General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has rejected criticisms that the 420,000 cedis being charged the party’s flagbearer aspirants is on the high side.
For him, the 20,000-cedi nomination forms and the 400,000-cedi filing fee is not too much as suggested by some critics. He asked “please how much is too much?.. Nobody knows. What are you comparing it with?”
Justifying the amount announced by the party Thursday, he said someone must pay for the cost of running the presidential primary elections which has been scheduled for January 19, 2019.
“Who is going to pay? I have not declared to be a presidential candidate so those who have declared to be presidential candidates must pay the cost, yes,” he stated.
He said the money to be generated from the filing fees will even not be enough to organise the flagbearership election and that “the party will still have to raise money to supplement whatever will be accruing from these filing fees”.
The National Executive Committee of the party on Thursday agreed that male flagbearer aspirants should pay 400,000 cedis while female aspirants are to pay 200,000 cedis while persons with disability will pay 150,000 cedis.
Parliamentary aspirants will also pay 20,000 ceids as filing fees while female parliamentary aspirants will be half the amount.
Some critics including NDC MPs have described the fee as exorbitant grounding their argument on high cost of living in the country, while others have suggested the amount was pegged high to automatically eliminate some of the 11 persons who have declared to contest the flagbearership race.
They wondered why a party that proud itself as a social democrat is resolved to charge aspirants such high fees.
But Mr. Asiedu Nketia disagreed with such critics, and wondered why people were criticising the NDC when the New Patriotic Party three years ago charged 500,000 cedis
“NPP three years ago was charging 500,000. We were all with you in this country, did you complain? And three years on we are charging 400,000 and you still say ours is too high” he said.
He stated that social democracy is not equivalent to poverty.
“Many people have some wrong understanding of what social democracy is all about, social democracy is not poverty. Social democracy means the market must work; the productive forces in the economy must be released to achieve their potential,” he argued.
No party money for campaign
The General Secretary also explained the filing fee was pegged high with the view to testing the fundraising ability of the aspirants as the one to emerge the flagbearer will have to raise money to fund the 2020 elections.
“It will cost you money to undertake a presidential campaign so we shouldn’t create the impression that once you become a flagbearer, the party is going to get money from somewhere to give you to do the campaign,” Mr. Asiedu Nketia indicated.
He added: “You must have the capacity to also raise the funds to support; demonstrate your capacity to raise funds for 2020 now that you want to be the flagbearer”
He has thus asked persons aspiring to lead the party to think through their decision before filing to contest the presidential primary because the party will not refund their monies to them.
“Weigh yourself well if you want to be the president. Then you consider your options very well before you come into the contest. If you want to pretend, you bring your money, we will also pretend with your money. You will not have the option of demanding any refund so it is up to you to decide,” he advised.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana