The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Djan, has dismissed concerns by some presidential aspirants and other people that the ¢20 million deposit for the filing of nominations to contest the presidential election was too high.
He said the figure was not imposed on the political parties by the commission, explaining that it was decided by consensus at an Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting at which all the political parties were represented.Dr Afari-Djan was speaking in Accra on Tuesday following concerns that the deposits for the aspirants were too high.
At the national delegates congress of the Democratic People's Party (DPP) in Accra last Saturday, the party's presidential aspirant, Mr T. N. Ward-Brew, described the deposits as an attempt to sideline poor people from participating in running the affairs of the country. The presidential candidate of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Mr Dan Lartey, is said to have expressed a similar concern.
Dr Afari-Djan said the EC duly informed all the political parties in advance before the issue was discussed at the IPAC meeting, which was attended by Mr Ward-Brew and Mr Lartey. He said the commission initially proposed ¢20 million and ¢2 million for the presidential and parliamentary aspirants respectively but after some discussions they settled on ¢20 million for the presidential candidates and ¢500,000 for the parliamentary candidates.
“This is a very serious activity and we must encourage only serious candidates,” the EC boss remarked. He said the commission only collected the deposit on behalf of the state and that the money was paid into the Consolidated Fund.Dr Afari-Djan said in line with electoral regulations, the deposits would be refunded to candidates who obtained 12 and half per cent of the votes and noted that there was nothing to worry about.
He said the problem, however, was the practice where one individual took the responsibility of paying the deposits of other candidates and stressed the need to discourage the practice, adding that “a serious candidate must have support.”