The Council of Elders of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are expected to meet the party’s National Executives today to resolve the seeming division in the party following the decision to charge GHC420,000 as filing fee for picking and filing of nomination forms for Presidential aspirants.The NEC is expected to brief the Council of Elders under the Chairmanship of Founder and ex-President Jerry John Rawlings on what informed their decision and chart the way forward for the party.
As at the close of the deadline on Tuesday evening, only four of the aspirants had picked their nomination forms in their bid to lead the party into the 2020 election, leaving eight others including Dr Spio Garbrah, Kojo Bonsu and Alban Bagbin vowing not to participate in the process arguing it will amount to an illegality.
It remains to be seen if at the end of today’s meeting a decision will be arrived at that will allow the number of candidates to contest to lead the NDC in 2020 to remain four or possibly increase.
The eight aspirants who signed the petition include are the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin; a legal practitioner, Elikplim Agbemava; a former Minister of Trade, Ekow Spio-Garbrah; a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority, Sylvester Mensah; a former Mayor of Kumasi, Kojo Bonsu; Nurudeen Iddrisu; Stephen Atubiga and Goosie Tanoh.
The decision of the aspirants follows the setting of what they have described as ‘outrageous’ filing fee by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
According to the petitioners, specific issues they had with the guidelines for the election were that the NEC did not meet the procedural requirements set out in Article 42 (1) (f) of the NDC constitution for publishing electoral guidelines.
The NEC, they said, had generally not met standards of stakeholder consultations acceptable in a social democratic party.
They also averred that NEC, in publishing the guidelines, exceeded its authority, to wit, imposed eligibility criteria not provided for in the party’s constitution.
“These make the guidelines ultra vires to the NDC party constitution and thus null and void,” the petitioners stated.
They stated that NEC’s proposed guidelines imposed filing fees on aspirants “that are unreasonable and that call into question our basic commitment as social democrats”.
They also said the guidelines did not provide adequate assurance of a level playing field for the primary in the context of openly displayed bias on the part of some members of NEC.
The petitioners also objected to NEC’s proposal that the entire electoral process be completed within 45 days from December 5, 2018 to January 19, 2019.