A High Court in Ghana’s capital, Accra, has given the Electoral Commission (EC) the go ahead to charge filing fees of 50,000 Ghana cedis ($12,500) for presidential aspirants in the upcoming polls.
Parliamentary aspirants are also expected to pay 10,000 Ghana cedis ($2,500) as filing fees.
The EC was hauled to court by an opposition party, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) who prayed the court to restrain the EC from charging the said amount.
According to the PPP, the amounts were exorbitant and showed a capricious and arbitrary use of power by the electoral body. Their lawyers argued that the filing fee was not stated anywhere in Ghana’s laws hence the EC’s decision to hike it.
But the EC’s lawyer also argued that the law allowed the EC leave to determine filing fees and that is what the EC did. The presiding judge, Justice Mensah ruled that the PPP’s application had failed and deferred his reasons for striking out the case to a latter date.
The country known for its stable democratic credentials head to the polls in December and the current president and the ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would be facing the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), in a keen contest.
Among the key issues that are being debated strongly are the power crisis in the country which is adversely affecting households and businesses, issue of corruption and also youth employment.
The last elections in 2012 ended up in the country’s Supreme Court after the opposition alleged malpractices, the court’s panel ruled that the president was validly elected but requested the Electoral Commission to undertake massive reforms to make its processes more transparent and credible.