PNC to go to court over EC's ‘outrageous' filing fee

New Atik Mohammed Atik Mohammed

Sat, 10 Sep 2016 Source: kasapafmonline.com

The Peoples National Convention (PNC) has said it will not hesitate to go to the Supreme Court if the Electoral Commission (EC) fails to review downwards its excessively high filing fees for both Presidential and Parliamentary nominations for the 2016 elections.

Presidential candidates are to pay GHC50,000 as filing fee which is 500 per cent increment of the amount charged during the last election in 2012.

At an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting Thursday, the EC also pegged the nomination fees for Parliamentary candidates at GHC10,000 as against the GHC1,000 paid in the last elections. The new figure is a 1,000 per cent increment from the previous amount.

The Electoral Management Body has slated September 13 for both presidential and parliamentary candidates to pick nomination forms from the Electoral Commission. The forms are to be submitted between September 29 and 30, 2016.

Majority of the parties, especially the smaller ones have protested the figure, claiming it’s a ploy to disqualify them from contesting in the upcoming December 7 elections, but the Deputy Public Relations Officer EC, Yusif Ayuba has rejected that claim saying the Commission has no such intention.

“The Commission has always encouraged smaller political parties to participate in elections in this country. The Commission does not think that pegging the filing fee at GHC50,000 will necessarily prevent smaller parties from contesting. If you are a political party and have structures on the ground the Commission thinks that you should be able to raise money to contest.”

However speaking on Citi FM Eye Witness News, General Secretary of the PNC, Atik Mohammed stated that the EC by its move is pushing the party into an arena where extra ordinary means ought to be employed to keep it afloat and that is counterproductive to deepening Ghana’s democracy.

“The EC should have been the last institution to want to be part of this arrangement of making politics or our democracy for that matter a commodity for the highest bidder.”

He added: “The qualifications to become a candidate are very clear and every body knows. Why do you want to erect impediments in the way of people who ordinarily have the best to offer for this country. We are going to protest with every vehemence we can command against this move and if it fails, I’m sure the Supreme Court is there to interpret the Act…what really constitute the qualification for one to become either a Parliamentary or Presidential candidate.”

Atik noted that the PNC would have been comfortable with a filing fee of GHC 1,000 for Parliamentary Candidate and GHC5,000 for Presidential Candidate, an amount he said ordinarily should be reasonable.

Source: kasapafmonline.com
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