General News of Saturday, 10 September 2016
The Chairman of the Convention Peoples Party (PNC), Bernard Mornah has called for an urgent review of the excessively high filing fees being charged Presidential and Parliamentary candidates by the Electoral Commission (EC) for the 2016 elections to allow for more participation in the process.
He believes the EC merchandising the process in such an outrageous manner will hamper free participation in the electoral process insisting that “people must not be excluded on the basis that they do not have money.”
Speaking on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji programme Saturday, the PNC Chairman said Ghana’s democracy cannot be at the behest of those who have the financial muscle to participate.
“…I think that what the electoral Commission is doing today is nearly saying that we’re running towards a one party state. because it is those with money that can continue to run. And at the end of the day, if you have all the money you may file for the candidates and if you don’t have some of your candidates will not be able to file and therefore you’re stifling the growth and maturation of political multi-party democracy in the system,” he bemoaned.
Presidential candidates are to pay Gh¢50, 000 as filing fee which is 500 per cent increment of the amount charged during the last election in 2012.
At an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting Thursday, the EC also pegged the nomination fees for Parliamentary candidates at Gh¢ 10,000 as against the Gh¢1,000 paid in the last elections. The new figure is a 1,000 per cent increment from the previous amount.
The Electoral Management Body has slated September 13 for both presidential and parliamentary candidates to pick nomination forms from the Electoral Commission. The forms are to be submitted between September 29 and 30, 2016.
Majority of the parties, especially the smaller ones have protested the figure, claiming it’s a ploy to disqualify them from contesting in the upcoming December 7 elections, but the EC has rejected that claim.