Sierra Leone opposition demands scrapping of new nomination feesBy KEMO CHAM in Freetown | Monday, August 6 2012 at 17:42
Opposition parties in Sierra Leone have called on the National Electoral Commission to reverse a controversial decision increasing nomination fees for parliamentary and local government candidates.
The main opposition Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP, in a joint statement with the People Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), urged the electoral body to scrap the proposed fees and revert to the normal fees under the 2002 elections law.
The 2012 Public Elections Actions imposes hefty fees on political hopefuls in the November polls. The new law requires presidential candidates to pay $23,000 up from $230 while parliamentary candidates will pay $5,700 up from $23.
Nomination fees for councillors and mayors also went up.
The opposition parties described the new nomination fees as “unconscionable and exorbitant” and said that the increment did not reflect to “the present deplorable state of our economy and the grinding poverty that is apparent throughout the country.”
The ruling party All Peoples Congress (APC) openly supports the new fees prompting the opposition to question the independence of the electoral body.
The opposition says the move is part of the ruling party’s ‘ploys’ to stifle competition in the forthcoming polls in November.
The chairman of the electoral body, Dr Christiana Thorpe, defended the new nomination fees saying the costs of running elections have gone up.
But the opposition parties claimed other countries in the region do not charge such high fees as proposed by the electoral body.
They also urged the international community to exert pressure on the government and NEC to reconsider the decision.
Sources indicate that the electoral body will move to get parliamentary approval for its proposed nomination fees.
The ruling party’s parliamentary majority may see the proposal sail through.
- Why Obama is visiting Tanzania
- Another politician for the Kenya Cabinet
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Kisumu, where some folks are eating well, while others are going hungry
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- Ethiopia's anti-female cut crusader honoured
- Achebe’s body arrives home
- After Berlin Man, two reported cured of HIV in Kenya
- Eritrea's Afeworki: reviled and revered ex-rebel
Beyond the ballot