National Democratic Party (NDP) has filed a suit against the Electoral Commission (EC) following the disqualification of its flag bearer, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawling, a former first lady, from contesting in this year’s general election.
The Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), headed by Henry Herbert Lartey, son of the party’s founder, Dan Lartey, is said to have also gone to court over the same issue of disqualification.
It brings to three so far, the number of parties that are suing the EC for rejecting their respective nomination forms of the flag bearers as the December 7 crucial contest beckons. Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has already dragged the EC to court over his disqualification.
Mrs Rawlings, whose husband – former President Jerry John Rawlings – founded the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), wants the court to order the EC to reinstate her as she claims she had been unlawfully prevented from contesting in the election.
The suit, filed yesterday at an Accra High Court, cites the NDP, Nana Konadu –as the flagbearer – and her running mate, Kojo Mensah Sosu, as the plaintiffs while the EC and the Attorney General are the defendants.
The NDP, suing through its lawyers, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, wants a declaration that the reasons for disqualifying the plaintiffs from the December 7 election by the EC is null and void. The commission had said that it was relying on Regulation 7(2) (b) of C1 94 to prevent the flag bearer from the presidential race.
According to the NDP, the man (Salifu Abdulai) who had endorsed Mrs. Rawlings’ nomination forms – the basis for which the EC disqualified her on grounds of double registration – had not been convicted by a court of law per the rules.
“The EC claims that Salifu Abdulai’s name is on their ‘Exclusion List.’ EC should explain to Ghanaians if they registered him in 2012 and then registered him again in 2014, how his name could have been on the Exclusion List instead of being deleted outright from the voters’ register,” the plaintiffs insisted.
On October 11, 2016, the NDP caused its lawyers to write to the EC demanding a reinstatement of its flag bearer, adding that “Our client disagrees with you and states that you have no power to proceed in this manner.”
Lawyer Ace Ankomah, instructed by the NDP to write to the EC, had stated that Regulation 9 of the Public Elections Regulation, 2016 (CI94) demands that the commission ‘shall’ give an affected candidate an opportunity to make amendments and any alterations necessary ‘within the stipulated nomination period.’ He insisted. “You cannot wait several days after statutory period for making the necessary changes has expired, before announcing that you are unable to accept nominations forms presented to and received by you.”
“Clearly a disqualification cannot precede or even run concurrently with a trial, conviction and imprisonment for the offence. Indeed, under Section 44(3) of the Interpretation Act, 2009 (Act 792), not even the date of release from prison should count towards counting the period of the disqualification. Before a person’s name is either entered unto the record under Section 43(1) or deleted from the register under Section 43(1), the EC must have evidence of the conviction and sentence required under Section 27.”
Alhaji Mohammed Frimpong, General Secretary for the NDP who confirmed the filing of the suit against EC, later told DAILY GUIDE that the reason used by the commission to disqualify their flag bearer could not be tangible.
He said, “It was as if they (EC) have been instructed to find faults at all cost and use them against Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings.”
It had not been confirmed as at press time, if the People’s National Convention (PNC) had also filed its suit as threatened by the Chairman, Bernard Mornah, last week.
The EC had also disqualified the party’s standard bearer, Dr. Edward Mahama, from contesting in the election on the grounds that two subscribers to the PNC nominations also subscribed to another presidential candidate, which is against CI 94.
Mr. Mornah told Citi FM last Thursday, “We have just finished completing our affidavit and today (Thursday) morning, we will go and complete the processes. Hopefully at the end of today, we would have submitted the case to the court. We will ask the court to reinstate Dr. Mahama possibly as the next president.”
In the ensuing confusion, the EC has been adamant, calling the bluff of the disqualified flag bearers.
In a response, lawyer for the EC, Thaddeus Sory, has given varied reasons why the commission could not permit the parties’ leaders and said it (commission) found no legal basis why it must rescind its decision because “The statutory provision upon which your letter is grounded does not allow our client such discretion.”
Source: Daily Guide
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