Disqualified candidate sues NDC … But court turns down injunction
By Ivy Benson
An aggrieved contestant in the Avenor-Ave Constituency of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), who was disqualified from last Saturday's Parliamentary Primaries, has filed a suit at an Accra Fast Track High Court (FTC) against the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, Hon Edward Doe Adjaho, who is also the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and six others for wrongfully prohibiting him from taking part in the contest.
According to the plaintiff, Mr. Evans Gadeto Djikunu, a legal Practitioner, the basis upon which he was disqualified by the Regional Vetting Committee and affirmed by the National Vetting Committee were not only untenable but also an abuse of discretion by the NDC party.
He further noted that the party based its decision on spurious allegations and technical grounds and conspired with its agents to get him disqualified in order to have the incumbent MP to contest the Avenor-Ave Constituency seat unopposed.
Other defendants in the suit include the NDC, Electoral Commission, the National Chairman of the Party, the General Secretary of the Party, A.K. Wemegah, Chairman of the Avenor-Ave Constituency of the NDC and Mathias Dogbey, the Live Branch Chairman in the Avenor-Ave Constituency of the Volta Region.
Mr. Djikunu, who was a government appointee in 2009, was disqualified by the Regional Vetting Committee on the grounds that he is not a member of the Party and that he had committed fraud on the party by getting false endorsements of his nomination paper from executives of the party from the constituency.
He is, therefore, seeking the court to restrain the NDC and its agents from disqualifying him from contesting the Avenor-Ave Constituency seat and to declare the nomination of the incumbent MP as t he Parliamentary Candidate for the constituency for the 2012 general election as null and void.
Additionally, the plaintiff is requesting the court to prevent the NDC party from denying that he is one of its members, since the Party and its officers have received party dues, other financial contributions and nominated him as Government Appointee in 2009.
Furthermore, Mr. Djikunu is asking the court to restrain the Avenor-Ave Constituency chairman of the NDC, A.K. Wemegah and Mathias Dogbey, the Live Branch Chairman in the Avenor-Ave Constituency for denying that he is a member of the Live branch of the party in the Constituency, to compel the NDC party to organize a Parliamentary Primary for him and the incumbent MP to contest the Avenor-Ave constituency and to set aside any parliamentary primary that was held in the constituency until the determination of the case before the court.
Meanwhile, an ex-parte motion filed before the court, presided over by Justice Ofori-Atta, on January 20, this year, to prevent the primaries from going ahead the following day, January 21, this year, was rejected as the court indicated that the case take its normal course.
Mr. Djikunu claimed to be a sympathizer of the NDC since its inception in 1992 and had since been supporting it in diverse way to win power and decided to be a card-bearing member in 2007 in order to be paying dues for the sustenance of the party following a membership drive led by the former President Rawlings at Akatsi on November 2007, where he procured a party membership card for GH¢200.00.
According to the plaintiff, before getting the party card, he opted to join the Live branch of the party in the constituency, which is his hometown in the Akatsi District and which was entered in his membership card, adding that he sought from the chairman of that branch whether to bring another application letter to get the party membership card at the branch, which he responded in the negative, indicating that membership cards are always obtained at the constituency level.
The applicant further noted that Mr. Dogbey asked him to give his party card to the branch secretary for endorsement, which was done and was later introduced to other executive members of the branch at a gathering in the Live Mission School, adding that the Constituency chairman asked him to pay his dues to the constituency treasurer since the branch executives are not accounting for monies collected at the branch level for the running of the fairs of the party.
Mr. Djikunu asserted that the constituency treasurer, Solomon Adotevi asked him to make payments from January to December 2007 despite the fact that he joined the party on November 11, 2007, which he obliged noting that when he went back to pay his dues in 2011, the treasurer informed him that the Constituency Executive Committee of the party had taken a decision that all dues should be paid at the branch level, which he did and was indicated in his membership card accordingly.