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16.11.2007 NPP News

NPP congress in danger

By The Chronicle
NPP congress in danger

All is set for a legal battle between the top hierarchy of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Nana Kofi Owusu, the beleaguered constituency chairman of Atwima Nwabiagya over what solicitors of Owusu describe as the Ashanti Regional Executive's refusal to allow his client to enjoy his constitutional rights.

The legal tussle is likely to affect the party's December 22 congress following the decision by the dismissed chairman to restrain the National Executive from holding the congress.

On September 3, 2007, the Regional Executive suspended Owusu on the basis of gross misconduct and misdemeanor in line with article 4 (7) 11, V, VI and VII of the party's constitution.

The Regional Executives of the party had based their decision to suspend the chairman on the fact that he had over turned a decision reached with his approval to institute an interim member committee (IMC) with him as chairman to manage the affairs of the party in the constituency.

"The IMC was formed to end a protracted dispute that had engulfed the constituency as both Owusu and one Benjamin Oduro had both claimed to be Constituency Chairman.

The disagreement which started on November 2, 2005 led to the formation of two executives for the Atwima Nwabiagya constituency. The Nana Kofi Owusu-led faction subsequently won the contest in court.

The court decision, according to Nana Owusu had not been respected by the NPP Regional Executive when they asked him to share power with the defeated faction whose election had been declared null and
Attempts by the chairman to use all available means to avoid his suspension proved futile as the Regional Executive were bent on carrying out a suspension order.

Nana Owusu says the Regional Executive Council the body which suspended him is not recognized by the party's constitution.

However in a fresh letter dated November 9, written by Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and Associates, solicitors of the constituency chairman, counsel for the dismissed chairman noted that despite their clients being the legitimate and duly elected executives of the Atwima Nwabiagya constituency, they were being prevented by the regional executive of the NPP from partaking in party activities within the region.

The letter was addressed to Peter Mac Manu, the National Chairman, Nana Ohene-Ntow, the General Secretary, and the Ashanti Regional Executive of the party.

Counsel also stated that presidential aspirants were being discouraged by the regional executive from going to the constituency because of an alleged confusion.

A recent case in point according to the chairman's counsel was when Sam Cudjoe, the Regional Secretary of the party, blatantly refused to allow Douglas Owusu, the Constituency Organizer, to enjoy his entitlements when one of the aspirants met the various constituencies in Kumasi. The Secretary had claimed there was misunderstanding in the constituency.

"Our belief in and respect for the constitution of the party has compelled us to always advice our clients to exhaust the grievance procedure outlined in the constitution before resorting to court action,” the solicitors declared.

"Our clients inform us that all the various promises by the Executive to solve the so-called confusion have not been fulfilled while the Regional Executive continues to infringe on their constitutional rights," they added.

The Owusu-led executive have given a one-week ultimatum to the National Executive of the party to intervene and restore to their clients their rightful position or else they may resort to court action.

The constituency chairman told this paper that if the issue is not resolved in good time, it might affect the December congress because he would not allow himself to be cheated by a party he had personally in various way ensured its success.

He also argued that the regional executive were denying President Kufuor the right to participate in the upcoming congress. The President hails from the constituency and has voting rights at congress.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview, Nana Ohene Ntow, the NPP General Secretary, has denied receiving any letter from the constituency chairman's lawyers.

The reaction of the National Chairman Peter Mac Manu could not be sought by the paper as several calls to his mobile phone were not answered, but information available indicate that he was personally served with the letter at a popular restaurant at Dichemso in Kumasi over the weekend.