A U.S.-based Ghanaian law Professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare, has asked the disgruntled National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer hopefuls to file a suit against the controversial GHc 420,000 nomination and filing fees.
Prof. Asare wants to know if it is even “constitutional to set fees that will prevent a lot of people from contesting an election since it interferes with the right to vote?”
At a meeting of National Executive Committee (NEC ) of the party, members agreed to a GH¢400,000 non-refundable filing fee for flagbearer aspirants and a GH¢ 20,000 non-refundable nomination form fee.
Eight members of the party aspiring to lead the party in the 2020 elections as its Presidential Candidate have petitioned the party’s Council of Elders over the fees being charged.
They want the fees to be reduced, alleging that the fees were set without consulting the Council of Elders, in breach of the party’s constitution.
Alban Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Stephen Atubiga, Nurideen Iddrissu, Goosie Tanoh, Kojo Bonsu and Elikplim Agbemava, petitioned the Council of Elders, chaired by former President John Rawlings, to intervene in the matter.
Commenting on the matter, Professor Asare said “If the filing fee is pegged that high, it violates the constitution itself and I will say that instead of going to the Founder to plead on their behalf, they should rather make a case and go to court and ask the court if the conditions in the constitution to qualify for an office allows a sum to be charged to that effect, democracy is not moneycracy.”
He made the comments on Adom FM’s current affairs show, Burning Issues on Monday, December 3, 2018.
Prof. Kwaku Asare also said it has become imperative for a national discourse on the issue to ascertain whether elections are being sold to the rich or not.
According to him, the filing fee violates some of the constitutional provisions such as a clause in Article 55 which talks about internal democracy as well as Article 42 which states the right to vote and can be interpreted to mean a right to be registered, a right to cast a ballot for who you want to be and hence any condition disallowing someone to be registered is an indirect way infringing on the person’s right.
He says anyone who has the will to contest must be allowed and “money should not be used to cede leaders because the rich are not the only wise people on earth.”
Prof Asare believes charging of such amounts breeds polycracy because, when a lot of people contribute to putting one in power, he tends to appoint more people to compensate them for the favours given to him.
“No matter how good a leader is, if he pays a lot of money to amass power, he will become corrupt afterwards”, he indicated.
He also said, “the MPs donating for candidates should rather enact a law to change things or rather donate to the parties instead of seeking favours from the contestants with their donations.”
Prof. Asare finally suggests filing fees of a candidate should be determined as 10 per cent of the salary he will receive from the office he is contesting for.
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