One of the 13 flagbearer hopefuls of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Stephen Atubiga has said he is amazed that his party has fixed GhC400,000 as the cost of filing of nomination to lead the party.
According to him, any of the flagbearer hopefuls who are able to afford that amount of money as a prerequisite for contesting the election must be arrested by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).
He was speaking on Accra-based Accra FM yesterday afternoon, following the announcement of the fees.
“Any politician who will claim that he paid the amount of money (GHC 400,000) must be arrested, EOCO must arrest that politician, where did that person get that amount of money?” he asked.
In a related development, Prof Ransford Van Gyampo has justified the cost saying it a way of weeding out “the jokers” in the contest.
To lead a party and a country is no child’s play. To govern a country is too serious a business to be left in the hands of only those who are popular.
2. One should have demonstrated a certain track record of being able to stand on his feet financially while possessing the needed contacts and capacity to raise funds. My mentor and teacher, Professor Mike Oquaye who is the current Speaker of Parliament of the Republic has always held this view and he taught me this.
3. We’ve had several instances in our political history when people who have no experience, track record and who haven’t had any feel of managing anything before, not even running a home before, stood for elections and won simply because they were popular.
4. Anywhere democracy has delivered on the bread and butter issues of the people, elections to the position of flagbearership have not depended only on popularity. Voters in such countries have also subjected aspirants to thorough scrutiny with regards to their track record in life, competence and experience. Democracy anywhere in the world isn’t an open sesame; it has some restrictions.
5. If u cannot raise funds to finance your ambition to lead a party, then u are not that serious to lead a whole country. This is because it is part of governance to have the needed contacts to be able to raise funds to run a country. As coming events cast their shadows, ones ability to raise funds to fund his flagbearership contest may also be indicative of his ability to raise money for the nation as a whole.
6. The days when people tried to joke by seeking to contest flagbearership because they thought they were popular are gone. Popularity doesn’t show competence. But being able to demonstrate to all that u are either well to do already or at least have the capacity to raise funds to finance your own flagbearership ambition is a form of pointer that one can assist in generating resources for the nation as a whole, should he become President.
7. A flag bearer aspirant must be able to convince others to support his ambition in the hope that his leadership will transform the lives of all. Such supporters should only expect that the flag bearer, upon his election, will govern well for all to benefit. Such financiers should not aim at contracts and ministerial appointments. Those who helped Barack Obama with their resources to become President did do not do so because they expected to win contracts or be part of his government. This is the way to go.
8. The 420,000 fee for flag bearer aspirants is fair. It is punitive and deterrent to jokers and those who think they are popular and want to add more popularity to their fame. Let only those who mean business go near the race.
9. I must clarify that this is not in anyway suggestive that democracy is for sake only to those who have money. I am not saying that those who aren’t popular but have the resources must be the ones to be voted for. I am advocating for a blend between popularity and fund-raising abilities. In this regard, the one to be voted for, must be popular and must also have the competence, experience, track record and ability to raise funds to finance his own ambition.
10. This is my view and I expect only those who can read and understand all portions of it to comment about it. Helping to finance one’s flagbearership bid must not necessarily grant one a qualification to win contracts or be part of the government.
11. My friends in the media, no sensational headline to this, please.
12. NDC people, over to you and good luck in the defense of your hefty flagbearership fee.