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General News
No ¢500m Fee, Says Peter Mac Manu 3/13/2007
Whilst NPP presidential hopefuls continue to complain of the proposed ¢500 million filing fee to contest the party''s flagbearer position, the Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party is insistent that the fee will not be that high. Speaking in January to The Statesman, Peter Mac Manu, the National Chairman of the Party, said the party is not likely to charge more than ¢100m in filing fees, and yesterday he reiterated that pledge, telling this newspaper that he stands by what he said.
Although the final decision will not be made by Mr Mac Manu alone, but by the National Executive and the National Council, the opinion of the National Chairman will have considerable influence on that process.

Those clamouring for the presidential ticket of his party should therefore take some respite from their concerns. Dan Botwe, the former Information Minister, was on the front page of the Accra Daily Mail yesterday, complaining about the reported fees. He had told journalists at a press conference in Cape Coast that although the filing fee would help to raise money for the party, it may also send the message that politics, and the NPP, is an elite institution to be entered only by the rich.

Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Chief Executive Officer of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra and another presidential candidate, has also been outspoken in his opposition to the fees, alongside Arthur Kennedy. The figure of ¢500m had been suggested by Appiah Menka, Chairman of the Ashanti Regional NPP Council of Elders, and has since been the subject of some considerable debate.

Mr Menka has consistently argued that the ¢500m amount is reasonable for anybody wishing to lead the NPP because, according to him, for one to become a leader the individual must be resourceful. At least one aspirant was reported to have backed his proposal.

Others are concerned that the ¢500m fee could deter some applicants from standing, and that it sends the wrong message about the party. Election should be based on merit and not finances, they say. But as newspapers and radio stations continue to carry the tired complaints of candidates, both contestants and media houses would do well to remember Mr Mac Manu"s insistence on the ¢100m ceiling.

And J H Mensah, MP for Sunyani East and Senior Minister, has also spoken to The Statesman of the need to place a reasonable limit on the presidential filing fee, saying that the proposed ¢500m is too much. "We need money to build the party, but we don’t look for candidates to build the party for us,” he told this newspaper recently.

Mr Mensah said the NPP has the responsibility to build the party from the contributions from members and utilise those funds to build machinery to support the candidate for national elections. “It is not the job of our candidates to support us, it is our job to support our candidates to get elected,” he added.

According to him, the NPP has machinery in place for discussing and settling matters that affect the party. He frowned at the situation whereby the media is being used to discuss the ceiling of the fees.

Mr Mensah added that the National Executive and the National Council of the party would have to determine the nomination fee for the presidential aspirants saying, “the aspirants have no locus standi to determine the fee.”
The Statesman

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