General News of Friday, 16 September 2016
The Electoral Commission would refund the nomination fees of presidential candidates who obtain at least 25 per cent of the total valid votes cast, whilst parliamentary candidates must reap at least 12.5 per cent to qualify.
Mr. Yaw Poku, the Sunyani Municipal Electoral Officer, said at a meeting organised by the Municipal Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Tuesday, in Sunyani.
The programme on the theme: “Empowering the Youth to Stand up for Ghana for a Peaceful Election 2016”, was attended by 40 youth activists from five political parties in the Sunyani East and Berekum East Constituencies.
They represented the National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Congress (PNC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), and Convention People’s Party (CPP).
Mr Poku explained that the nomination fees of the candidates who would not meet the Commission’s threshold mark would be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
Mr. Poku debunked the notion held by some people that the Commission had increased nomination fees from GHC10,000.00 for the presidential and GHC1000.00 for the parliamentary in the previous general election to GHC50,000.00 and GHC10,000,00 respectively, in the Election 2016 just to help the government to gain advantage over the opposition.
The decision, he said, was rather was to ensure that more qualified persons offered themselves to give credibility to the electoral process for national interest, he explained.
Mr. Poku who addressed the workshop on the topic: “The Electoral Process (Electoral offences and sanctions and Overview of Public Elections Regulations, CI 94)” briefly explained some of the functions of the Commission’s Chairman pertaining to the process.
He mentioned double registration, preventing a qualified voter from registering or voting, a returning officer failing to sign ‘pink’ sheet, and selling alcoholic drinks within 500 metres radius of a polling station as some of the offences.
Others are destroying or forging a nomination paper, possession of another voter’s voting card or copying particulars on another voter’s card.
Mr. Poku expressed worry that the leaders of some political parties appeared to lack trust in the EC, saying that “globally it is only Ghana that the constitutional provision permits the EC to print ballot papers with the presence of political party representatives and also seal ballot boxes in their presence”.
He said the Commission started the voter transfer exercise on September 9 and would end it on October 7, 2016.
He, however, cautioned that the Commission would not entertain intra-constituency mass transfer of voters, saying that was an administrative decision by the EC to check manipulation of the process to favour a particular political party.