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Friday, January 29, 2010

NPP Congress In Limbo

THE POSSIBILITY of the Ashanti Regional branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) holding its regional delegates’ congress at the Cultural Centre in Kumasi today has once again hit the rocks.

Npp Facepaint

This follows the refusal of a Kumasi High Court 2 to strike out an interlocutory injunction order sought on the congress by Nana Adu Asabere, former Asante Akim North NPP constituency chairman.

On Wednesday, December 23, 2009, Nana Adu Asabere sought an order of interlocutory injunction from the court restraining the national and regional executives of the party from holding the regional delegates’ congress.

His beef at the time was that 14 constituencies in the region were yet to organize their constituency elections to select their officers, hence the organization of a regional delegates’ congress would disenfranchise delegates from those constituencies.

Before Nana Asabere’s action, the party’s national secretariat in conjunction with the regional office had fixed the regional congress for Wednesday, December 30.

This was after the initial slated date of Wednesday, November 15, 2009 could not work due to some outstanding court litigations filed by some of the constituency members.

When the case was first called on Monday, January 11, 2010, the court did not strike out the order but instead extended its duration and adjourned the case to Wednesday, January, 27, 2010.

At that sitting, counsel for the plaintiff, Owusu Sekyere, prayed the court to extend the duration of the order because eight more constituencies were yet to hold their elections.

This was after counsel for the defendants, Sir Dennis Agyei, had pleaded with the court to lift the injunction to enable the defendants organize the regional congress.

The extension of the order again destroyed the plan of the party as it was hoping to organize the congress on Tuesday, January, 19, 2010, to pave way for the national delegates’ congress to be held.

For now, all regions apart from the Ashanti Region have conducted their regional delegates’ congresses to elect officers to oversee the running of the party for the next four years.

Nursing the hope that the court would strike out the injunction order at the sitting yesterday, the National Council, which is the second highest decision-making body of the party, at its meeting in Accra last Friday fixed the much-awaited congress for today.

But this plan was shattered yesterday when the court presided over by Justice Jacob Boon failed to strike out the injunction order which was sought on Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

Determined to convince Justice Boon to strike out the injunction order, Mr. Agyei told the court that all constituencies in the region except one have conducted their elections.

Still trying to persuade the court to lift the injunction order, the Ashanti Regional President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) drew the court’s attention to the fact that Article 7 of the party’s constitution stipulates that the party can hold a regional congress when one third of the delegates are confirmed.

Contending that the plaintiff’s action had become mute with respect to time, Mr. Agyei pleaded with the court to consider the supreme interest of the party, not individuals, and therefore lift the injunction to enable the party hold its congress.

He contended that the party is working according to a schedule; therefore, the continuous postponement of the regional congress due to the injunction was throwing the party’s plans out of gear.

Mr. Agyei stressed that the constant adjournment of the Ashanti regional congress is creating untold inconveniences for the party because it was likely to affect the party’s scheduled national delegates’ congress.

Taking his turn to address the court, the counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Owusu Sekyere, prayed the court not to lift the injunction, arguing that the concerns of his client are still relevant.

He explained that once there is still a constituency which is yet to hold its elections; it would not be fair for the party to conduct the congress because delegates from that constituency would be disenfranchised.

Mr. Sekyere rebutted Mr. Agyei’s contention that Article 7 of the party’s constitution gives authorization for a regional congress to be held when one third of delegates are confirmed.

Quoting Article 7 section 13 of the party’s constitution which stipulates the membership of the party’s delegates, the young lawyer said the mention of constituency executives is paramount and therefore should not be overlooked.

Mr. Sekyere argued that once the membership of the constituency executives was not complete due to the absence of the Asokwa Constituency, which is yet to elect its executives, the holding of the congress would be a breach of the party’s constitution.

After listening to the pros and cons of the arguments put forward by both learned counsels, Justice Boon decided that he needs time to study the arguments so as to make an informed judgment on the matter. He therefore adjourned sitting to Friday, January 29, 2010.

Though Peter Mac Manu, the National Chairman of the party, humbly appealed to Justice Boon to lift the injunction to enable the congress to be held because a postponement would derail the party’s plan, the judge did not budge.

Unable to do anything about the judgment, Mr. Mac Manu, who was accompanied by party gurus like Hon. Dr Anthony Osei Akoto, Hon. Elizabeth Agyeman, Hon. Kofi Jumah, Mr. Yaw Amankwaah and others, left the court room dejected.

Meanwhile, the same court earlier on struck out an interlocutory injunction order which restrained the Asokwa Constituency from holding its elections.

With this development the Asokwa Constituency may quickly hold its constituency elections before Friday to ensure that the court will strike out the injunction to enable the congress to take place.

At the close of nominations twenty-four candidates had filed their applications papers to contest 9 executives positions in the region, including chairman, 1st and 2nd vice, secretary, vice secretary, organizer, youth organizer, women’s’ organizer and treasurer.

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