time they come buying your vote, “PLEASE RETURN THEIR MONEY, MY VOTE IS NOT FOR SALE”.