Some political parties, candidates, and concerned stakeholders have been taken aback by the amount of money quoted by the Electoral Commission as the filing fee for the upcoming polls.
To many, the hundred percent increment in the fee from the previous election (2016) is but a systemic approach to sell leadership to the highest bidder. Others also believe this is a way to inculcate and justify corruption in government.
However, over the past two decades, there has been a consistent increment in the filing fee for both presidential and parliamentary aspirants under the various administrations.
From GH¢500 for presidential aspirants in the 90’s to GH¢100,000 in 2020; GhanaWeb in this article brings its readers how the filing fee has evolved since 1992.
1992 general elections
The Electoral Commission headed by Justice Josiah Ofori Boateng in 1992 pegged the filing fee for both presidential and parliamentary candidates at GH¢500 and GH¢200 respectively.
During this period, the parties which were interested in fielding candidates included; NDC, NPP, PNC, NIP, and PHP. The presidential aspirants for the parties were; Jerry John Rawlings, Albert Adu Boahen, Hilla Limann, Kwabena Darko, and Emmanuel Erskine, respectively.
The Electoral Commission within this period was headed by Justice Josiah Ofori Boateng.
1996 general elections
During the 1996 general elections, the amount for the filing fees remained largely unchanged. Filing fees for presidential aspirants were still pegged at GH¢500 while parliamentary aspirants paid GH¢200.
The Electoral Commission, in this period, had come under the supervision of the Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.
Some of the contesting parties in this period included; NDC/Progressive Alliance led by Jerry John Rawlings, NPP/the Great Alliance also led by John Agyekum Kufuor, and the PNC, led by Edward Mahama.
2000 – 2004 general elections
For a long time running, the filing fees remained unchanged and this period did not see its increment as well.
As a matter of fact, the Kwadwo Afari-Gyan-led Electoral Commission decided to forgo any possible increment, maintaining the prices at GH¢500 for presidential and GH¢200 for parliamentary aspirants.
Some of the contesting parties in the 2000 and 2004 elections included; NPP, NDC, PNC, CPP, PCP, and NRP. And some of the presidential aspirants were; John Evans Atta Mills, John Agyekum Kufuor, George Hagan, Goosie Tanoh, Charles Wireko-Brobbey, Edward Mahama, and George Aggudey.
2008 general elections
However, the long run of an unchanged filing fee was brought to an end in the period leading to the 2008 general elections.
At this point, the Electoral Commission still headed by Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced a rather sharp and unexpected increment in the amount to be paid by presidential aspirants.
The presidential filing fee was pegged at GH¢5,000 and parliamentary at GH¢500. This was during the period the Ghana cedi had been redenominated.
In this election, however, seven parties managed to field aspirants. They included the NDC led by John Atta Mills, NPP led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, PNC led by Edward Mahama, CPP, led by Papa Kwesi Nduom, DPP, DFP, and RDP.
2012 general elections
In the 2012 general elections, the cost of filing fee was slightly increased and the commission still remained under the leadership of Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.
The presidential filing fee was now GH¢10,000 and parliamentary at GH¢1,000.
Eight political parties managed to sail through to contest the presidency and some parliamentary seats.
These parties were, NDC, NPP, GCPP, PPP, UFP, PNC, CPP, and an Independent candidate.
2016 general election
In this period, the leadership of the Electoral Commission changed and for the first time in the country’s history, a woman was appointed as the Chairperson of the Commission.
Charlotte Osei, shortly after her appointment announced a sharp increment to the filing fees for political parties and their aspirants.
Political parties and aspirants were expected to cough up GH¢50,000 and GH¢10,000 for presidential and parliamentary aspirants, respectively. This became a major bone of contention for many stakeholders as the PPP which was then led by Papa Kwesi Nduom sued the Electoral Commission for the unjustifiable hike in the fee.
However, that did not stop seven parties from contesting. These parties were once again, the NPP and NDC, CPP, NDP, PPP, PNC, and an Independent candidate.
2020 general elections
Though this election is yet to be conducted, the Electoral Commission as part of its ritual has announced fees for aspirants and parties to pay in order to seal their participation.
But the 100 percent increment has been described as a sale of leadership to the highest bidder.
Under the authority of the Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, parties interested in the race is to make a bank draft deposit of GH¢100,000 for presidential aspirants and GH¢10,000 for parliamentary candidates.
Of course, this has received major backlash from several stakeholders but the EC insists that filing will commence from October 5 to October 9, 2020. As justification, the EC has said the depreciation of the country’s currency over the years is to blame for the sharp increment.