The Five Hundred And Seventy-Fourth Act Of The Parliament Of The Republic Of Ghana Entitled The Political Parties Act, 2000
An ACT to revise the statute on political parties to bring the provisions in conformity with the Constitution and to provide for related matters.DATE OF ASSENT: 23rd February, 2000
BE IT ENACTED by Parliament as follows:
Part I: FOUNDING AND REGISTRATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES
Founding Of Political Parties
1. 1- Political Parties may be founded to further purposes which are not contrary to the constitution and the laws of the Republic.
2- Subject to the constitution and this Act, every citizen of voting age has the right to form or join a political party.
3- A political party may, subject to the constitution and this Act participates in shaping the political will of the people, disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character and sponsors candidates for public elections other than elections to District Assemblies or lower local government units.
Participation In Politics
2. 1- Subject to the constitution, every citizen of voting age has the right to participate in
Political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of the government.
2- No member of any Organization or interested group shall be required to join any particular party by virtue of his membership of the organization or group.
3- Any person who.
A. suppresses or attempts to suppress the lawful political activity of another person contrary to subsection (1) or
B. requires any person to join any particular political party contrary to subsection (2),
commits an offence and shall on summary conviction be liable to a minimum fine of two million cedis or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.
Prohibition of ethnic or religious parties
3. 1- No political party shall be formed
- On ethnic, gender, religious, regional, professional or other sectional divisions, or which uses words, slogans or symbols which could arouse ethnic, gender, regional, professional or other sectional divisions.
2- For the purpose of subsection (1), a political party is formed on ethnic, gender, religious, regional, professional or other, sectional divisions if its membership or leadership is restricted to members of any particular community, region, ethnic group, gender, religious faith or profession, or if its structure and mode of operation are not national in character.
Registration of political parties
4.1- A political party shall be registered in accordance with this Act and shall pay in respect of the registration such as the Electoral Commission shall by constitutional instrument determine
2- A fee paid under subsection (1) is not refundable
3- A political party shall upon registration under this Act be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, may sue and be sued in its corporate name, and shall have the power to acquire, hold, manage or dispose of movable or immovable property and enter into any contract or other transaction as any legal person.
Commission to register political parties
5. The Commission shall register all political parties in accordance with this Act.
Prohibition of canvassing unless the party is registered.
6. No person shall for a public election
- canvass for votes; or
- put forward a person for election,
on behalf of or the name of any organization unless the organization is registered as a political party under this Act.
Qualification of founding and executive members of political parties
7. 1- Subject to this Act, a political party shall have such executive and other officers as the founding members shall determine.
2- A political party shall not have as a founding member, a leader or a member of its executive, a person who
a. is not qualified to be elected as a member of Parliament, or
b. is not qualified to hold any public office.
3- Only a citizen may be appointed to an office or be a founding, ordinary or other member of a political party.
Method of Registration of a political party
8. 1- An application to register a political party shall be named to the commission and shall be accompanied with
a. a copy of the constitution and the rules or regulations, if any, of the political party duly signed by the interim national chairman or leader and the interim national or general secretary of the party.
b. the written names and addresses of its national officers.
c. a full description of the identifying symbols, slogans, and colours, if any of the political party;
d. the registration fee specified in subsection (1) of section (4), and
e. such other particulars as the commission may reasonably require.
2- The commission shall, not later than seven days after the receipt of the application, issue to the political party a provisional certificate of registration and shall cause a notice of the application to be published in the gazette after receipt, inviting objections from any person, concerning the name, aim, objects, constitution, rules, symbols, slogans and colours of the party.
3- The commission may in addition to inviting objections to the application under subsection (2) cause independent inquiries to be made so as to ascertain the truth or correctness of the particulars submitted with the application for registration.
4- On expiration of thirty days after the date of the publication of the Gazette notice, the commission shall, if satisfied that the relevant provision of this Act on registration have been complied with, register the political party.
5- Where within the thirty day period an objection has been brought to the notice of the commission, it shall not register the political party until the objection has been disposed of to the satisfaction of the commission.
