If NDC NEC exercised its authority, where is their regulation? Martin Amidu quizzes
8/18/2012 10:00:41 PM -
The ongoing debate about whether the NDC breached its constitution by declaring President John Mahama as leader and flagbearer of the party has taken an interesting twist with the former Attorney General who begun the whole controversy, challenging the NDC Executive to provide copies of regulations they made before announcing that decision.
Martin Amidu insists it is only when the party provides evidence by way of the regulations that their declaration of John Mahama will be grounded in law.
The General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia has stated emphatically that the party did not breach the constitution in naming John Mahama as the new party leader and flagbearer following the death of President of John Mills.
He quoted articles 26 (1) and 50 of the NDC constitutions as basis for the party's decision.
Whilst Article 26 (1) of the constitution states that 'the president of the Republic who is a member of the Party is the leader of the Party when in government,' the Article 50 holds that the National Executive Council of the party has the power to take decisions on behalf of the party on issues that are not catered for by the constitution.
The framers of the NDC constitution did not anticipate a sitting president or a flagbearer of the party will die in office and therefore made no provisions for it. So NEC exercised its powers by declaring President John Mahama leader of the party and flagbearer, a day after President John Mills died.
Former Attorney General Martin Amidu has challenged that decision and accused the party of arbitrariness and a breach of the party's constitution.
His position was however heavily criticized by some party bigwigs, including the General Secretary of the NDC.
In a rejoinder issued after the Johnson Asiedu Nketia had questioned his legal interpretation on the matter, Martin Amidu insisted the party leaders have breached the constitution of the party.
He said if it is the case that the NEC of the NDC exercised their authority so provided for in Article 50, they are mandated to provide regulations and not to make an announcement of who a party leader is.
Read the full statement on Martin Amidu's rejoinder
I have read the name callings and derogatory remarks being made about me by the General Secretary of the NDC and the Propaganda Secretary in their hopping about from one radio station to another to justify the clear breach of Article 50 of the NDC Constitution and thereby Article 55(5) of the 1992 Constitution, amongst others. The reality is that Article 50 of the NDC Constitution is clear and unambiguous when it states that: 'Where on any Party matter there is no provision in this Constitution which deals with that matter, the National Executive Committee shall, by the REGULATIONS, provide for the matter to be dealt with.' (Emphasis supplied).
The only power entrusted to the NEC under Article 50 is 'BY REGULATIONS, PROVIDE FOR THE MATTER TO BE DEALT WITH.' One of my arguments is that if the NEC met on 25th July 2012 to exercise the residual power under Article 50 then they had only one mandatory duty - make REGULATIONS that will provide for what they perceived was an omission in the Constitution following the death of the President. This is not a matter of law but simple English. Article 50 does not give the NEC any power to make DECISIONS for the party as to who is the anointed flag bearer to be endorsed at a future Congress.
I insist that the REGULATIONS under Article 50 are rules of a Constitutional nature which have to be formally enacted by the NEC and published to the whole world for the benefit of citizens who are members of the Party as to how the omission or gap they allege exists in Article 44(a) is to be dealt with. The NEC has no power under Article 50 to amend Article 44(b) to (g) of the NDC Constitution which provide for elections of a flag bearer unless it followed the processes provided in Article 46 of the NDC Constitution for amendments.
This is why I stated in one of my arguments that: 'We are just a few days to the new date of 31st August 2012 when the NDC National Congress will be convened in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital, at great Party and public expense to endorse the transitional President as the only choice of the strongest political elite, for the time being, in control of the NDC as the Party's flag bearer for the 2012 Elections. I am not aware of any constitutional regulations pursuant to Article 50 the NEC has enacted to take care of whatever omissions or perceived gaps there are in the NDC Constitution.'
The General Secretary and the Propaganda Secretary should simply tell Ghanaians when NEC, met, made and published the REGULATIONS it was mandated to enact by Article 50 of the NDC Constitution. This will help the debate instead of resorting to the defeatist position of calling me names to obscure the important national and NDC Constitutional issues raised in my statement.
My statement is intended to deepen democracy as against impunity and should be seen as such and countered by stronger arguments and ideas. Spins and name calling have out lived their usefulness and ought to be known by the General Secretary and Propaganda Secretary by now. My statement has nothing to do with President John Mahama as a person as it is maliciously being reframed but with respect for the 1992 Constitution and the NDC Constitution.
I repeat that: 'Any political party that does not allow its members access to critical information and rules that will affect the exercise of their democratic right of choice of a flag bearer in a democratic and transparent manner in accordance with Article 55(5) of the Constitution will be acting in a manner inconsistent with and in contravention of the 1992 Constitution, and the Party Constitution.' The difference between me and some of my colleagues in the Government and the NDC Executive is that I believe in the core and fundamental values of the NDC as we formed it in 1992 while they are revisionist. It is only fair that we disagree without calling each other names.
Martin A. B. K. Amidu