MPs who don't respect laws?

Mon, 1 Jun 2015 Source: Frankly Speaking

Since May 21, 2015, when Mr Adams Mahama, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) died after he was smeared with acid, many theories had been developed by a number of people both from within and without the NPP.

One of the strongest of the theories is that because the late Mahama publicly called on the NPP National Chairman, Paul Afoko, and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, to respect the party’s structures after the two had attempted to hold a meeting with some party officials in the Upper East Region without his (Mahama’s) knowledge, the two might have planned his killing.

Tough this theory has not been given any basis on which people would accept, as no one has so far given any evidence proving that Afoko and Agyapong engineered Mahama’s death, very senior members of the NPP have strangely trumpeted this theory to the point of calling on the two top party officers to resign.

Some media reports even suggest that the Council of Elders of the NPP has written to Messrs Afoko and Agyapong to resign, though other media reports sourced to some members of the same council, had rubbished this claim, insisting that the council had not made that call.

Strangely, while this blame-game continues to consume all the party’s time and energy with some members blaming almost everybody from the party’s flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo to former president, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor, the various regional branches hurriedly organised meetings at which they reportedly resolved that Afoko and Agyapong should resign from office.

One thing is clear about the NPP. There are many high-profile lawyers in the party. This makes it more difficult to understand why a party with such number of lawyers will behave like people who know nothing about law.

Another point is that the NPP prides itself of being a party which respects the rule of law, yet one is at a loss as to why the party would pick and choose which laws to respect.

The NPP as a party has a constitution. This constitution stipulates how party activities must be conducted including election of officers and how to remove them. Strangely, however, nobody seems to care about these constitutional provisions.

One would have also thought that for a party which believes in the rule of law, its senior members, some of whom lawyers, would not trial Afoko and Agyapong in their mind and sentence them without any evidence established against them.

Killing is a crime. Criminal issues are supposed to be handled by the police, who are tasked with the responsibility of investigating them to establish the culprits.

In the case of the killing of Adams Mahama, Afoko and Agyapong were found guilty of killing him even before the police started their investigations, and they are yet to announce their findings. It’s incredibly shocking, but it’s real and live, happening in the NPP, a party full of lawyers and with a claim of being a respecter of rule of law.

So, assuming that the lawyers in the party, apart from only a few of them like the former Attorney General, Mr Ayikoi Otoo, who has publicly condemned the unlawful action of party members including very top and senior members, the last group of NPP members expected to join this blatantly unlawful act is members of parliament.

Media reports say the leadership of the NPP members of parliament has called on the party Chairman, Afoko and General Secretary, Agyapong to ‘step aside’.

“. . .That in the circumstances, the two national officers be requested, in the interest of peace, unity, trust and stability in the party, to step aside to allow for an impartial investigation into these matters especially the gruesome murder of Mr Adams Mahama, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)”, states a resolution by the MPs to the party’s Council of Elders signed by minority leader Osei Kyei Mensa-Bonsu last Wednesday. What do these lawmakers mean by ‘step aside’? Which of the NPP laws or national constitutional provisions do they base their call to ‘step aside’?

One would have expected our lawmakers to be the first to observe the laws of the country, but many of us are shocked by the unlawful act of these NPP MPs.

Would they also agree if members in their constituencies tomorrow ask all of them to ‘step aside’ for other NPP members to contest the 2016 elections because they have already served in parliament and that it was the turn of others?

Another weird and absurd position was advanced by the MP for Efutu, Mr Afenyo Markins, on Wednesday, saying that given the tension in the party, the only way to calm tempers and focus in unity for victory 2016 is for them [Afoko, Agyapong] stepping aside.

I got an instant sickness reading what was attributed to Mr Markins, one of the young politicians I have recently started to respect. He has in recent times taken cases to the Supreme Court, so as a lawyer, if he were to face the Supreme Court tomorrow over his statement, could he be able to defend it?

The common sense approach many had expected these hot-headed NPP officials and members to adopt was to await the results of the police investigation (implicating Afoko and Agyapong) before organising this mock-looking “no confidence votes” by the regional branches, and calls by other members for the two resign.

A week before the death of Adams Mahama, this column said that the NPP was digging its own 2016 election defeat grave, and called on the party and its leadership to sit up and put their acts together, but little did we imagine that the ugliest scenes were yet to come.

Now it is supposed Akufo Addo faction against supposed Kufuor faction; and Afoko supporters versus anti-Afoko members – accusations and counter accusations being the main occupation of members of a party which says it wants to take over power from an incumbent government.

We have said many times in this column that our main priority is to ensure that no parties are allowed to derail the country’s young democratic path by spilling out their internal wrangling into the national political atmosphere.

Gradually, the NPP is making itself an ungovernable party, and if it does not immediately apply the needed remedy to the destructive cancer which is fast spreading, it should not blame anyone after December 7, 2016.

In fact, there will never be Supreme Court sittings.

Columnist: Frankly Speaking