6- Where the commission upholds the objection or if enquiries made under subsection (3) disclose that any of the particulars submitted with the application for registration are false, the commission may refuse to register the party and cancel the provisional certificate issued to that party under subsection(2).
Conditions for registration
9. The commission shall not register a political party under this Act unless
a. the internal organization of the party conforms to democratic principles and its actions and purposes are not contrary to or inconsistent with the Constitution;
b. the party has on its national executive committee one member from each region;
c. the party has branches in all the regions and is, in addition organized in not less than two-thirds of the districts in each region;
d. there is in each district at least one founding member of the party who is ordinarily resident in the district or is a registered voter in the district;
e. the party’s name, emblem, colour, motto or any other symbol has no ethnic, gender, regional, religious, or other sectional connotation or gives the appearance that its activities are confined only to part of the country; and
f. the party is not in breach of any of the provisions of this Act.
Prohibition of certain identifying symbols
10. No prospective political party shall submit to the Commission for the purpose of registration under this Act any identifying symbol, slogan, colour, or name which is the same as the symbol, slogan, colour or name
a. of any-other registered political party; or
b. of the Republic; or which so closely reassembles the symbol, slogan, colour or name of a registered political party or the Republic as to be likely to deceive or confuse members of the public.
Final certificate of registration
11. The Commission shall upon registration of a political party issue to that party a final certificate of registration.
Appeal on refusal of registration.
12. 1, A political party whose application for registration is refused by the Commission under this Act, may at any time apply to the Commission for the reconsideration of its decision not to register the political party.
2. If within seven days after an application has been made to it under subsection (1), the Commission refuses or fails to register the political party, the party may appeal to the Court of appeal against the decision of the Commission.
3. The appeal shall be on notice to the commission and such order persons as the Court of appeal may direct.
PART II – OPERATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES.
Declaration of assets and expenditure by political parties.
13. 1- Every political party shall, within ninety days after the issue to it of a final certificate of registration under section (11) or such longer period as the Commission may allow, submit to the Commission a written declaration giving details of all its assets and expenditure including contributions or donations in cash or in kind made to the initial assets of the party by its founding members.
2- A declaration submitted to the Commission under subsection (1) shall state the source of funds and other assets of the political party.
3- The declaration shall also contain such other particulars as the commission may in writing direct.
4- The declaration shall be supported by a statutory declaration made by the national treasurer and the national or general secretary of the political party.
5- The Commission shall also, within thirty days after receipt of the declaration required under subsection (I) cause it to be published in the Gazette.
6- Without prejudice to any other penalty prescribed by this Act, or any other enactment where a political party.
a. refuses or neglect to comply with this section, or
b. submits a declaration which is false in any material particular; the Commission may cancel the registration of that political party.
Declaration of assets, liability and expenditure in relation to election.
14. 1- A political party shall, within twenty –one days before the general elections, submit to the Commission a statement of its assets and liabilities in such form as the Commission may direct.
2- A political party shall within six months after a general or by-election in which it has participated , submit to the Commission a detailed statement in such form as the commission may direct of all expenditure incurred for that election.
3- A statement required to be submitted under this section shall be supported by the statutory declaration made by the general or national secretary of the political party and the national treasurer of that party.
4- Without prejudice to any other penalty provided in this Act or any other enactment, where a political party.
a. refuses or neglects to comply with this section or,
b. submits a statement which is false in any material particular; the Commission may cancel the registration of the political party.
Provision of particulars of national, head or regional, district and constituency offices and officers.
15. 1- Within ninety days after the issue to it of a final certificate of registration, a political party shall furnish the Commission with details of the existence and location of its national, regional, district and Constituency offices.
2- A political party shall also within the period specified in subsection (1) submit to the commission,
a. the names ,titles and addresses of its officers at the national ,regional, district and constituency level and also such other level of organization as the Commission may direct and
b. The name and address of the auditor of the political party.
3- Where a political party.
a. refuses or neglects to comply with this section; or
b. makes a statement in a matter submitted to the Commission under this section which is false.
c. has refused, neglected or failed to establish or maintain a national office or to establish or maintain a regional office in every region the Commission may cancel the registration of that political party.
