Court to give ruling on NPP Weija Constituency Parliamentary Candidate
Accra Oct. 13, GNA - An Accra High Court would on October 15, rule on a writ challenging the nomination of Ms Shirely Ayokor Botchway as New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary Candidate for Weija Constituency. The Plaintiffs are Joseph Odartei Lamptey, Kwabena Kessie and Wofa Attah, all residents of Gbawe and other 133 persons in the Weija Constituency.
The Plaintiffs are seeking a declaration on what they claim was the imposition of Ms Botchway on the Weija Constituency as Parliamentary Candidate of the NPP without holding a Delegates' Conference.
They described the nomination as unlawful and pleaded that it should be declared null and void and ultra vires in respect of the constitution of the NPP.
They are further seeking an order that a Delegates' Conference be held at the Weija Constituency to nominate one of the five applicants as the Party's Parliamentary Candidates for Election 2004.
They are also seeking an order of injunction restraining the NPP, its assigns, privies, workmen, allies or any one remotely connected of it from registering Ms Botchway with the Electoral Commission (EC) as the Party's Parliamentary Candidate for the Weija Constituency pending the determination of the suit.
The Plaintiffs are also praying the Court to restrain Ms Botchway, her allies and assigns from holding herself as the Party's Parliamentary Candidate pending the determination of the suit.
The Plaintiffs in their statement of claim contended that Ms Botchwey was one of the five applicants for nomination as the Parliamentary Candidate of the NPP at the Weija Constituency.
Others are Captain Ebow Acquaah, Mr Owusu Afriyie, Rosemond Abrah and Mr Kwarteng, all of whom have satisfied the requirement of the Party's constitution after being vetted and re-vetted and informed by the vetting committee that a date for the holding of the primaries would be given in due course after they had paid the prescribed fees.
The Plaintiffs said the selection of Parliamentary Candidates for the Party was regulated by the Party's constitution. Under the Party's constitution, an extraordinary constituency Delegates' Conference shall be convened to elect Parliamentary Candidate of the Party for the constituency.
The Party, Plaintiffs said, instead of holding a Delegates' Conference to vote for candidates of their choice, rather wrongfully and unconstitutionally imposed Ms Botchway, who neither resided in the constituency nor was registered voter nor hailed from the constituency, on the delegates.
"In line with the Party's constitutions all the chairpersons of Polling Station Executives Committees on July 12 and July 29, 2004 petitioned President John Agyekum Kufuor about the arbitrary imposition of the second defendant on the Constituency.
The National and Regional Executives of the Party were also petitioned to no avail, even though the concerns of the Plaintiff ought to have been addressed within 21 days of receipt of grievances," the Plaintiffs stated.
In spite of these, the Plaintiffs said the Regional Executives of the Party imposed Ms Botchway on the Constituency.
The Plaintiffs said on August 29, 2004, all the chairpersons of the Polling Station Executives Committee sent a protest to the Chairman and National Steering Committee of the Party against the acclamation of Ms Botchway as the Parliamentary Candidate for the constituency and requested for a date for the primaries but this had not been heeded to.
"On September 10, this year, Mr Samuel Peprah, the Constituency Chairman wrote a letter on behalf of all Polling Station Executives praying for a date for the primary to be held and for them to choose a candidate of their choice."
The Plaintiffs said four days later, the Regional First Vice Chairman of the Party Mr R.O. Solomon sent a reply, which read: "Kindly be informed that Thursday 16, September 2004 has been approved for the conference. The candidate approved to represent your constituency is Ms Shirely Ayorkor Botchway. Her nomination would be acclaimed at the conference."
Responding, the Counsel for Defendants told the Court that the application was without merit and must be refused.
Counsel said the action itself apart from being premature was wholly misconceived and failed to disclose a proper cause of action in law.
Counsel stated that the Plaintiffs had no capacity to institute the action adding that the persons they purport to be representing had not authorized them.
Counsel said the right to approve and nominate aspirant to contest on the ticket of the Party was entirely the prerogative of the NPP. "Since the declarations sought by the Plaintiffs in the action are not in respect of any legal rights vested in themselves, the Court cannot grant an injunction in their favour."
The Defendants stated that the four aspirants, whose candidature were disallowed, were dully informed of the Vetting Committee's decision, but being dissatisfied, they made several representation to the Party but for reasons best known to the Party, it maintained its decision not approve of their candidature.
The Party, therefore, set September 16, 2004, for the nomination of Ms Botchway by acclamation but the event was postponed because of protest engineered by the four aggrieved persons.
"That under the Party's constitution, a member who has a grievance against the Party shall petition for redress and wait for the outcome of investigations into the petition and decision of the Constituency, Regional or National Executive Committees as the case may be." The Plaintiffs, the Counsel for the Defendants said, had not exhausted this procedure.
Counsel denied that Ms Botchway did not hail from the constituency. Counsel noted that Plaintiffs would not suffer any hardship if their application was denied but they would indirectly deny themselves of voting for a candidate of the NPP Party if the application was granted.