Some elements in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the first daughter of former President Jerry John Rawlings from going to serve the party in Parliament, claiming that she is not a registered voter.
Four members of the party – two each from Osu and Asylum Down in the Klottey Korle constituency – are challenging the eligibility of Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, who won during the party’s primary in the area, beating the incumbent and former Minister of Employment, Ishmael Nii Armah Ashietey.
The four – Joseph Narku Botchway and Rev Michael Kwabena Nil Adjei Sowah, all of Osu as well as Jacob Amin and Alhaji Mohammed Mahmud, from Asylum Down – have petitioned the party’s leadership to disqualify Dr Agyeman-Rawlings or they will ‘advise themselves.’
Sources say the petitioners are enjoying the support of some influential members of the NDC, including ministers and other appointees, who are strongly against Zanetor’s victory over Nii Armah Ashietey and therefore want the results overturned.
As if that was not enough, a private legal practitioner, Gary Nimako, has written to the Electoral Commission (EC) requesting for details of Dr Agyeman-Rawlings’ voter registration history; but it is not certain whether the commission has been able to provide the information for the lawyer.
It is unclear what Mr Nimako is seeking the information for, but sources say an interested NDC member in the constituency instructed the lawyer as part of efforts to challenge the eligibility of the former president’s daughter they claim has no EC voter ID card.
In their letter titled, “Petition for the disqualification of Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings,” the four claimed that one of the contestants – Dr Agyeman-Rawlings – “did not qualify to contest the primaries because she was not a registered voter.”
“The party’s own rules that guided the conduct of the primaries provided that a member of the NDC shall not qualify to contest any primaries in any of the parliamentary seats if that member does not satisfy the requirement for the election of the Member of Parliament as provided in Article 94, Section 1(a) of the 1992 Constitution,” they averred.
The petitioners said, “The true meaning of the rules and the law is simply that a member is disqualified from contesting primaries if the member’s name is not on the EC voter register.
“We are convinced Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings’ name is not on the EC voter register, considering that she was not registered in the party’s biometric register which was a product of the EC voter register and which was used in the last primaries.
“From the above, we are of the firm belief that the afore-mentioned person should have been disqualified from contesting the primaries because she was not a registered voter.
“We wish to appeal to you to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation within 24 hours, failing which we will advise ourselves accordingly,” they pointed out.
Ejisu Candidate Sued
In a related development, Gloria Huzey, who defeated Afrifa Yamoah Ponkoh during the recent NDC parliamentary primaries in Ejisu in the Ashanti Region, is in trouble as Local Government Minister and Rural Development, Collins Dauda, has sued her for defamation.
Gloria was said to have strongly protested the re-nomination of Mr Yamoah Ponkoh, former Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the same position, accusing Alhaji Collins Dauda of receiving GH¢400,000 (¢4 billion) bribe from the re-appointed MCE.
Gloria, Deputy Ashanti Regional Women’s Organiser of the NDC, polled 1,150 votes to beat her challengers, Kwaku Afrifa Yamoah Ponkoh and K. Obeng Darko, who garnered 366 and 796 votes respectively.
However, days after the parliamentary duel, Yamoah Ponkoh’s name emerged as the re-appointed MCE for Ejisu Juaben.
Gloria Huzey did not take kindly to Ponkoh’s renewed role and launched a tirade at Alhaji Collins Dauda, accusing him of receiving the above-quoted amount of money in exchange for the re-appointment. She was subsequently suspended for the attack on the minister.
But the suspension was not enough as Collins Dauda initiated a court action against her demanding GH¢5 million for exemplary and general damages.