Appeal against cancellation of registration
16. A political party whose registration is cancelled by Commission under section 13, 14, and 15 may appeal to the court of appeal against the cancellation.
Election of executive officers
17. 1- Every political party shall elect such persons as may be determined by the members of the party as executive officers of the party.
2- The election of the national, regional and constituency executive officers of every political party shall be conducted under the supervision of the Commission.
3- Pending the election of the executive officers of a political party, an application for registration of the political party shall be submitted to the Commission by such interim executive officers as the members of the party shall determine.
Notification of changes or alterations
18. 1- Where a political party registered under this Act changes or alters
a-its constitution b-its rules or regulations, if any c-the title or address of any person or office submitted to the Commission under section 15 of this Act, or d-its identifying symbol, slogan, colour or name
It shall notify the Commission of the change or alteration and Commission shall within fourteen days from the date of receipt of the notification cause to be published in the Gazette the chance or alteration.
2- Every change or alteration shall come into effect, if no objection is made to the change or alteration, seven days after publication by the Commission of the notice under subsection 1.
Merger of registered political parties
19. Where two or more registered political parties come together and merge as one party
a- the registration of each party existing immediately before the effective date the merger shall lapse, and
b- the new party shall require registration or the purposes of this Act.
Political parties in alliance
20. 1-Where two or more registered political parties form an alliance of their parties the following provisions shall apply
a- each party shall remain as a separate registered political party for the purposes of this Act.
b- each party shall furnish the Commission within such period as the Commission shall direct a copy of the agreement of the alliance.
c- in any public elections, each candidate shall be identified by his portrait and the symbol of his party on the ballot paper.
d- where the parties nominate separate candidates to contest an election in the same constitutiency each candidate shall be identified separately on the ballot paper and in relation to his party only, and
e- Fees payable under this Act or any regulations made under this Act by or in respect of a candidate as standing for the elections in the name of his own party, the alliance notwithstanding.
Returns and accounts of political parties
21. 1- A political party shall within six months from 31st December of each year, file with the Commission.
a- a return in the form specified by the Commission indicating
I- the state of its accounts
II- the sources of its funds
III-membership dues paid
IV- contributions or dominations in cash or kind
V-the properties of the party and time of acquisition
VI- such other particulars as the Commission may reasonably require and,
b- audited accounts of party for the year.
2- Any person may, on payment of a fee determined by the Commission, inspect or obtain copies of the returns and audited accounts of a political party filed with the Commission under this section.
3- Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the Commission may at any time upon reasonable grounds order the accounts of a political party to be audited appointed by the Commission whose fees and expenses shall be paid by the Commission and also request the political party to file with the Commission the audited accounts at a time to be specified by the Commission.
Duty of political parties to provide information to Commission
22. 1-The Commission may by writing upon stated grounds request an executive officer of a political party to furnish for inspection by the Commission records of the party or such other information as is reasonably required by the Commission to enable it ensure that the provisions of this Act are complied with.
2- A political party or an executive officer of a political party shall comply with request made to it or to him by the Commission under subsection1.
PART III- FUNDING OF POLITICAL PARTIES
Contribution by citizens
23. 1- Only a citizen may contribute in cash or kind to the funds of a political party
2- A firm, partnership, or enterprise owned by a citizen or a company registered under the laws of the Republic at least seventy-five percent of whose capital is owned by a citizen is for the purposes of this Act a citizen.
No contribution by non-citizens
24. 1- A non-citizen shall not directly or indirectly make a contribution or donation or loan whether in cash or in kind to the funds held by or for the benefit of a political party and no political party or person acting for or on behalf of a political party shall demand or accept a contribution donation or loan from a non-citizen.
Contraventions of this part
25. 1- Where any person contravenes section 23 or 24, in addition to any penalty that may be imposed under this Act, any amount, whether in cash or in kind paid in contravention of the section shall be recovered from the political party as debt owed to the State. The political party or person in whose custody the amount is for the time being held shall pay it to the state.
2- Anon-citizen found guilty of contravention of section 24 shall be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant and liable to deportation under the Aliens Act, 1963 (Act 160).
