Six flagbearer aspirants of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have petitioned the party's Council of Elders to again reduce the filing fee from GH¢300,000 to GH¢200,000.
A source close to the aspirants told Graphic Online in Accra that the reduction of the filing fee from GH¢400,000 to GH¢300,000, following the earlier petition, was not enough.
It said when the flag bearer aspirants first met with the Council of Elders, the aspirants proposed that the filing fees be pegged at GH¢150,000.
The source said the aspirants again suggested that they would contribute GH¢50,000 towards the organisation of the primaries to bring their total payment to GH¢200,000.
Therefore, it said, it was a surprise to the aspirants that the fee was rather pegged at GH¢300,000 instead of the suggested fee totalling GH¢200,000.
The source said the aspirants also wanted the date for the submission of the filing forms to be extended by two weeks to enable them to meet with delegates across the 275 constituencies to fill their forms.
The six flag bearer aspirants are Alban Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Goosie Tanoh, Alhaji Nurudeen Iddrisu and Stephen Atubiga.
Following a decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC to peg the nomination and filing fee for the party’s flag bearer position at GH¢20,000 and GH¢400,000, respectively, eight aggrieved aspirants, who described the fee as outrageous, petitioned the party’s Council of Elders and sought their intervention.
Following a proposal made to the Functional Executive Committee of the party by the Council of Elders, the new filing fee was pegged at GH¢300,000.
So far, eight stalwarts of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are battle ready to contest the party’s presidential primaries slated for January 26, 2019.
They are ex-President John Dramani Mahama, Joshua Alabi, Stephen Atubiga, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Alban Bagbin, Sylvester Mensah, Nurudeen Idrissu, and Goosie Tanoh.
Monetisation of leadership
The source said the aspirants were of the view that the high filing fee would deviate from the philosophy of the NDC as a social democratic party.
It said the NDC roots from the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) began with university lecturers, students and other ordinary people.
Therefore, the source said, the NDC was known to be a party of the masses, and so the pegging of exorbitant filing fees of GH¢400,000 or GH¢300,000 would change the face of the NDC as a party for the elites.
Besides, it said, the impression would be created that it was only the only the highest bidders who would assume the leadership role of the NDC.
The source dismissed the suggestion that the filing fees was a way of testing the ability of the aspirants to raise funds towards the running of the party.
It wondered why the same yardstick of raising funds was not used for the branch, constituency, regional and national elections of executive members of the NDC.
For instance, it said, branch chairmen paid only GH¢5 as filing fee; constituency chairmen, GH¢500; regional chairmen GH¢5,000 and national chairman, GH¢10,000.
The source said it was, therefore, surprising that the filing fee for flag bearer aspirants was fixed way above the fees charged for national chairmanship position.
It said the filing fee for 2016 when the party had only one candidate in the name of the then President John Dramani Mahama was pegged at GH¢50,000 and indicated that it was unjustifiable to increase the percentage by more about 400 per cent.
Again, the source said the NEC's earlier claim that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) fixed the filing fee for presidential aspirants for the 2016 election at GH¢500,000 and so the GH¢400,000 for NDC for the 2020 election was justifiable had been proven to be rather GH¢75,000 filing fee and GH¢10,000 for the nomination form.