Mr Freddie Blay is the duly elected parliamentary aspirant of the Convention People's Party (CPP) for the Ellembele Constituency.
The Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday affirmed this and ordered the CPP, its flag bearer, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, and five other executives to uphold Mr Blay as the parliamentary aspirant. It slapped them with total costs of GH¢3,500 in favour of Mr Blay, ordering each to pay GH¢500.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice Edward A. Asante, also barred the CPP, Dr Nduom, as well as the CPP Chairman, Mr Ladi Nylander; the Vice-Chairman and now running mate to the flag bearer, Dr Abu Sakara; the General Secretary, Mr Ivor Greenstreet; the Treasurer, Mr Mike Eghan, and Mr Kosi Dedey, the Spokesperson, from organising a fresh primary in the Ellembele Constituency.
Quashing the decision of the Central Committee of the CPP which nullified the election of Mr Blay as the parliamentary aspirant on the grounds that the committee acted in excess of its powers, the court held that “Mr Blay's election is lawful, proper and valid”.
Mr Blay filed the suit after Mr Greenstreet had issued a statement on August 28, 2008 to the effect that the party's Central Committee had objected to the election of Mr Blay's election null and void.
Giving its judgement on the matter, the court held that it was unwarranted for the Central Committee to declare Mr Blay's election null and void because the CPP's constitution did not give the committee that power.
According to the court, Article 48(f) of the CPP constitution enjoined the central committee to refer the objection of Mr Blay's candidature to the constituency executives for further action.
Based on that premise, and the fact that the central committee failed to adhere to the party's constitution, the court declared the press release which nullified Mr Blay's election as null and void.
It said the central committee acted ultra vires and accordingly quashed the entire proceedings of the committee which culminated in the press release nullifying Mr Blay's election.
The court read its judgement in the matter after a leading member of the CPP, Mr Bright Akwetey, had informed it that he could not broker an out-of-court settlement between the parties.
He said, “I regret to announce that I did not succeed in the efforts I embarked upon” and the court thanked him for taking the initiative.
Mr Akwetey had indicated at the court's previous sittings that efforts were underway to settle the matter out of court.
Counsel for the CPP indicated that the respondents would file an appeal against the court's ruling.
Speaking to journalists afterwards, Mr Blay said the court's ruling was a victory for democracy and the rule of law.
“We have come a long way. We must subscribe to the rule of law and we must have democracy within our party,” he sad.
He said it was unfortunate that the matter had to travel to the law courts and stated that as a member of the CPP, he did not believe the central committee constituted the party.
Mr Blay said the litigation had derailed the progress of his campaign, but indicated that he was going to embark on a vigorous crusade to make up for lost time.
“I am at a disadvantage but I will make up to ensure there is victory for us,” he said, in apparent reference to his inability to campaign like his rivals from other political parties.
Mr Blay, Mr Francis Quayson, Mr Kwasi Kutea, Mr Kwame Appreh, Mr Samuel Akainyah and Mr Kwasi Andoh, all members of the party, filed the suit seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the central committee which nullified his election on the grounds that the decision was without jurisdiction, was against the CPP's constitution and, therefore, unlawful.
The applicants also sought an order prohibiting the respondents or any agent, organ or officer of the respondents from organising any primary for the election of a CPP parliamentary candidate for Ellembele, as well as an interim order directed at the respondents and their agents from engaging in media attacks on Mr Blay or make any disparaging statement in the public against the applicants pending the final determination of the application.
However, the respondents, in their affidavit in opposition, said the correct position of the party was contained in a press release which expressed the consequence of the central committee's decision to object to the election of Mr Blay as the party's parliamentary aspirant for the 2008 election.
According to the affidavit, what it meant was that if Mr Blay failed to regularise his position with the central committee, then there would be the need for the Ellembele Constituency to hold fresh elections in order to elect another candidate, thereby rendering the initial primary null and void.
It said all the written invitations sent to Mr Blay only invited him to attend a meeting concerning his presence at a New Patriotic Party (NPP) rally at Ainyinase on April 30, 2008.
“The invitation never stated that any charge had been preferred against Mr Blay, neither did the CPP say that Mr Blay had breached any provisions of the party's constitution,” the affidavit stated.
It said in a letter purporting to request for a statement of his charge, Mr Blay had exhibited gross disrespect to and contempt for the CPP, a political party on whose ticket he was asking for endorsement to stand as a parliamentary candidate for the 2008 election.
Story by Mabel Aku Baneseh