If You Can’t Raise 100, 000 Ghana Cedis You Have No Business Being President

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Democracy is an expensive enterprise, it requires those who seek to lead to have the ability and capacity to mobilize, not only money, but human resources, as well.

In Ghana, we have become a country of talkers, we criticize everything for as long as it does not inure to our benefit.

We have something to say about everything, we question every decision, as though we will do better than those taking the decision.

The Electoral Commission on Monday stirred the honest nest and got us talking again, when it announced the filing fees for presidential and parliamentary aspirants for this year's election.

The Electoral Commission disclosed that Presidential Candidates in the upcoming elections, will pay a filing fee of GH¢100,000, while Parliamentary candidates pay GH¢10,000.

Expectedly and in keeping with out talkative attitude, no sooner had the press conference come to a close than some political parties and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), predictably went to town, questioning the basis on which the EC arrived at the figure, especially the one that had to do with the presidential candidate.

When in 1992 at a referendum, Ghana accepted to return to democratic rule, we imposed upon ourselves a system of government that is very expensive to run.

Elections are serious affairs the world over and present economic and social challenges, even in more advanced societies, have made it imperative that anyone seeking for the highest office of the land, must be in a position to mobilize resources, both financial, material.

Ghana has come a long way in its democratic journey, ours is no longer a nascent democracy, but well established and celebrated worldwide and seen as shining example for Africa. We have gotten to a point where, we have to separate the wheat from the chaff.

We have too many political parties, which only find life, when election approaches. They are dead not only on paper, but on the ground, they cannot only boast of an office in any constituency or district, except some makeshift offices, they call headquarters.

A democracy is as strong as the political representation, in the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom, which among the advanced democracies, have only two political parties.

Multiplicity or avalanche of political parties, does not in any way signify a strong democracy, the fragmented political parties and lately independent candidates we have only shows how unserious we are as a country.

The agenda of these parties to a large extent is to court the attention and support of the two main political parties.

Whatever the arguments and the objection by political parties and some Civil Society Organizations, it cannot in anyway vitiate the reasons advanced by the election management body for the filing fee.

We cannot for whatever reasons look back as far as the democratic journey is concerned. We have come a long way and we can only get better, when the game is left for individuals, who are serious about contributing their quota in the development agenda is concerned.

Truth be told, we like behaving like ostriches, because everyone wants his or her voice to be heard. How much will it cost for any presidential candidate to tour one region, let alone the now 16 regions, charging Gh¢100,000, is a chicken change, compared to how much one needs to prosecute a campaign.

The EC, should have pegged the filing fee at Gh¢200,000, we have to eliminate the jokers from the space and allow for serious contenders to come forward.

Whatever ideas any of the political parties has, will only remain an idea, no matter how laudable it is, because if the 2016 presidential election, has taught us anything, it is that elections in this country is a two horse race, between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, who stood on the ticket of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), in the run up to the election, came across as a threat, and could possibly push the election to a run-off.

Dr. Nduom pulled some of the biggest crowds and had clear cut messages, but when the chips finally came down, he garnered less than one percent of the valid votes. So even when the filing fees is reduced to Gh¢2000, the only change we will witness, will be the number of political parties and independent candidates filing to contest, the eventual outcome, will still be the same.

The National Democratic Congress in December 2018, pegged it filing fee for the presidential election at 300,000 cedis, this was after protest by the aspirants that the initial 400, 000, was too much.

Despite the hue and cry, aspirants who were of the view that, being a president is a serious business, went ahead to pay and contested, although it ended in tears for them, as former president John Dramani Mahama, garnered over 95 percent of the votes cast.

If a political party, citing finance, as one of the reasons, although I know that, the reason was to prune down the number of contestants, could charge so much, how much a whole election management body of the country.

The hypocrisy is too much in this country, the vicious cycle of the Animal Kingdom playing out in the country, depending on which political party is in power must change.

I will conclude with a saying Akan that goes like, when an animal is trapped, it cry is different, when it is released it cry, is also different.

Politicians should learn to be principle.

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Source: By Abdul Razak Bawa/www.theheraldghana.com