Politics of Thursday, 13 December 2018
Six flagbearer aspirants of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have petitioned the party's Council of Elders to again reduce the filing fee from GHC300,000 to GHC200,000.
A source close to the aspirants told Graphic Online in Accra that the reduction of the filing fee from GHC400,000 to GHC300,000, following the earlier petition, was not enough.
It said when the flagbearer aspirants first met with the Council of Elders, the aspirants proposed that the filing fees be pegged at GHC150,000.
The source said the aspirants again suggested that they would contribute GHC50,000 towards the organisation of the primaries to bring their total payment to GHC200,000.
Therefore, it said, it was a surprise to the aspirants that the fee was rather pegged at GH¢300,000 instead of the suggested fee totalling GHC200,000.
The source said the aspirants also wanted the date for the submission of the filing forms to be extended by two weeks to enable them to meet with delegates across the 275 constituencies to fill their forms.
The six flag bearer aspirants are Alban Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Goosie Tanoh, Alhaji Nurudeen Iddrisu and Stephen Atubiga.
Following a decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC to peg the nomination and filing fee for the party’s flag bearer position at GHC20,000 and GHC400,000, respectively, eight aggrieved aspirants, who described the fee as outrageous, petitioned the party’s Council of Elders and sought their intervention.
Following a proposal made to the Functional Executive Committee of the party by the Council of Elders, the new filing fee was pegged at GHC300,000.
So far, eight stalwarts of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are battle ready to contest the party’s presidential primaries slated for January 26, 2019.
They are ex-President John Dramani Mahama, Joshua Alabi, Stephen Atubiga, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Alban Bagbin, Sylvester Mensah, Nurudeen Idrissu, and Goosie Tanoh.
Monetisation of leadership
The source said the aspirants were of the view that the high filing fee would deviate from the philosophy of the NDC as a social democratic party.
It said the NDC roots from the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) began with university lecturers, students and other ordinary people.
Therefore, the source said, the NDC was known to be a party of the masses, and so the pegging of exorbitant filing fees of GHC400,000 or GHC300,000 would change the face of the NDC as a party for the elites.
Besides, it said, the impression would be created that it was only the only the highest bidders who would assume the leadership role of the NDC.
The source dismissed the suggestion that the filing fees was a way of testing the ability of the aspirants to raise funds towards the running of the party.
It wondered why the same yardstick of raising funds was not used for the branch, constituency, regional and national elections of executive members of the NDC.
For instance, it said, branch chairmen paid only GHC5 as filing fee; constituency chairmen, GHC500; regional chairmen GHC5,000 and national chairman, GHC10,000.
The source said it was, therefore, surprising that the filing fee for flag bearer aspirants was fixed way above the fees charged for national chairmanship position.
It said the filing fee for 2016 when the party had only one candidate in the name of the then President John Dramani Mahama was pegged at GHC50,000 and indicated that it was unjustifiable to increase the percentage by more about 400 per cent.
Again, the source said the NEC's earlier claim that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) fixed the filing fee for presidential aspirants for the 2016 election at GHC500,000 and so the GHC400,000 for NDC for the 2020 election was justifiable had been proven to be rather GHC75,000 filing fee and GHC10,000 for the nomination form.