Seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt has berated the Electoral Commission (EC) for pegging its filing fee at Ghc 100,000 and Ghc 10,000 for Presidential and Parliamentary aspirants respectively who desire to file their nominations to contest December 7 elections.
He held rather strongly that the filing fee is "exorbitant".
Speaking at the Commission's "Let The Citizen Know" press conference in Accra on Monday, September 14, the EC Chairperson, Madam Jean Mensa said individuals or parties willing to contest the elections must first make a deposit of the aforementioned amount in a form of a bankers draft to the Commission after downloading, filling and submitting their forms within 5 days.
"The Presidential Candidate will be required to deposit an amount of Ghc 100,000 in a form of a Bankers draft to the Commission, Parliamentary Candidates will be required to deposit Ghc 10,000 in a form of a Bankers draft as well. We wish all candidates for both presidential and parliamentary elections well, we trust that the nomination process will be efficient, seemless and orderly . . ." she said.
The aspirants are to pick the forms via the EC's website https://ec.gov.gh/political-parties/
Nominations were opened from 6pm Monday, Septmber 14 with the deadline being from Monday, 5th October to Friday, 9th October, 2020 between the hours of 9am and 12noon, and 2pm and 5pm each day.
However, the EC's filing fee has become a bone of contention.
At least 4 major political parties; the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People's Party (CPP), the Progressive People's Party (PPP) as well as the All People's Congress (APC) have launched scathing attack on the electoral body, describing the filing fee as "outrageous"
Contributing to a panel discussion on ''Kokrokoo'' on Peace FM, the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper opined that the payment of such huge sums for nomination forms is one of the major contributions to corruption in Ghana.
According to him, there are some Parliamentary aspirants and sitting Members of Parliament who, in order to pay the filing fee, will have to rely on donors for funds, but in return, offer them contractual favors when they come into government in order to appease the donors.
In his candid view, this and other reasons he cited are why the Electoral Commission should have reduced the fee.
''This filing fee is too much...If we want corruption to escalate, let's continue to do what we're doing. But if we don't want corruption to increase, let's take decisions that will ease the financial pressures...We will all benefit if we get a good President. Getting a good Parliamentarian will also affect us; the same way if we get a bad person, it will also affect us. The fee is too excessive'', he said.