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NDC ON SALE TO HIGHEST BIDDER: JDM, BAGBIN, SLY ET AL TO COUGH UP GHC420,000 EACH

Politics

The National Democratic Congress has announced killer filing fees for flagbearers in what some sections of the media and party members see as a game to separate the men from the boys.

The National Democratic Congress has announced killer filing fees for flagbearers in what some sections of the media and party members see as a game to separate the men from the boys.

According to radio reports and other sources confirming the new arrangement, anyone seeking to become the NDC’s presidential candidate and to lead the party into the 2020 general election will have to pay a total of GHC420,000 in qualification fees.

The flagbearer contest will be a follow-up to the national delegates’ congress at the Trade Fair in Accra, held on November 13, which elected national executives of the party. That congress retained former general secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketiah but also brought on board a new national chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo.

11 lined up

An NDC press release says each of the flagbearer aspirants ‒ of whom there are now 11 declared, including former President John Mahama ‒ will have to cough up GHC20,000 for nomination forms and additional GHC400,000 as filing fee.

“Female candidates will pay 50 per cent less of the filing fee, while there will be an additional reduction for aspirants with physical disabilities,” a report claims.

The decision about fees was said to have been taken by a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee on Wednesday. The party has now set January 19 2019 as the date to elect its presidential candidate.

“Illegal funds”

The release said the party held a meeting yesterday, November 29, to decide on more details of processes for the congress that will elect the flagbearer. It has also outlined obligations and responsibilities of rank-and-file delegates who will be attending. The election of flagbearer is expected to conclude the NDC’s processes for the 2020 election.

But a vociferous party member, Dela Coffie, has expressed disgust at the outrageous fees and questioned if the NDC is for sale.

“We witnessed the abuse of our internal electoral process through the distribution of money to sway delegates to vote in certain directions in the just-ended national delegates’ conference in Trade Fair-Accra,” Coffie wrote on his Facebook page.

“Some of the elements who have emerged through this abominable syndrome are even unfit for party office. Yet again, the presidential ticket is being sold to the highest bidder under the pretence of filing fee.”

He further questioned, “What does social democracy mean to our political leaders? What is the value of a political concept that preaches social justice and equitable distribution of resources, yet supports capitalist tendencies of a few greedy elites, and selected party patrons?

“While the majority of our party folks bear the wrinkles of social adversity, we glamorise leaders who are campaigning with illegal funds on the theory that if they win the election the end will justify the means? Social democrats indeed!”

Longlisted

The two leading aspirants so far are former President John Dramani Mahama, who stepped into the shoes of the late Professor Evans Atta Mills after the elected President’s sudden death in 2012, and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin. Other prospective candidates are former Trade and Industry Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and the former National Health Insurance Authority chief executive officer Sylvester Adinam Mensah.

Also in the race are the former vice-chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Professor Joshua Alabi, the banker/oil and gas consultant Nurideen Iddrisu, and the MP for Cape Coast South, George Kweku Ricketts Hagan.

The tall list of leading and fringe actors ends with Stephen Atubiga, a member of the NDC’s communication team, Elikplim Agbemava, lawyer and plaintiff in the botched Supreme Court suit over the referendum on the proposed Oti Region, David Doste Kwame Kuwadah and the businessman-agronomist Goosie Tanoh.