Checks by the Republic Newspaper has revealed a potential blow to the parliamentary bid of Dr. Ezanator Rawlings-the first child of ex-President Jerry John Rawlings- as she contests the parliamentary seat of Osu Klottey Korley constituency in Accra on the ticket of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
This paper can confirm that Dr. Ezanator Rawlings’ membership of the NDC cannot be officially verified because her name is absent from both the NDC’s current national database of its members and the database of the Osu Korley Klottey constituency.
There are indications also that Dr. Rawlings’ name may not be on the National Voters’ Register at the Electoral Commission (EC), confirming speculations that the ex-First family barred their children from participating in active politics and also from participating in the various general elections organized since they attained the required age for voting (18).
It is unclear at what point Dr. Ezanator Rawlings became politically active, but when she revealed her bid for the Korley Klottey seat, constituency members challenged her to prove she was a member of the constituency in good standing. It is unclear if she has been able to silence her critics in that regard.
The NDC constitution mandates any member vying for a parliamentary seat in a constituency to be a member in good standing (participating in political activities in the constituency and paying the required dues) for not less than two years. Some constituency executives of Korley Klottey have challenged Dr. Ezanator Rawlings to produce her membership card proving she is in good standing.
Being absent on the database could mean either of two things: she may have never been a member of the party despite her parents’ political affiliations and the decision to bid for a parliamentary seat may have been a rushed decision; or she may be wielding the old membership card of the NDC.
If she indeed holds the old membership card of the party, Dr. Ezanator would have to update her status because a couple of months ago, the NDC decided to biometrically register all its members into a database sitting at the party’s control room. The deadline for the registration process has long elapsed. It is unclear the provisions set up by the party to register members who did not make the deadline.
It is unclear if by virtue of her being the daughter of ex-President Rawlings who doubles as the founder of the NDC qualifies Dr. Ezanator to a Gold membership status of the ruling party like her father. It may be difficult to disqualify her based on her membership issues, the situation may however pose a constitutional and legal problem for the NDC if she passes through the vetting and parliamentary primaries, despite her membership baggage.
Dr. Ezenator Rawlings is one of the major challengers of Hon. Nii Armah Ashietey, the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the Klottey Korle constituency. The clout she brings to the contest due to her powerful parents has been contrasted with her political maturity against the more politically tested Nii Armah Ashietey.
This issues may be working in favour of her main rival, Nii Armah Ashietey, who has indicated that he was unfazed by the challenge posed by the daughter of the party’s founder. “Winning the seat is about what you’ve done for the people in the constituency to accept you, and not who your father is,” he said recently when questioned about how he viewed the challenge from ex-President Rawlings’ daughter.
“Politics is a game, if you know how to play it, you’ll win. I’ve a charge to keep – I’m grooming people who’ll take over from me when the time is up. So you don’t allow people who are not part of us in the constituency to come from afar to contest those who suffered, and are capable to retain the seat for NDC unlike those who would lose it,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, former President Jerry John Rawlings during a recent visit to the constituency gave his blessings to his daughter, Ezanator Rawlings, to contest in the forthcoming parliamentary primaries, saying Dr Ezenator’s involvement in the contest did not come to him as a surprise, knowing his daughter’s charisma to embark on great adventures.
It is yet unclear if her parents will be a conspicuous fixture on her campaign trail as she challenges the incumbent Nii Armah Ashittey on November 7, 2015 when the NDC organizes its parliamentary primaries.
On Thursday, the NDC would be vetting parliamentary aspirants, a situation that will confirm all the knotty issues around the membership of Dr. Ezanator to the ruling party. There are speculations that knowing this, Rawlings family is pushing hard to get Ezanetor Rawlings name on the National Voters register before the vetting.