More justifications have been pouring in following the main opposition party’s decision to charge presidential aspirants ¢400,000 as filing fees.
The fees is a 700% increase over the previous fee of ¢50,000 in 2015 charged by the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
In the latest explanation, the NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia said the fees are part of various fundraising efforts to pay for the cost of the presidential primaries slated in January 2019.
That primaries which is expected to be Ghana’s most participatory presidential primaries is likely to cost at least ¢8m cedis, he revealed on Joy News program The Pulse.
He said the cost drivers are mainly the state of the economy presided over by the Akufo-Addo government.
“We don’t determine the price of petrol…the cost of living, the cost of printing. It is not determined by any of the national executives”, he said in response to criticisms that the nomination and filing fees are exorbitant.
But the cost driver which is under the control of the party is the number of electorates expected to participate in the January 2019 polls.
At a national delegates congress in Kumasi in December 2014, the NDC agreed to expand its electoral college for presidential primaries from about 4,000 to over 250,000 delegates.
Providing justification for the expansion, a member of the NDC legal team Dominic Ayine declared;
“It will no longer be a selected few who are entitled to come and vote for either the MP or the President or national executives and so that is a major feat that we have chalked,”
And it was, for the expansion overtook the size of the electoral college of its rival, the NPP which has 125,000.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia has drawn attention to that 2014 party decision pointing out, it comes with financial implications.
We all said let’s expand, let’s expand…. this is the cost that comes with expanded electoral college” he said and put the college at about 275,000 delegates.
The party has shared the cost among the various stakeholders which include the National Executive Committee of which he is General Secretary.
The party’s Council of Elders which is also shouldering part of the cost has also established a fundraising committee.
The flagbearer aspirants are also stakeholders who must also help to raise funding for the primaries, he explained to host Gifty Andoh-Appiah.
The General Secretary who is the longest-serving national executive in the party provided a breakdown of the budget for the primaries.
He said transportation of delegates to the constituency centers will cost about three million cedis while feeding will add about a million cedis more.
The Electoral Commission which supervises party elections are also not providing pro bono services, he complained and said its officials must be paid in addition to the cost of printing ballot papers.