…Scrubs Electoral College
By Gifty Arthur
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), has adopted a proposal by the Functional Executive Committee (FEC) to abolish the party’s Electoral College, ahead of it impending presidential and parliamentary primaries slated later this year.
At a press conference organized yesterday after the NEC meeting, the party pegged the presidential filing fees at GHC50, 000, while filing fees for male parliamentary candidate was agreed at GHC10, 000. Women and disabled parliamentary aspirants, will also pay GHC5, 000.
Presidential and parliamentary nomination, would be opened on August 27 and close on September 10, 2015. According to the party, the presidential and parliamentary election, would be held on November7, 2015.
Earlier on Monday, the General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, at the launch of the Greater Accra Region biometric registration card exercise, had hinted of the now confirmed decision saying “It is likely that this year, we would deplore the use of the biometric card to select our
members of parliament or our candidate for the presidential.
We are trying [and] if by Thursday, the National Executive Committee (NEC) takes a decision that agrees with the proposal by the national secretariat of the party, then we are likely to have a situation where members of the party, will cast their votes in the various constituencies to choose our candidates.
So we would abolish the Electoral College so that when we announce the date of voting, you get up as a party member, approach any of the polling stations, by the time you get there, the place would be set for voting, you would be given the presidential ballot to go and vote for your choice of presidential candidate and you would be marked.
The exercise first of its kind in Africa, aside South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, launched nationally last year by leader of the party President, John Dramani Mahama, is looking forward to register some 1.5 million members nationwide, Mr. Asiedu Nketia said , while launching the programme.
He mentioned that, already in regions such as Volta, Northern, Brong Ahafo, Western, Upper East and Upper West, the party, has registered a total number of seven hundred and fifteen thousand (715, 000) members biometrically.
General Mosquito, gave the break down as follows, Volta Region, 200, 000; Northern Region, 150, 000; Brong Ahafo Region, 110 000; Western 100, 000; Eastern Region, 80,000, Upper East 45, 000 and Upper West 3, 000.
The NDC’s scribe was quick to mention that, the 1.5 million registered members the party was targeting, did not amount to the voter population of NDC nationally.
He outlined some benefits of the exercise as an avenue for the party to know it members in order to plan and manage the party in an acceptable and properly manage for the benefit of all members.
In the past he said, many conflicts especially, during primaries had risen as a result of doubts of a person’s candidature which sometimes bothered on their membership status.
He said, this sometimes if not properly looked into results in the aggrieved persons leaving the party with executives and standing as independent candidate which goes to hurt the party during general elections.
According to Mr. Asiedu Nketia, the registration which comes with various benefits, would help the party know the growing or declining nature of the party adding that, the exercise if properly executed, would automatically solve 60 percent of conflicts.
“When you take a look at grievances and conflicts that come, around 60 percent of all those conflicts hover around who a real member is, and what the status of a particular member is, if they wanted to take advantage of opportunities within the party.
You cannot run an organization without knowing the number of members you have in that organization, so it is a basic requirement of any management situation that, if you are in charge of any organization, you have to know how big or how small, the organization is to be able to monitor the growth or decline in membership of that organization”, he said.
Vice-Chairman of the NDC and one-time Eastern Regional Minster, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, before explaining to the executives, functions and features of the new party card, pleaded with members to respect the structures of the party, when conflict or misunderstanding arises.
“We must always try and exhaust all the structures before…..if we do not use these lay down regulations, we undermine the authority of the party at all levels. Each party process and discipline must be adhered to at all times”.
His comment, comments come on the heels of a fracas in the NDC at Mpreaso Constituency in the Eastern Region, where some executives were arrested recently following a brawl with the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the area, given doubts to the party’s agenda to halve votes in that region with rest of the opposition parties in the 2016 general elections.
On the usefulness of the new card, the former Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister and Chairman of the Biometric Registration Committee said, “our biometric card we are using now is a highly sophisticated.
In fact, if you subject it to ultra-violet race, you will see serious features such that no one can duplicate it. This one, we have done it in such a way that, you can’t outwit the system. It is a very special card”. He added “this time, the concept of power to the people has come and we have given the power to the people”.
Aside the various Constituency executives who attended the launch, there were Members of Parliament (MPs) including, Madina legislator, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, Ashaiman, Alfred Agbeshi; Ningo Prampram, Enoch Teye Mensah; La Dadekotopon, Nii Amasah Namoali, Ledzokuku, Benita Sena Okitty Duah.
Others were, ex-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah; National Organizer, Kofi Adams, Greater Accra Chairman, Joseph Kobina Ade Coker. Members who had registered were given their cards.