Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui
2 August 2012
Even the APC propaganda mouth-piece – For-Di-People newspaper has called it a bombshell and that’s what it is. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has announced a series of candidature fees for the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
The figures for Members of Parliament and especially for local government councillors are simply staggering.
Has the commission based its figures on the fact of the SLPP having charged their flag bearer aspirants fifty million Leones each?
Is there any logic in applying a mathematical formula of a party organization to a national agenda?
While even incumbent Members of Parliament who are on appreciable salaries and allowances may find the figures unreasonably high, it is worse for would-be aspirants who may be simple school teachers, party activists, retired civil servants or local officials who are already hard hit by the failed Ernest Koroma economic policies.
What is even more disappointing is that such a huge amount must be paid to the NEC within the next five weeks or less.
Would the man in the village who would like to serve his community local affairs as opposed to Parliament and who has their support, have to give up because he cannot raise the required Two million Leones?
Surely madam chairman of NEC and commissioners, this is a recipe for corruption.
We are at this moment reeling from the scandal of the aftermath of borrowed money for the last Presidential run-off election, and now the door is being opened for more of the same.
And by the way, who knows how much else may have been borrowed for the election itself?
Of course all that I have written so far applies to opposition candidates only, with the exception of the UDM, which to all intents and purposes is in the same boat as the ruling APC.
The five million United States dollars that have been promised by African Minerals Ltd., alone for the re-election coffers of the President and his party, should not give them any sleepless nights, as it would the others.
The monies from Mark Heiligman and Dave Kloeber may be more than enough for the party to pay for all their intending local government candidates, including chairmen and mayors.
Considering how money was splashed around during past elections and what is being thrown around now, leaves no one in doubt that the APC and their leadership must be filthy rich.
The same cannot be said of the SLPP, PDP, PMDC, UDA, UNPP, RUFP, and others, who must now be scratching their heads over the NEC levy.
It was always the boast of the APC that they had 99 ways to win elections, and we’ve been witness to some of the methods, which had included violence, thuggery, coercion, intimidation, indirect bribery and influence peddling – to name but a few.
The question now is whether NEC is deliberately or otherwise in collusion with the ruling party to exclude the prospects of a strong opposition to the APC next November.
The NEC chairman has given reasons, mainly the high cost of running the election for the exorbitant candidature fees, which the commission is demanding.
But has it occurred to them that by increasing the fee from a mere Two hundred and fifty thousand Leones to Twenty-five million Leones is a TWO THOUSAND PERCENT increase?
And have they given any thought that by this action they may well be stifling the democratic process?
I am pleased that representative Members of Parliament of the three opposition parties have expressed their strong disapproval. But how long will the solidarity last, considering the rich resources of the APC, as already mentioned?
In the interest of true democracy, this increase must be scrapped and substituted by a more realistic one, a figure that is consistent with the present economic environment and earning capacity of the average worker.
This must not be one of those cases where Ms. Thorpe digs her heel in to say that the lady is not for a U-turn. “TEM TRONG EN TIN TRANGA.”
Today’s quotation: “Journalists say a thing that they know is not true in the hope that if they say it long enough it will be true.” Does this not apply to some of our slanderous journalists and publishers?