Abdul Malik Kweku Baako says the fees being demanded from persons aspiring to lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC), may be justified.
The Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper said, it makes sense for the opposition party to demand GH¢200,000 as nomination fee and GH¢400,000 from those who aspire to be flagbearer of the party going into the 2020 elections.
General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia says they expect not less than 300,000 delegates comprising executives in branches, all the 275 constituencies, national executives as well as former government appointees and founding members to participate in the election which has been scheduled for January 19, 2019.
The exercise, he estimates is likely to cost at least ¢8 million. He said the cost drivers are mainly the state of the economy presided over by the Akufo-Addo government.
Speaking on Newsfile on Joy News TV, Saturday, December 1, Mr. Kweku Baako said the total figure of GH¢420,000 aspirants are being asked to pay as nomination and filing fees, is justifiable taking into consideration the scope of the election.
“…if you look at the scale [coverage] of what they are going to do…nobody should underestimate that. So you definitely need some money to run it [primaries] and even have a little left to run some other activities,” Baako told sit-in host, Evans Mensah.
The figure he noted, is similar to what was captured in 2016 report by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), a policy think tank, which puts the cost of seeking the office as a Members of Parliament in excess of GH¢380,000.
The report according to him, “says on average candidates needed to raise some GH¢389,803 [approximately $85,000 then] to secure the party’s primary nomination and compete in the parliamentary election in their constituency…”
That figure he noted, represented an increase in what the candidates spent in 2012 by 59%. “If by 2016 it was 389000 plus [cedis] on the average that each candidate spent, what is 420 [in 2018],” he quizzed.
Reacting to critics who say the fees being demanded from the aspirants are is at variance with the Social Democratic political philosophy of the NDC, the veteran journalist said socialism does not mean one should be poor.
“As a socialist, I believe that socialism is not about sharing poverty,” he argued in support of NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia who defended the decision at a news conference Thursday.
Nketia had stated that “social democracy is not poverty,” and insisted that the party’s philosophy means allowing market forces to work but still put in place mechanisms to protect those affected negatively by free market rules.
Governance expert, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae who was also on the panel, argued for the institution of a legal regime to regulate how political parties raise funds to finance their activities.
The concern for the expert, however, is how political parties fund their activities when they are in government against how they do same when they are in opposition.
“We should start regulating that environment…else we’ll come back to this table after 2020 and discuss this same issue,” Dr. Oduro Osae noted.