Presidential aspirant for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bridgette Dzogbenuku has described Ghana’s Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to charge GHS100,000 as filing fees as ridiculous.
According to her, such a high price for simply filing one’s nomination to lead a political party in the 2020 elections entrenches even further the monetization of the country’s democracy.
“I mean it’s ridiculous. I was actually listening to other debates on the issue and if you’re expecting us to come up with a GHS100,000 then we’re still going around the same issue of monetizing our politics and politics determined by money. And, therefore, if one can’t afford that filing fee then it disqualifies them even if they’re capable of being candidates and being president,” she said.
The EC on Monday announced that Presidential candidates wishing to contest the 2020 general election will be required to pay a filing fee of ¢100,000 while parliamentary candidates will pay ¢10,000.
While announcing the opening of nomination for both presidential and parliamentary aspirants, Mrs Mensa said the forms can be accessed online and had to be filled and filed between October 5 to October 9.
Defending the amount to be charged by the Commission, the Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Corporate Services, Dr. Bossman Eric Asare said the amount was generous, stating that this year’s fees were only a slight adjustment of the last election year’s fees.
“We did not increase because we can, but frankly, every four years we adjust the prices as far as the nomination fees are concerned.
“So in 2012 presidential was almost ¢10,000, 2016, it came to ¢50,000 and in 2020 it is now ¢100,000. And those of you who know the value of money in each particular year, it is important you look at the value of ¢50,000 in 2016 and compare to the same amount to now and you will know that the Commission has not increased it that much,” he said.
However, the PPP flagbearer says the amount is ridiculous and should be reviewed.
She is hoping that Civil Society Organisations take up the matter and demand a reduction of the fee.
“Most times the CSOs come and speak about it and I think that they’ve already talked about how politics is monetized,” she said.
She added that if nothing is done about it, political parties will have no other choice than to seek funding from any available avenue – sometimes dubious sources, which in turn may culminate into acts of corruption, should the political party be voted into government.
“If somebody is going to raise GHS100,000 to file to be on the ballot paper to lead a political party, they must find that money and that is when we start turning to all kinds of people to fund us who will ask for their pound of flesh after the elections,” she said.
According to her such huge amounts for filing fee only digs the country’s democracy into the ground.
Despite the challenge of the high fee, Bridgette Dzogbenuku is hopeful that her party and the entire Ghanaian population will be willing to contribute to pay for it come October 5.
“We hope that Ghanaians would believe in what we are bringing and if we go cup in hand or if we go ‘MoMo us GHS1’, we hope that people will be willing to do that because we will do that. We will raise funds from everybody,” she said.