... It's Non-refundable!
The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party, Akenten Appiah-Menka, has given a hint as to how much those seeking to contest for the presidential nomination of the ruling party may be asked to pay before filing their candidature.
He said he sees nothing wrong with the increasing number of aspirants juggling for the Party's 2008 flagbearership, since the party believes and practices the principles of democracy.
However, the industrialist and founding member of the party suggests that such presidential aspirants must be prepared to pay 500 million cedis as the registration fee.
Already, aspirants like Capt (Rtd) Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey and Frimpong Boateng are complaining about the huge financial costs of funding such a political campaign.
It has been estimated that the various aspirants (now at count 13 and counting) would each need approximately 20 billion cedis (about 2 million dollars and beyond) to be able to launch anywhere near an effective bid for the flagbearership of the NPP.
While it may be argued that this could be unhealthy for our politics, the counter argument is that if you cannot raise an amount of half a billion cedis to file your nomination, then how can you convince a whole nation to vote for you as President?
According to Mr Appiah-Menka, such a sizeable registeration fee demand can help to fund the party from the constituency to national level.
"The Party"s coffers are empty and we need funds to sustain its machinery. We therefore have to allow as many candidates as possible to contest the presidential slot.
“I admit that, at the end of the day, just few of them can make it to the congress, but we still need the cash, anyhow,” he said.
He was, however, not happy about rumours that some of the aspirants “were maligning each other and sowing seeds of discontent among the membership,” countrywide.
“We can help curb this dissatisfaction at the grassroots if the registration fee is raised to as high as 500 million cedis because any presidential candidate must be resourceful enough to raise such amount.”
His argument follows that, after all, once elected the money would be used to prepare the candidate and the party for the general elections.
He did not agree that too many aspirants would produce a non-credible and non-popular presidential candidate. “I can vouch that not more than four aspirants can make it to the Party's congress”.
Mr Appiah-Menkah also added his voice for an early congress, which he said should be held not later than March 2007, so that the Party could adequately market its candidate for the 2008 election.
“President Kufuor had four years to campaign to wrestle power from the NDC and we need such period of time to campaign in the next election”, he said, adding “we must therefore, elect our presidential candidate early enough to participate with the President during Ghana's 50th Anniversary celebrations next year”.