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Some aspiring Members of Parliament (MP) on the ticket of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Volta region have refused to pay the development levy slapped on them by the regional executives of the party, information reaching Today indicates.
The situation, according to sources, has become a matter of concern for the executives of the party who were hoping to raise funds to support their activities.
And as a result of that all those aspirants, Today learnt, are likely to be disqualified when they appear for vetting on 8 and 9th October, 2015.
The regional executives of NDC in the Volta region imposed GHC10,000 and GHC5,000 development levies on new aspirants and incumbent MPs respectively to enable the party put up its regional offices in Ho, the regional capital.
The amount was to be paid in addition to a mandatory filing fee of GHC10,000.
However, the decision to impose the levy did not sit well with some of the aspirants who raised issues with it and subsequently took the matter to the national party officers in Accra.
The national executive body consequently dissociated itself from the levy and there upon asked aspirants who were having challenges filing their papers at the constituency level due to the imposition of the levy to come to the party headquarters to file.
This paper learnt that a good number of the aspirants responded to the instruction from the Adabraka headquarters of the party and therefore trooped to the place where they filed their nomination papers.
However, available information indicates that the Volta regional executives were unhappy at that development.
Confirming the executives’ disappointment in aspirants who refused to pay the development levy, the Volta Regional chairman of the NDC, Mr. John Kwabena Gyapong, in an interview with Today yesterday said it was unfortunate that some of the aspirants decided to ignore their call on them to contribute towards the development of the party.
He averred that monies that would be raised from the levy would go into the completion of the office complex for the party in Ho.
Mr. Gyapong disclosed that the party is currently renting a space as an office and this was putting a lot of strain on the party’s finances.
To save the NDC from incurring further expenses on rent, he explained that a decision was taken to build a befitting regional party office in Ho.
He added that, he could not understand why the ruling party failed to build its own office in the region which is its stronghold, the so-called World Bank.
“After 23 years of multiparty democracy, I know the difficulty and we are not happy as the “World Bank” of the NDC we don’t have a place we can call an office,” he lamented.
The regional chairman pointed out that every political party thrives on membership dues, contributions, and donations and therefore he did not see anything wrong, asking party members to contribute a token towards the construction of an office for the party.
He said the levy was not only targeted at aspiring MPs but also for all party members who contested the various positions from zonal, ward, constituency up to regional level.
“Some people have refused to pay the development levy because they think that is too much,” he stated.
In his opinion, if the aspirants had objections concerning the development levy, the best they could have done was to take the matter to the constituency for redress and if the matter wasn’t addressed there, they could then send it to national.
“But to bypass the regional executives to take their case to the national office was improper,” he indicated.
He, however, disclosed that some aspirants after filing their papers in Accra came to the region and paid the development levy but others were still adamant.
He added that other aspirants beside the levy went ahead to purchase building materials like sand, cement, paints among others for the party.
He disclosed that so far about 92% of all aspirants had paid with the remaining few proving difficult.
Mr. Gyapong nevertheless stated that no aspirant would be disqualified on the basis of non-payment of the development levy.
Speaking earlier in Ho when the MP for Ho Central, Mr. Benjamin Kpodo, filed his papers, Mr. Gyapong warned that those aspirants who refused to pay the levies would be doing so at their own risk because the levy would be taken at all cost before they would be allowed to contest, stressing that his executives were prepared to defend their actions anytime and anywhere without fear.
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