NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia has said the ¢420,000 the party is charging flagbearer aspirants is part of the cost of democracy.
He said the fee is one of the ways of raising funds to pay for the presidential primaries in January 2019 which is expected to cost ¢8m.
Breaking down the cost, he said on Joy News analysis program The Pulse Friday, the party is paying for the transportation of delegates to all 275 constituency centers as well as food. Both cost items are about ¢4m.
The printing of ballot papers with all the candidates which could reach 10 is also to be borne by the party as well as paying the Electoral Commission to supervise the most participatory presidential primaries ever in Ghana’s history, he said.
Complaints have been echoed by two presidential aspirants – Prof. Joshua Alabi whose spokesperson Richard Quarshigah has said the filing and nomination fees are “mind-boggling”.
Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has also said a social democratic party cannot be seen to be charging an arm and a leg from presidential hopefuls.
He said aspirants for National Executives positions like the chairman paid ¢10,000 to file nomination papers while the fee for the General Secretary position was ¢8,000.
But Asiedu Nketia has suggested there is a vast difference between a party General Secretary and a party’s presidential candidate.
He suggested if some in the party or not ready to appreciate the cost of democracy, they can push for a return to appointing presidential candidate.
“The shortest, cheapest means of getting a flagbearer is for us to go and appeal to our founder and say look, these are the aspirants. Look at all of us and make a choice as to who leads the party.
“Nobody will spend one cedis”, he told host Gifty Andoh Appiah.
He was referring to the handpicking of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills as the 2000 NDC flagbearer, a move by then-President Jerry Rawlings which caused disaffection in some quarters of the party.
It is believed to have triggered the formation of a breakaway party, the National Reform Party led by Goosie Tanoh who is now back with the NDC.
The party has since that controversial incident moved on to allow electoral colleges.
“We all said we didn’t like that type of declaration so everybody must participate…that comes with a cost”, he said.
He said all the stakeholders in the party including the Council of Elders and the National Executive Committee are shouldering part of the cost of the presidential primaries.