State Funding Of Political Parties: Yamson Backs Call

The  Board Chairman of Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) Ghana, Dr Ishmeal Yamson, has added his voice to the call for state funding of political parties.

Speaking at a public lecture at the Central University in Accra last Wednesday, he said the current financing of political parties and campaigns could lead to “dirty money” taking over our politics.

According to him, such a situation could also lead to small group individuals taking over the country just like what happened in South Africa, where there was state capture.

“If dirty money is actually funding politics in Ghana, then the people with dirty money will hijack our government and country,” he stated.

The lecture was on “Leadership for the Future: Reflections from a 55-year career in corporate Africa”.

Dr Yamson’s comment follows numerous calls by many individuals, civil society organisations and prominent personalities about state funding of political parties.

Former President John Dramani Mahama also  called for reforms in the financing of political parties to deepen the country’s democracy.

He said the reforms would ensure that certain elements did not take undue advantage of the country’s governance system.

He explained that ethical political financing had been one area in the country’s democratic journey that had continued to elude reform and the dependency on a few individuals who financed political campaigns in return for favours was a recipe for corruption.

Mr Senyo Hosi, a Finance and Economic Policy Analyst, also said state funding of political parties would help limit financing of political parties by individuals and interest groups that had led to a culture of corruption and favouritism in the governance system of the country.

Speaking on leadership in the country, Dr Yamson, who is also the Chairman of Unilever Ghana Limited, noted that failure of the country’s leadership to understand the major global trends, which are dramatically changing the world and their associated risks, was a major cause of its economic crisis.

He also said that the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could not simply blow away the economic “mess” of the country as stated by the government.

He explained that the country had failed to identify, normalise, reward and promote the right kind of leadership and commitment to good governance practices.

“The many years of political instability and the associated breakdown of good governance, loss of key democratic principles, disregard for the rule of law and the destruction of our cultural values and behaviours, which had shaped our governance arrangements even at our traditional levels, accompanied by pervasive greed and corruption, have succeeded in accumulating very destructive values and behaviours which have consistently undermined attempts to develop a prosperous country,” he added.

Dr Yamson said the country did not, and still does not have leaders who can anticipate the future, adapt and respond, by changing the governance architecture and operating model and execute appropriate resilient plans to shore up the economy, grow it and create jobs and wealth.

“Leadership is not about the past, it is about today and the future; the past only provides leaders with lessons of mistakes which should not be repeated and the good things to build on. Ghanaian leaders post-Nkrumah have only focused on yesterday and today, that is why we are not going forward,” he explained.