3- The provisions of sections 23 and 24 do not preclude of any country or a non-governmental organization form providing assistance in cash or in kind to the Commission for use by the Commission for the collection benefit of registered political parties.
PART IV- GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISION
Chiefs, public officers and political activities
26. 1- A chief or any other person who is not eligible to be elected to Parliament does not qualify to:
a. be a founding member, a leader or a member of the executive of a political party, or
b. hold office in a political party.
2- A chief or a public officer shall not engage in canvassing in support of or against a political party or a candidate standing for a public election.
Cancellation of registration and its effect
27. 1- Without prejudice to the penalty provided for under section 31, where a political party contravenes any of the provisions of this Act and is convicted the High Court may order the Commission to cancel the registration of the political party.
2- Where the registration of a political party is cancelled under subsection 1 no person shall
a. summon a meeting of member or officers of the political party;
b. attend a meeting in the capacity of a member or officer of the political party;
c. publish a notice or advertisement relating to a meeting of the party;
d. invite persons to support the political party;
e. make a contribution or loan to funds held by or for the benefit of the political party or accept contribution or loan; or
f. give a guarantee in respect of such funds
27. 1- A political party that intends to hold a public meeting shall comply with the provisions on the holding of special event as provided under the Public Order Act 1994 (Act 491)
28. Where a provision of this Act requires the Commission to publish anything in the Gazette, it may in addition to or in exceptional circumstances in lieu of the publication, cause it to be published in the national daily newspapers and on the radio and television and the provisions of this Act shall have effect accordingly.
29. 1- Any person who contravenes a provision of this Act commits an offence.
2- Any person who in furnishing particulars or information required to be furnished by a political party or by him under this Act makes a statement which he knows to be false or which he has no reason to believe to be true or makes a false statement reckless whether it true or not commits an offence.
3- An offence under this Act, unless otherwise specifically provided for, shall be punishable with a fine not exceeding ten million cedis or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.
4- Where an offence under this Act is committed by a political party, every executive officer of that party shall also be guilty of that offence.
5-Where an offence under this Act is committed by a body of persons other than a political party, then,
a. in the case of a body corporate other than a partnership, every director and secretary of the body corporate shall also be guilty of the offence; and
b. in the case of a partnership, every partner shall also be guilty of the offence
6- No person shall be guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection 4 or 5 if he proves to the satisfaction of the court that the act in respect of which he is charged was committed by a person other than himself, and was without his consent or connivance and that he exercised all diligence to prevent the commission of that act as he ought to have exercised having to all the circumstances.
Winding up political parties
31. On an application made by the Commission the High Court may make such orders as appears to the Court just and equitable for the winding up and dissolution and disposition of the property, assets, rights and liabilities of a political party whose registration has been cancelled.
32. 1- The Commission may by constitutional instrument make such regulations as may appear to it to be expedient for giving full effect to the provisions of this Act.
2- The signature of the chairman of the Commission or in his absence of a Deputy Chairman shall be sufficient to authenticate any act or action by the Commission.
33. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires
“Commission” means the Electoral Commission
“district” means the area of authority of a District Assembly;
“executive officers of a political party” means the national chairman, the leader, the general secretary or equivalent designation, the national treasurer and the other members of the national executive committee of the political party;
“founding members of a political party” means the person who is specified in the written declaration under section 13 to have contributed or offered to contribute either in cash or kind to the assets of the party;
“political party” means a free association or organization of persons, one of whose objects may be to bring about the election of its candidates to public office or to strive for power by the electoral process and by this means to control or influence the actions of government;
“registered” means registered under of this Act;
“symbol” includes motto.
Repeal and Savings
35. 1- The Political Party Law 1992 (PNDCL. 281) and the Political Party (Amendment) Law, 1992 (P.N.D.C.L. 283) are hereby repealed.
2- Notwithstanding the repeal under subsection 1 any regulation or registration made and any certificate issued under the repealed enactment shall continue to be valid as if made under the corresponding provision of this Act.
3- The repeal of the enactments specified in subsection 1 does not vest in any person or body a right to lay claim to any assets of a political party proscribed under the repealed enactments.