Even though some of the parties only exist on paper, their presidential candidates managed to file their nomination forms ahead of today’s deadline by the Electoral Commission (EC), which pegged nomination fee at GH¢50,000. No candidate however, paid the fee owing to a court injunction.
The nine parties were among the over 20 parties and individuals who had picked nomination forms to contest in the presidential election in December.
The two front runners, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) whose presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, personally submitted his forms and the National Democratic Congress (NDC’s) forms were submitted by Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.
Other candidates were Kofi Akpaloo of Independent People’s Party (IPP); Akua Donkor, Ghana Freedom Party (GFP); Akwasi Addai Odike, United Progressive Party (UPP); Hassan Ayariga, All People’s Congress (APC); Kwabena Adjei aka Bambata, Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD); Nana Agyenim Boateng aka Gyataba, United Front Party (UFP), with Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings’ National Democratic Party (NDP) showing up for the day.
The Electoral Commission however, seems to be running away from its shadow when it declined to accept payments (filing fees) from presidential and parliamentary aspirants contesting in the upcoming general election.
This follows a court injunction placed on the elections organizing body by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) over EC’s decision to charge GH¢50,000 and GH¢10,000 respectively from presidential and parliamentary aspirants respectively.
Various aspirants who trooped to the EC’s headquarters in Accra yesterday to file their nomination forms had their cheques returned to them by the electoral officials.
First was the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. He was at the commission’s headquarters in the early hours of yesterday to submit his forms in the company of party chieftains, including the Chairman of the party’s Council of Elders, C.K Tedam; Acting National Chairman and General Secretary, Freddie Blay and John Boadu respectively; party elders: Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, Yaw Osafo Maafo, Director of Elections, Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, National Women’s Organiser, Otiko Djaba and a host of others.
Upon reaching there, Nana Addo and his team were given a warm welcome by Chairperson of the Commission, Charlotte Osei, and members of her team, including Amadu Sulley, Georgina Opoku Amankwah, Hajia Sadatu Maida and Pauline Adobea Dadzawa.
After the exchange of pleasantries, Nana proceeded to present his nomination forms to the EC boss together with the GH¢50,000; that was when the drama started unfolding.
Even though Charlotte received the forms with a smile, she refused to accept the cheque with the reason that a court injunction had been placed on the EC from collecting the increased filing fees from the aspirants until a final determination of the case.
Nana Addo and his team therefore returned with their cheque, pending the court ruling.
Even though the EC asked all aspirants to declare their assets, Akufo-Addo did not present any such document since he considered it not a prerequisite for a candidate but a preserve for those in public office.
But being the first to submit his nomination forms, the NPP presidential candidate said he was sure of victory come December 7 when Ghanaians go to the polls to elect a president and 275 Members of Parliament (MPs).
“Since I’m the first to file my forms, by God’s grace, I will be the first person you’ll declare winner…” were his exact words to Madam Charlotte Osei before he left the EC headquarters.
The EC also declined all other cheques from other aspirants to avoid being cited for contempt.
Just as he was filing out of the EC’s conference room where the event was being held, Akwasi Addai popularly known as Odike of the United Progressive Party (UPP), entered with his running mate, Brogya Mensah, to file their nomination forms.
After them came Odike’s bitterest rival and former party Chairman with whom he parted ways under rancorous circumstance, Nana Agyenim Boateng, famously known as Gyataba, who now prides himself as the leader of the United Front Party (UFP). He came with a man many thought was part of the media men present, considering his dressing, one David Essie Bunya.
It later turned out that Bunya was Odike’s chosen running mate with whom he is going into the 2016 general election and hopes to be his vice president, should a miracle happen for him to become president.
Soon afterwards, representatives of Hassan Ayariga’s All People’s Congress (APC), led by his running mate, Emmanuel Carl Bartels and General Secretary, Razak Kwadwo Poku showed up to file their nominations.
Not long thereafter, Kofi Akpaloo of the Independent People’s Party (IPP) also arrived to go through the process, but came without a cheque because he is in support of the court action against the outrageous filing fees.
By that time, it was almost noon and so the EC officials had to take a two-hour break to return sometime around 2pm.
Then came Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur who is the running mate of incumbent President John Dramani Mahama (the presidential candidate of the ruling National Democratic Congress).
He was in the company of party chieftains, including General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, noted for his sarcasm; his Deputy, Koku Anyidoho, also known for throwing tantrums; the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo popularly called Lion; Director of Elections, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and a host of others.
After submitting the forms, the vice president and his team proceeded to address party foot soldiers who had gathered at the EC headquarters, to shore up support, assuring them of their (party gurus’) confidence in winning the upcoming elections.
Later came former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and leaders of her National Democratic Party (NDP).
Unlike the 2012 elections where she was disqualified from contesting, she was confident of sailing through this time around with the hope of becoming the next president.
Mrs. Rawlings filed her nomination forms on the ticket of the National Democratic Party (NDP), a breakaway political party from the governing NDC.
Her filing makes it nine presidential candidates who have officially declared their intention to contest in the 2016 polls.
But Konadu, after filing her nomination, told journalists that she had no problem completing the forms but bemoaned the proposed GH?50,000.00 filing fee being charged by the EC.
“If there is anybody in Ghana who is not surprised about the proposed fee being charged, it is only those who have got a lot of money or stolen a lot of money. The important thing is we want to run a democracy – a democracy doesn’t mean monetocracy.”
“Somebody doesn’t have the money and has the ability to lead their people and you are saying they don’t have the money so they shouldn’t make an attempt? I think it wouldn’t be fair.”
“So, our position is very straight – the fee is way overboard and at the same time it shows that our monetary system in Ghana today has jumped from a thousand to ten thousand. It means that our economy is going down,” she exclaimed.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu