Fourteen political parties have so far picked presidential nomination forms to contest this year’s general election.
As at the time the paper went to bed, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), United Front Party (UFP) , National Democratic Party (NDP) and Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP) were among the lot.
The rest are Democratic People’s Party, Independence People’s Party, the United Front Party, Ghana Freedom Party, All People’s Party and the United People’s Party.
Three independent candidates including Jacob Osei Yaw and two others whose names were not readily made known to the Times had also picked forms.
Koku Anyidoho, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC picked the form for the party while Mr. John Boadu and Bernard Monah picked the forms for the NPP and the PNC respectively.
The PPP papers were picked by Mutala Mohammed, UFP, by Raymond Osei, NDP, was picked by Mohammed Frimpong, John Amekah picked for GCPP with Eric Tweneboa picking for the DPP.
Razak Opoku picked on behalf of APC, Hans Opoku picked on behalf of Mr Osei, while Lawrence Jamel Nkrumah and Clement Amevor took papers for the other independent candidates.
A Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho, who was accompanied by Mahgi Jibrin, a Deputy National Organiser and other party officials who took the forms on behalf of the president said victory was at their camp.
In an interview with the Times, Mr. Anyidoho said the party would abide by the guidelines and “we will play according to the rules”.
He said the party decided to pick the forms early in order to fill it and do due diligence saying, ”we do not want to wait till the last minute.”
Commenting on the President’s campaign tour so far, he said the NDC was soliciting votes based on its solid records on infrastructure development, social interventions and ability to solve the energy crisis.
Mr. Anyidoho stated that the party would continue to campaign on issues and ensure it won the elections overwhelmly.
In an interview with John Boadu, the acting General Secretary of the NPP said the party was confident that its presidential candidate, Nana Akufo- Addo was the preferred candidate that Ghanaians were looking forward to salvage the country.
“He is the man at the moment that Ghanaians are looking forward to come and save them,” he said.
According to Mr. Boadu, the picking of the forms was an indication of the readiness of their presidential candidate to contest and consequently salvage Ghanaians from the hardship that they were going through.
‘When the party talked about providing exercise books and other items to boost education, the NDC says it would provide tablets among others’ saying ‘this is what the party and our flagbearer seek to do, unfortunately, he is being criticised for saying that’, he said.
Presidential candidates of the various political parties are expected to pay GH¢50, 000 filing fee to enable them to contest the presidential election, while the fee for parliamentary candidates has been pegged at GH¢10, 000.
In 2012, the presidential candidates paid GH¢10,000 as filing fee, while parliamentary candidates paid GH¢1,000.
The EC announced the fees at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting last Thursday and some of the political parties immediately opposed it, demanding a review of the 500 per cent hike in filing fees for presidential candidates.
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) said the new filing fees constituted a deliberate attempt by the two main political parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to block smaller parties from contesting the election.
The Convention People’s Party (CPP) also described the EC as “insensitive”, and the fees as “outrageous”.
“Why should we pay such exorbitant fees while the activities of the EC are supported with the taxpayers’ money. Elections are a serious matter. That is why we support the EC’s budget; it is taken from the Consolidated Fund. What do they need this money for?” Mr Daniel Bomfeh, Director of Elections of the party, queried.
The Peoples National Convention (PNC) said the new filing fee would stifle multi-party democracy.
Bernard Mornah, Chairman of the PNC ,said about 90 per cent of the EC’s budget had been released and therefore, wondered what the commission would do with such huge sums of money it was demanding from the political parties.
The NPP also criticised the EC for charging what it called “exorbitant filing fees”.
Speaking to journalists after the IPAC meeting, its Campaign Manager, Peter Mac Manu, said reviewing the amount would be in the interest of smaller parties.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), on the other hand, was not worried about the filing fee, according to the General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
Meanwhile, the EC is yet to decide whether or not it would review the filing fees for the December polls.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffour