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03.11.2008 Politics

DFP Sues IEA•Over Pesidential Debate

By Daily Guide

Less than a week after organising an epoch-making presidential debate in the country a legal action has been instituted against the democracy think-tank, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) for ignoring a restraint order not to go ahead with the event.

Joined in the suit are the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and Mrs. Jean Mensah, administrator of the IEA.

The think-tank is in the legal trouble because an injunction sought by Lawyer Kwaku Baah, a founder of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and granted by an Accra High Court restraining it from going ahead with the debate was ignored.

Lawyer Kwaku Baah is therefore marching to court to move a motion on notice for an order attaching the respondents for contempt because of the flouting of the court order.

The 29th October 2008 injunction coincided with the date on which the IEA presidential debate took place nationwide.

The defendants in the injunction suit are the IEA, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, which televised the proceedings and Mrs. Jean Mensah, Administrator of the IEA.

The plaintiff, Kwaku Baah sought an injunction restraining the defendants from organizing or airing in public any presidential debates which excludes from the same platform any presidential candidate who have been nominated by their party to do so in the forthcoming elections.

In the statement of claim, the plaintiff stated that since the IEA sought by the debate to enlighten voters and provide opportunities for political parties to present their programmes to Ghanaians, it would be wrong to exclude other parties and their candidates.

If allowed to carry through the debates, the plaintiff avers that the constitution would be breached and the human rights and privileges of those political parties excluded trampled upon.

In respect of the motion for contempt, plaintiff swears an affidavit that having been served with a court injunction restraining them from carrying on with a presidential debate, the IEA “went ahead and organized a so-called presidential debate” which was aired nationwide.

The DFP it would be recalled protested at what it considered as an unfair treatment by the IEA when the think-tank did not include the party in a number of democracy enhancing programmes it organized.

Kwaku Baah is a founder and leading member of the DFP, a political grouping which was formed by a number of disillusioned National Democratic Congress (NDC) members shortly after an abrasive party congress in Koforidua a few years ago.

The party is one of the registered political groupings going into December electoral duels and placed fourth in the balloting for positions on the ballot paper.

With a countrywide presence there is no wonder that the party leadership feel discriminated against by the think-tank.

Although the suit has been instituted by Plaintiff, Kwaku Baah, it is being considered by political observers as a DFP action, the outcome of which would find an important place in the political history of the country.

By A.R. Gomda