By Bampia Bundu
The former National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone’s Peoples Party (SLPP), Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa popularly known as JJ Blood, has said that the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Christiana Thorpe, lied when she told the nation that the prescribed nominations fees for this year’s elections were reflective of sub regional standards.
Talking to AYV in an exclusive interview yesterday at the SLPP headquarters at Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown, Mr. Saffa explained that if the Parliament passed into law these prescribed nomination fees then Sierra Leone would become the country charging the highest fees in the world for elective office.
He also said that it was very unfortunate that Madam Thorpe would chose to lie to the people of this country in order to justify the prohibitive and unacceptable fees her institution has chosen to levy on the poor people of this nation.
Mr. Saffa revealed that from investigations he had personally conducted in the West Africa sub- region nomination fees in Ghana are Cedis 500 (US$300) for Parliamentary and Cedis 5,000 (US$ 3,000) for Presidential contenders; while in the Gambia the nomination fee for Presidential Candidates is Dalasi 10,000 (US$17) for Parliamentary, Mayoral candidates and Chairmen of Local Councils, and Dalasi 3,500(US$117) and for Councilors Dalasi 1,250 (US$ 42).
He also explained that in Liberia the Nomination fee is US$2,500 for Presidential Candidates, US$ 1,500 for Vice Presidential Candidates, US$750 for Senators and US$500 for Members of the House of Representatives; and in Nigeria the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) charges no nomination fees although an internal fee is levied by some political parties.
He also disclosed that outside of West Africa the United Kingdom charges the equivalent of US$750 as nomination fee for Parliamentary candidates while in the Federal United States of America nomination fee for Senators stands at US$3,480 while Congressmen pay a mere US$1,740.
He appealed to the NEC Commissioner to reconsider her decision as politics is not all about money but about giving people the opportunity to be properly represented by those they choose out of free will.