We need transparency on campaign funding

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The Constitutional Review Commission is stepping up efforts to consult and get the views of as many citizens as possible with a view to drafting a very inclusive constitution. In the past few days, the commission members have been consulting with representatives of political parties in The Gambia and a few interesting points emerged which should be underlined.

For instance, Ousainu Darboe, secretary general and leader of the United Democratic Party said that government should create a Democracy Fund from which will fund some of the activities of political parties. He further said government should not, through the electoral commission, monitor or control campaign finances of political parties. This position seems to be shared by Mr Mai Fatty, leader of the Gambia Moral Congress.

The first point that government should fund the activities of political parties who have met a certain threshold through a democracy fund is a good idea which can greatly benefit the nascent democracy.

The other point that since the government does not fund political parties, it should not make it compulsory – through the IEC – for parties to disclose their sources of funding, is an ill-conceived point.

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Political parties should disclose their sources of funding generated locally and abroad to the IEC before every electoral cycle regardless of whether or not they receive funding from government. This way, the sovereignty of the state could be guaranteed as we should not be desirous of any foreign power exerting any undue influence over our political leaders because they control their purse strings.

If this is not heeded to, politics in The Gambia will become a dollarised enterprise where a candidate with most money will always win elections. Transparency serves as laundromat for dirty politics.

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