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01.09.2004 NPP News

NPP guru drags two aspirants to court

By Chronicle

FOLLOWING THE internal wrangling that characterized the New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries in recent days; two parliamentary aspirants in the Akwapim South Constituency have been dragged before an Accra High Court by a member of the party, restraining them from contesting the NPP primaries.

The plaintiff, Nii Armah Abbey took legal action against Samuel Valentine Akuffo and Emmanuel Magnus Opare, all aspiring to contest the NPP in the Akwapim South constituency primaries in the Eastern Region after the National executives of the party have disqualified the incumbent Member of Parliament, Mr. Seth Wiafe Danquah.

According to the plaintiff, who was represented by his counsel, Mr. Kwame Fosu Gyeabour, the two aspirants did not qualify to contest, according to the party's constitution and therefore filed a motion for an interlocutory injunction seeking the court to restrain the two parliamentary aspirants, their agents and the Electoral Commission from participating and conducting the primary in the constituency until the final determination of the issue by the court.

However, counsel for the defendants, Mr. Yonny Kulendi and G.K Eshun for the first and second defendants respectively have prayed the court to dismiss the application on the basis that the application seeks to abuse the court process since the suit included other bodies, which are not parties to the suit currently before the court.

The court, presided over by Justice Kobina Acquaye, last Wednesday, gave the litigating parties until August 31, 2004 to seek redress based on the party's constitution.

"Since you are all members of the same party and in order to promote peace and reconciliation, I will adjourn the case for you to go back and resolve the matter amicably but if it fails then, we shall go into the merit of the case," the court advised.

The counsel who mentioned the EC in his motion but did not join it to the suit was also urged by the court to appropriately put his house in order.

Mr. Kulendi, who represented the first defendant with two others, objected to the adjournment, arguing that an individual action cannot hold the whole NPP into ransom, and urged the court to strike out the application as withdrawn since it lacks merit.

"The application is malicious, frivolous, capricious, unmeritorious and in bad faith, which should not be entertained by the court".

According to counsel, the application has halted the business of the party thereby exhibiting unfairness to the NPP, as the plaintiff never took advantage of the grievances procedures instituted by the party.

Mr. Kulendi who opposed to the adjournment to allow the applicant to put his house in order said, "the court has a duty to promote reconciliation but how can we reconcile when the very people we are to reconcile with hold the throat of the party," he asked, stressing that the application is tainted.

He said, "Even though we uphold the prayer for adjournment, under the rules of this court, you have limited power. In exercising your discretionary powers, you need to exercise your powers judiciously; citing Article 296 of the constitution to defend his argument.

"We cannot continue to suffer with this while the applicant lives in the life of pleasure, while the business activities are halted.

The counsel for the second defendant, Mr. Eshun, who affirmed the arguments of his colleague requested for cost to be awarded against the plaintiff for wasting their time but the court dismissed it.

"My order is a cease fire which means that hold your guns wherever you are," the court emphasized.

In an affidavit filed by the plaintiff in support of the motion stated that it was breached of the NPP party's constitution for the national executives of the party to allow the two to contest the primaries after the constituency executive committee disqualified them.

According to him, if the injunction was not granted before the determination of the case by the court and in the event of the applicant winning the case, his victory will be nugatory.

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