A political marketing strategist, Dr Kobby Mensah, has warned that criminals could take over the country if vote buying in internal party elections is not curbed.
The lecturer with the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) said the syndrome, which some have termed ‘moneycracy’ had characterised party primaries for years, and was a threat to the gains the country had made through democracy.
To him, political parties ought to adopt universal suffrage as a means of curbing ‘cash for votes’ which has gained grounds in internal elections in various political parties.
Dr Mensah contended that it would be much more difficult for candidates to buy their way through in internal party elections if the electoral college was expanded to include all registered members of the party and not just delegates.
“It is not acceptable for a democracy to experience such a high level of payments,” Dr Mensah said in an interview with daily Graphic.
“Obviously, if you have to be paid for your vote, I don’t think that from the perspective of the constitution it is legal. Even if it is not criminal, we should have some sanctions against politicians who are seen and have confirmed paying such money for votes. At least, they could be banned from participating in future polls,” he stressed.
Dr Mensah believes if the syndrome was not checked, “we would be selling this country to money launderers or criminal cartels.”
“If someone has that amount of money, he can actually take control of this country by sponsoring candidates,” he added.
He said the financial resources involved in undertaking the practice of vote buying was an antecedent for corruption and could affect the decisions of elected politicians.
Dr Mensah also made an appeal to the Electoral Commission (EC) and security services such as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to probe all reports of votes being exchanged in return for cash and sanction culprits.