The National Democratic Congress has asked persons who have declared their intention to contest the party’s flagbearership race to be rest assured of a level playing field for the delegates to decide who leads them into the 2020 general election.
The party has since last week received backlash from some of the presidential aspirants and members over the 400,000-cedi filing fee which critics have described as exorbitant.
Eight of the aspirants who protested the high fees also questioned the legitimacy of the processes that culminated the announcement of the fee last Thursday by the party’s National Executive Committee.
They are Alban Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Stephen Atubiga, Nurudeen Iddrisu, Goosie Tanoh, Kojo Bonsu and Elikplim Agbemava.
In a petition to the party’s Council of Elders, the eight aspirants also alleged bias on the part of the NEC and requested that the conduct of the party’s presidential primary be given to the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
“…the Council of Elders procures (in consultation with Aspirants and other stakeholders) the immediate involvement of the Electoral Commission to conduct (not just supervise) the Primaries on the basis of the revised Guidelines to ensure free, fair, and credible elections,” the eight requested.
Joshua Alabi’s team on Tuesday raised similar concerns over how some party executives who are in charge of the primary processes have openly declared support for one of the candidates, John Mahama.
Former MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Ken Dzirasah, described the conduct of such executives as “highly inappropriate and unethical”.
Also, the party’s Ashanti Regional Headquarters was branded with the posters of John Mahama, raising concerns of unfair playing field.
But responding to the issues of bias, the Functional Executive Committee of the party in a statement to announce reviewed guidelines covering the conduct of the primary said it would ensure fairness in the process.
“FEC wishes to use this opportunity to reassure all aspirants of a level playing field to ensure that the outcome of the elections shall reflect the true wishes and aspirations of the entire membership of the NDC,” it indicated.
Meanwhile the party has slashed the filing fee from 400,000 cedis to 300,000 cedis following an intervention by founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings and the Council of Elders that was triggered by the eight aspirants.
Female contestants are to pay 150, 000 cedis while persons with disabilities 100, 000 cedis.
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 presidential primary for the party has been pushed to January 26, next year.