General News of Saturday, 10 September 2016
Former presidential candidate for the United Ghana Movement (UGM), Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby has come to the defence of the Electoral Commission which has been accused of charging high filing fees from political parties.
The commission has been criticized by the New Patriotic Party, Convention People’s Party and the People’s National Convention for pegging filing fees for the December 7 polls at GHC50,000 and GHC10,000 for presidential and parliamentary aspirants.
The NPP in particular complained that the amount would only limit participation in the democratic process to a privileged few.
But Speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr. Wereko-Brobby insisted that the amount does not seek to block more aspirants from contesting in the race.
“I don’t believe it is a way of blocking, the more numbers of presidential candidates you have the more administratively costly it is in terms of printing the administrate papers, ballot boxes, giving copies of electoral role and other paraphernalia. Those things should not be given away cheaply for people who are not really capable of rising up to the challenge,” he said.
He also blamed the high fees on administrative processes and said persons seeking such positions should be able to raise the amount involved.
“Anybody who seriously want to be a president of Ghana and cannot muster GHc50,000 is not a serious person. One of the requirements of being able to say that you have got enough support for people to listen to you and even cast their votes for you is that you have an ability expressed by contributions of enough critical mass of people who believe in you to become president of Ghana.
After all the NDC and NPP and others charged GHC50,000 for their presidential nominations. I think it is about time we take these things seriously otherwise every Tom, Dick and Harry” goes to declare themselves a presidential candidate and they ought to be able to raise the money.”
The former presidential candidate disclosed that when he contested the race in the year 2000, his party fielded about 180 parliamentary candidates and paid the requisite fees for all of them “plus myself as the presidential candidate.”
“I think if you really want to be a presidential candidate of Ghana, you should not quibble about raising the money from people who believe in you for you to be able to file. No serious person who wants to be president would get away with not spending more than two or three million cedis,” he added.