Atsu Aryee: EC filing fees detrimental to democracy, minority parties

Professor Atsu Aryee, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, has suggested a national debate on the relevance of charging political parties filing fees by the Electoral Commission (EC).

According to him, “the trend badly affects efforts to rid the country’s politics of monetisation, I feel uncomfortable with charging of fees since it’s killing our democracy, the smaller parties and increasing monetisation of politics and when it comes to politics and money, I am always in a dilemma because money actually oils politics.”

The call comes in the wake of the 100 per cent increment in filing fees for the presidential hopefuls in the upcoming general elections which the EC made the announcement where it also pegged the fees for parliamentary candidates at GH¢ 10,000 the same figure charged in 2016.

The 100 per cent increment in fees for presidential race has been met with mixed reactions, but mostly criticism from some political parties, observers and analysts who say the figure is exorbitant.

Prof. Aryee described the fee as a bane to the country’s growing democracy and questioned essence of filing fees to the EC and if it is for administrative expenses, the EC is taken care of by Article 64 of the 1992 Constitution.

He said  the parties themselves when they are engaging EC, was unsure whether they had raised the issue of filing fees saying “I have listened to the Deputy Chairman of the EC, indicating that, they have not increased parliamentary filing fees but increased  presidential filing fees and needed to understand, what is essence of a filing fee.

“If you look at CI 127, it says it’s deposit, when you have parliamentary candidate GH¢10,000, it’s deposit, if you receive 12.5 per cent of valid votes cast, it will be refunded to you, if it’s for presidential, if you got 25 per cent of valid vote cast, then your GH¢100,000 will be refunded to you.

“Honestly I don’t buy the idea, actually when we follow it, it means for presidential elections it is only NDC and NPP   who will have their refund but minority parties and independent candidates there is no way they can secure 25 per cent of valid vote cast, with EC’s fixing of fees, I think we need to have a national debate, even if you are supposed to charge it under a certain law, you must also involve stakeholders,”
Prof.  Aryee decried. -starrfm.com.gh

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