Politics of Wednesday, 5 December 2018
The 400,000-cedi controversial filing fee set for National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential aspirants has been reduced to 300,000 cedis, 3News has gathered.
A meeting between the party’s Council of Elders and the National Executive Committee (NEC) on Wednesday also concluded the period of picking of nomination forms that expired on Tuesday, be extended to Saturday, December 8.
Also, the January 19, 2019 scheduled presidential primary for the party has been pushed to January 26, next year, sources told 3News
The party’s NEC on Thursday, November 29 agreed that male flagbearer aspirants pay 400,000 cedis as filing fees and female aspirants 200,000 cedis while persons with disability pay 150,000 cedis.
The aspirants were given December 3 and 4 to pick up nomination forms at the cost of 20,000 cedis.
The announcement of the fee triggered criticism against the party which prides itself as being a social democrat, with some critics suggesting the “exorbitant” fee is part of a grand scheme by the NEC to favour former President John Mahama who is seeking to lead the party into 2020.
Most of the 13 persons who have declared to contest the flagbearership race condemned the party for the move.
General Secretary of the party Johnson Asiedu Nketia justified the fee, indicating that someone ought to pay for the cost of running the presidential primary.
He explained the filing fee was pegged high with the view to testing the fundraising abilities of the aspirants as the one to emerge the flagbearer will have to raise money to fund the 2020 elections.
But the eight aggrieved aspirants, who disagreed with the General Secretary, petitioned the party’s Council of Elders to intervene in the matter.
The eight; Alban S.K. Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Stephen Atubiga, Nurideen Iddrisu, Goosie Tanoh, Kojo Bonsu and Elikplim Agbemava described the fee as unreasonable, and process leading to the decision to charge the 400,000 was done illegally.
In the December 1 petition to the Council of Elders, the eight thus announced their resolve to boycott the primary in protest over the much criticized 400,000-cedi filing fee if it is not reduced.
“…none of us will pick up nomination forms or otherwise comply with the unlawful Guidelines until our petition is heard and the issues set out are fully resolved,” the eight declared in the petition.
However, at the close of nominations Tuesday, Mr. Bagbin, Mahama, Alabi and Atubiga had picked nomination forms.