The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been cowed into choosing a new date for its intended internal elections to choose a flagbearer for the party ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The decision forms part of an out of court settlement agreed upon by the party and two members who secured an injunction against the exercise.
The party had initially set January 26, 2019, for the primaries to elect a potential presidential candidate to compete in the next elections as the party aims at wresting power from the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
But an injunction secured by two members of the party, who challenged the guidelines for the elections as well as other decisions they deem unconstitutional, means the party’s initial plans had to be altered.
Kabu Nartey and Abdallah Issah filed the application challenging the rules and guidelines set for the presidential election scheduled for January 26, 2019.
The duo, in the suit, explained that the guidelines set by the party violate the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
They also challenged the introduction of certain eligibility criteria as conditions precedent for presidential candidates.
The party and the two aggrieved members have agreed to settle the matter out of court and the court which granted the injunction subsequently struck out the suit.
Per the settlement, both the party and the plaintiffs have agreed that a new date for the primaries shall be fixed in accordance with the party’s constitution.
The settlement addressed issues with the guidelines as challenged by the plaintiffs. The parties agreed that the requirement that a member of the NDC aspiring to be a presidential candidate of the party must be a paid up member for 10 years shall no longer apply.
The settlement between the party and the members also includes pegging the filing fee for the aspirants at GH¢300,000.
According to the settlement, the filing constitutes a contribution towards the cost of conducting the presidential primaries.
The party’s initial exorbitant filing fee was a bone of contention.
National Executives of the NDC, in December last year, set GH¢400,000 and GH¢20,000 as filing and nomination fees respectively for the presidential aspirants.
Eight out of the initial 13 aspirants, who were unhappy with the exorbitant fees, petitioned the party’s Council of Elders for a downward review of the fees.
The amount was subsequently slashed to GH¢300,000 after the intervention of former President Jerry John Rawlings, who is the Chairman of the Council of Elders and founder of the NDC.
Notwithstanding the injunction, seven aspirants filed their nomination before the deadline.
They included Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin; former Vice Chancellor of University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Joshua Alabi; ex-President John Mahama; ex-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah; businessman Nurideen Iddrisu; former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and a cadre, Goosie Tanoh.
John Mahama, Alban Bagbin, Joshua Alabi, Sly Mensah, all filed their nomination on Monday, December 17, 2018, while Messrs Iddrisu, Spio-Garbrah and Tanoh submitted their nomination forms on Tuesday, December 18, to generate GH¢2.24 million for a party which claims to be broke after just two years of losing power to the NPP.