Political Scientist, Dr. Mohammed Abass, has called on the Electoral Commission to review its filing fees for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Electoral Commission on Monday, September 14, 2020 announced GHC 100,000 as filing fees for presidential candidates.
The filing fee for parliamentary candidates was set at 10,000.
Speaking to UniversNews, the Political Studies lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology was of the view that the set amount would hinder many persons from running in the elections as they cannot meet up with the demand.
“We have to ensure that we don’t use the presidential fees to disqualify or to make it impossible for very qualified and competent candidates that are coming to serve in that capacity to help bring about the development of the country. We are practicing democracy and people must be given equal opportunity to be able to contest without the issue of money being a hindrance”
Concerning the increase in fees as compared to what was charged as filing fees ahead of the 2016 general elections, Dr. Abass asked the EC to explain the rationale for the upward review.
Whilst he believes that the increment could be a result of inflation, he questioned the percentage increase.
“The issue of presidential fees has to have a second look. Much as I think that something can be charged I think we also have to be clear in terms of the rationale behind the fees that are charged. It has to be clear to Ghanaians. The increment of the filing fee can be a result of the depreciation of the cedi but where the increment is so exorbitant? We must question the rationale behind it. I don’t think that it is the way we want to finance the work of the EC. The parties themselves need funding from the state, which is not provided to them so why charge exorbitant fees”- Dr. Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, the EC has justified the increment, explaining that it is in tandem with the value of the currency.
“In each particular year, it is important you look at the value of GHS50,000 in 2016, then compare it to GHS50,000 in 2020 then you will notice that the Commission has not increased it much. And even when you look at the [filing fee for] parliamentary [aspirants], the GHS10,000, you will realise that the Commission has reduced the price because we all know that GHS10,000 in 2016, is not the same as GHS10,000 in 2020. The Commission is doing this to promote multiparty democracy.”
Story by: Talata Mahama | universnewsroom.com