From all indications, the largest opposition political party in the country, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is cash-strapped barely two years after the party was voted out of office by the electorate.
If the recent comments of the national officers of the party are anything to go by, then the NDC is in dire need of financial bailout to organize its programmes.
Even though the GH¢420,000 filing fee announced by the party has been described as outrageous, NDC General-Secretary, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, says that is the surest way to go.
According to him, somebody has to pay the organization of the congress to elect a flagbearer on January 19, 2019.
“The cost of living is high but somebody must pay the cost of running the elections; who is going to pay?” he asked.
It’s not clear how many of the 13 presidential candidates will be able to pay the GH¢400,000 filing fee and GH¢20,000 nomination fee.
But Alban S.K. Bagbin, one of the flagbearer aspirants, described the filling fee as opulent and elitist and called on the party leadership to reverse it because it’s against the tenets of social democracy – the party’s ideology.
However, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia said, “Social democracy is not poverty…I have not declared to be a presidential candidate so those who have declared to be presidential candidates must pay the cost.”
DAILY GUIDE learnt that since the NDC was voted out of office, former President John Mahama has been the sole financier of the party’s programmes, including the recent national delegates’ congress held at the Ghana Trade Fair Centre in Accra to elect the national officers.
But this time round, the former president believes all the people challenging him must bear the cost of organizing the presidential contest, hence the imposition of the excessively high fees on the presidential candidates by the party.
Mr. Mahama is said to have raised the money through some admirers, but the other aspirants are threatening to petition the founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings, and elders of the party for downward review of the fees.
The newly elected National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, also hinted that the NDC is not financially sound presently.
Mr. Gyamfi stated that the NDC would rely heavily on donations by its teeming members across the country to organize the upcoming NDC presidential primaries.
“The NDC executives will be organizing fundraising and other events to solicit money from our party members to help the NDC to organize the presidential primaries,” he told Kumasi-based Nhyira FM.
Even though Sammy Gyamfi did not make an emphatic statement about the financial status, his recent statement on radio clearly shows that the party is not financially sound.
In 2015, whilst in power, the NDC charged its aspirants GH¢50,000 at that time when ex-President John Mahama was the sole candidate.
Thus, the current GH¢420,000 for filing fees and nomination forms represent a GH¢370,000 increase, representing 700 per cent.
According to Sammy Gyamfi, the party members should be ready to assist the party through other donations to ensure successful NDC presidential primaries.
It is significant to note that the NDC was able to construct an expensive and ultra-modern party head office at the cost of $20 million in Accra a few years ago when the party was in political office.
The party cannot also pay electricity bills in the new edifice.
Interestingly, the same political party, which displayed opulence when it was in political office, is now depending on contributions to even organize its primaries.
The National Communications Officer also justified the party’s decision to charge a staggering GH¢420,000 as nomination and filing fees from the NDC presidential aspirants, noting that the party needs money to make the event successful.
He disclosed that “about 400,000 NDC members across the 10 regions of the country and beyond will be voting in all the 275 constituencies on the day and this is a huge number; therefore, we need money to organize it”.