Saturday, June 21, 2014

NPP enters appearance in legal tussle

Lawyers for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have entered appearance barely 48 hours after a senior member of the party filed a suit challenging the locus of the National Council (NC).
A senior member of the party, Mr David Hoezame, on June 17, 2014, filed the suit challenging the status of the party’s National Council as presently constituted.
Joined to the suit is the party’s National Chairman, Mr Paul Afoko.
The plaintiff has since filed a motion for interim injunction praying the court to restrain the defendants from taking any further action on behalf of the party until the final determination of the suit.
Hearing of the motion on notice for interim injunction will be heard on July 3, 2014.
The motion for interim injunction is specifically praying the Accra High Court to restrain the NPP from going ahead to conduct elections for the selection of a presidential candidate until the final determination of the suit.
Counsel for the NPP, Mr Ayikoi Otoo, entered appearance on behalf of the NPP.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, Mr Otoo indicated that the party had 14 days within which to file its defence.
Two approaches being adopted
Mr Otoo, who is also the Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the NPP, said he was adopting two approaches to resolve the issue.
The first, he explained, had to do with adhering to the court process while the second strategy would be to call for a meeting of the National Steering Committee and the NEC of the party.
Counsel noted that the issue had political implications for the party because there was the need for the party to adhere to its timelines of electing a flag bearer.
‘We have to elect a flag bearer and if the matter drags on – it can affect us,” Mr Otoo noted, and accordingly expressed the hope that the issues would be resolved in no time.
Follow due procedure
The plaintiff is praying the court to compel the NPP to follow the procedure outlined in its constitution by recomposing its NC.
Mr Hoezame is pleading with the court to declare the NC ’s December 6 as the date for the election of the presidential candidate as null and void.
He is also seeking an order directed at the defendants to restore the constitution of the party to its original state, duly and properly set up the NC  in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, as well as grant an order restraining Mr Afoko from further breaching the party’s constitution.
Mr Hoezame, who described himself as a fully paid-up, card-bearing member of the NPP from 1992 up to date, claimed that the Afoko-led executive had breached the NPP constitution by purporting to call for and taking part in deliberations of the NC without reconstituting it after they were elected into office in April 2014.
He said as a constituency chairman of the NPP and aspiring to be elected to serve on the NC of the party, he had waited in vain for the notice of the poll to enable him to put himself up for election to be elected a regional representative on the NC.
However, he was informed that a meeting had been held by a body purporting to be the party’s NC and insisted that it was in breach of the NPP constitution, thereby jeopardising his determination to contest the election.
According to the plaintiff, Mr Afoko, in concert with other officers of the party, had called for an NC meeting on June 19, 2014 to, among other issues, take a decision on the organisation of an election to choose the presidential candidate for the 2016 general election.
“As of the date hereof, the party has no National Council, since there has not been any process, in accordance with Article 7 (15) (iv), to elect regional representatives to serve on the National Council of the party,” the plaintiff noted in his sworn affidavit.
He stated that even though the NC was not in place, the party had gone forward to fix a meeting on June 19 to “meet with certain individuals to take concrete decisions on the organisation and conduct of the said election of the presidential candidate”.
Mr Hoezame, however, stated in his writ that the constitution of the party spelt out clearly that decisions on the organisation of an election of a presidential candidate must be taken by the National Council of the party and not “certain individuals”.
According to the applicant, Article 9 (B) (2) of the party’s constitution expressly provided for the membership of the NC, which included regional representatives, with the mandate to direct the affairs of the party.

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