It costs each aspiring Ghanaian Member of Parliament about GHC390,000 on average, to carry out successful campaigns at the party and constituency level.
This is according to a research conducted by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), and the Center for Democratic Development (CDD).
The report found that multiparty democracy and its highly competitive elections had resulted in the rising cost of political campaigns in the country.
Analyzing the campaign spending of aspiring Members of Parliament between 2012 and 2016, the report indicated that, the cost of running successful campaigns had risen by 59% over the four-year period covering two national elections.
The report warned that, the rising cost may result in just a few wealthy people having the opportunity to hold public office with Members of Parliament becoming incentivized to recoup their campaign spendings rather than genuinely serving their constituencies.
“Ghana has held six elections since returning to multiparty democracy in 1992, with three peaceful power transitions, including, in 2016, the first defeat of a sitting incumbent. However, multiparty competitive elections can be costly affairs for aspiring and incumbent legislators. WFD research found between 2012 and 2016, the cost of running for political office in Ghana increased 59%.”
“On average, candidates needed to raise approximately GHS 390,000 (approx. USD 86,000) to secure the party primary nomination and compete in the parliamentary election in their constituency. If the cost of politics rises to unaffordable levels, the danger is that politics becomes the domain of the elite and wealthy and that the motivation and incentives of MPs move from serving the public to recovering their own investment,” the report said.
The report considered expenditure on campaigns, payment of party workers, media and advertisement and donations.