Hon. Capt. (Rtd) Nkrabea Effah-Dartey, MP for Berekum and the only disqualified New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant in the December 22 congress, has revealed that tons of tears filled his eyes as he received consolation from his admirers across the country.
He said he completely disagreed with the disqualification verdict slapped on him by the party's vetting committee last Friday, saying it was wrong.
The Berekum MP disclosed that he had subsequently appealed against the decision.
Speaking at an emotionally-charged press conference at Kasoa in the Central Region hours before the ruling party held its historic introduction of aspirants, the visibly disturbed aspirant said he still looked up to God.
He however gave the assurance that he would not do anything to endanger the unity of the party.
“I was moved to tears when a caller from Wa in the Upper West Region rang and said simplicitor, 'Captain, God is not asleep'.
I want to thank all my well wishers nationwide for the massive show of support and solidarity demonstrated so far”, he said.
According to him, the vetting committee that slapped a disqualification verdict on him last Friday erred because it did not appreciate in full the events that led to his conviction and thereafter.
“In the first place, I was charged with the offence of mutiny, which is a military offence and not a civil offence. I was not charged with the 'high crime' of 'high treason or treason'. Thank God I was acquitted and discharged of that crime.
“In the second place, I was also charged with the offence of misconduct, which is conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, which is purely military and has nothing to do with civil milieu.
“It is my position and prayer that conviction for the military offence of misconduct can in no way fall under the provision of 'offence involving the security of the state,” he explained.
The captain recalled that in February 1981, he and some 47 other military officers were brought before a court martial for mutiny and misconduct, adding that while all 48 of them were discharged on the first count he was convicted on the second, but was pardoned, recalled and promoted after a fresh consideration of the matter.
“By the Grace of God, the PNDC in full session took a decision to declare NULL and VOID the conviction and sentence imposed upon me.
They went further to grant me a full and absolute pardon for the avoidance of doubt; and they reinstated me into the Armed Forces as a Lieutenant and later promoted me to the rank of Captain”.
Citing a sworn affidavit of his Defence Lawyer, Naval Captain Assassie Gyimah, which stressed on the status of the case 26 years ago, the ex-aspirant said: “I find it interesting to say that the State or Government at the time treated my case NOT as a state case BUT as a purely MILITARY affair which had nothing to do with the security of the State”.
Effah-Dartey, a former deputy Defence and Interior Minister, on Friday 16th November 2007, filed his nomination forms to contest the flagbearership of the NPP and on Wednesday 28th November 2007 appeared before the party's Vetting Committee.
But two days later, specifically, on Friday 30th November 2007, the party's national chairman, Peter Mac-Manu told the nation that the vetting committee was unable to give the captain a clean bill of health for him to participate in the upcoming presidential primaries.
The NPP National Executive Council has seven days to get back to the captain, who told the media he considers himself as an 'Aspirant on Appeal'.
He still has the option of going to a law court if he is not satisfied with the EXECO decision, but only after he had exhausted all party channels.
From Bennett Akuaku, Kasoa