The Electoral Commission (EC) on Tuesday distributed hundreds of copies of “A Guide to Candidates and their Agents,” to political parties contesting the December polls.
The guide is to aid the Political Parties to train their polling agents for Election 2012 as well as aid both Presidential and Parliamentary candidates on the constitutional requirement for contesting for public elections in Ghana.
Presenting copies to the political parties as well as media personnel in Accra, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, E.C. Chairman, explained that in order for any aspirant to officially become a candidate, the person must be dully nominated in accordance with the law.
He explained that for the purposes of election, a potential candidate must obtain and complete four copies of a nomination form but cautioned that “If a nomination form is not properly executed, the Returning Officer will not accept it”.
A nomination form may be rejected based on failure of the candidate to sign the form, not accompanied with a statutory declaration made by the candidate – including a Vice Presidential candidate before a District Magistrate and witnessed by at least one other person. The declaration form is obtainable from the EC.
The candidate is also required to pay the required cash deposit determined by the EC. A signatory to a nomination cannot nominate another candidate for the same election.
The Electoral requirements also mandate that a Presidential Candidate’s nomination forms must be signed by at least two registered voters from each District and a Vice Presidential Candidate must be designated, “the person designated must also satisfy all the requirements for a Presidential Candidate.
In the case of Parliamentary candidate, the law requires that 22 registered voters in the constituency must sign the nomination form.
Responding to questions about the GH¢10,000.00 filing fee for Presidential candidate and GH¢1,000 for Parliamentary Candidates, which some of the parties considered exorbitant, Dr Afari-Gyan said: “The money is a deposit and refunded to any Presidential candidate who obtained 25 per cent of the total valid votes cast in the elections.
“A parliamentary candidate who also obtains 12 per cent valid votes cast in the constituency also receives the deposit in full”.
Mr Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, EC Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations, urged political parties to use the manual to educate their agents to understand the role of polling agents and other electoral officials on duty especially on Election Day.
He also charged the media and other civil society groups to study the manual and use their media platform to educate the public.
Mrs Augustina Akosua Akumanyi, Deputy Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education, explained that the credibility of election hinged on integrity.
The first copy of the guide was presented to the flag bearer of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Madam Akua Donkor, who used the platform to condemn unceasing attacks on Dr Afari-Gyan and the EC.
She questioned why the media and some politicians were silent on the astronomic salary increment for parliamentarians, which is set to increase from GH¢3,000 per month to GH¢7,200 but were challenging the filling fees of the EC for both Presidential and Parliamentary Candidates.
Madam Donkor who spoke in a Ghanaian language also cited the vilification of the Electoral Commission about the creation of 45 new Constituencies, stressing “the EC Chairman and his team are only doing their job in the interest of Ghana.
“Electoral demarcation is a developmental tool and also a process for enhancing elections…You must stop attacking Dr Afari-Gyan and encourage him to do his job”.
The launch which was attended by representatives of political parties, media practitioners, civil society groups and a cross-section of the public was organised by KAB Governance Consult and funded by UKAID.