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19.04.2007 General News

NPP bags ¢4 billion from aspirants

By myjoyonline

The ruling New Patriotic Party is set to bag a whopping ¢4 billion from its array of presidential hopefuls when it opens nominations in September 2007.

Speculations were rife that the party had settled on half a billion cedis as the filing fee for the December Presidential primaries, a development described by many who opposed the idea as a figment of somebody's imagination.

Deep throat sources at the party's headquarters told Daily Guide that the ¢500m filing fee recently suggested was not only outrageous but unrealistic as well, hinting that presidential aspirants would cough up nothing more than ¢200m each.

A party insider told Daily Guide the ¢100m President John Agyekum Kufuor paid in 2004 as filing fee when he was the sole candidate, could be doubled for the NPP presidential hopefuls.

Some of the aspirants, whose filing fees could help the party realise the staggering sum include Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama; Daniel Kweku Botwe, former Information Minister and one time General Secretary of the party; Yaw Osafo Maafo, former Minister for Finance and later of Education; Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, CEO of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital; Boakye Agyarko, immediate past vice president of the Bank of New York; Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, former press secretary to the President; Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, former Deputy Minister of the Interior; Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations; and Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, former Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD.

Also in the race are, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Foreign Affairs Minister; Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry; 'Osiadan' Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing; Prof Mike Oquaye, Minister of Communications; Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of Education, Science and Sports; Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Minister of Defence, and Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy, a medical practitioner.

The list is however expected to grow taller by September this year.

Party sources gave the assurance that a decision would be taken by the National Executive Council, the second-highest decision-making body of the party, soon.

They noted also that even though the presidential primaries would take place in December this year, no specific date had yet been set.

It would be recalled that Mr. Appiah Menka, a member of the NPP Council of Elders, and a few influential members of the party, were reported to have suggested that one sure way of discouraging many of the aspirants was to peg the filing fee at a high level.

According to the report, the octogenarian was irritated by the list of NPP members who had expressed interest in leading the party in next year's general election and called for a dramatic slash in the number to bring sanity into the party.

To him, becoming the president was not the only means by which members could serve the party and nation.

However, this idea was frowned upon by a number of aspirants, who claimed that even though they had the capacity to pay the ¢500 million, Appiah Menka's suggestion could put the party in a bad light.

Mr. Daniel Botwe, until recently the Chairman of the Research and Strategy Committee, was among the first aspirants to condemn the idea, saying the party was not for sale.

Mr. Peter Mac Manu, National Chairman, however remained silent on whether money could be used to bar some of the aspirants.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) made ¢400m from a similar exercise last year when it charged ¢100m from each of its four contestants.

Credit: Daily Guide