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Politics of Thursday, 17 September 2020

Source: Peace FM

Pay EC filing fees to show seriousness - Atik to political parties

Atik Mohammed, former General Secretary of the People's National Convention (PNC), has supported the Electoral Commission's call for Presidential and Parliamentary aspirants for this year's general elections to pay a filing fee of Ghc 100,000 and Ghc 10,000 respectively.

The Electoral Commission (EC) announced this on Monday, September 14, 2020 and asked the candidates to pay the fee using a bankers draft.

Speaking to the media, Electoral Commission Chairperson, Madam Jean Mensa said "the Presidential Candidate will be required to deposit an amount of Ghc 100,000 in a form of a Bankers draft to the Commission, Parliamentary Candidates will be required to deposit Ghc 10,000 in a form of a Bankers draft as well. We wish all candidates for both presidential and parliamentary elections well, we trust that the nomination process will be efficient, seemless and orderly . . ."

But some political parties have objected to the amount.

The parties argue that the fee for the Presidential aspirants is unreasonably expensive and so called on the EC to reduce it.

Reacting to the issue on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo', Atik Mohammed shared contrary views with the opponents.

According to him, the filing fee is a way to root out persons or political parties who want to toy with the electoral process.

He believes if an aspirant is indeed keen on getting into the race, he or she will find appropriate means to get the money.

To Atik, the fee is to "show that the person willing to pay this money is serious about ruling Ghana or help to steer the affairs of Ghana. So, it helps to sift the serious ones from the non-serious ones . . . how many politicians fund their campaigns from their pocket? Not so many. The reason why it's easy for politicians to raise or mobilize resources for their campagns is that when the electorates see you to be serious and have confidence in your vision, they, themselves, will help you raise resources to execute your campaign''.

He also dissented to the popular notion that the country's electoral system has been monetized, in that if one is super rich, the person can use undue influence to buy his or her way into the Presidential seat or Parliament.

''But no matter how much money you have, if the electorates feel you're not serious, it becomes difficult for you to have their support. So, elections is not about monetization but just to show that what you're doing is something that shows you're serious and that you have a good vision for Ghana," he asserted.

He further argued that the political parties should not complain about the EC's filing fee because in their internal politics, they equally charge exorbitant amounts.

In his analogy, if the party members can afford to pay and run for a party position, it shouldn't be a bother to foot the fee at the national level.

"I don't think 100,000 is unreasonable . . . if within your party, you're paying 30,000, 100,000 and all of that, and at the Electoral Commission level, you say 100,000 is expensive; then it means either as a political entity, you're not keenly interested or you have other ideas either than wanting to become the President. Because if you are serious with becoming the President, 100,000 should not be a difficulty; not for you as a person but for the organization."

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