Disqualified aspirants head for court

There is growing displeasure within the rank and file of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party in the Volta Region following what party activists have described as ‘acts of indiscipline’ on the part of certain individuals who have taken the party to court for their disqualification to contest the recent primaries of the party in the region.

Information available to the Daily Graphic indicates that 66 persons filed their nominations to contest the primary in l7 constituencies and out of that number, 15 persons were disqualified.

While a good number of those who were disqualified seemed to have taken the reasons adduced by the National Executive of the party for their disqualification, there are three persons who have decided to contest their disqualification in court.

Two of the aggrieved parties in the Buem and Hohoe North constituencies of the party succeeded in securing injunctions from the courts which restrained the party from going ahead with the primaries pending the outcome of their substantive cases.

The third aggrieved party in the Ave-Avenor Constituency was not fortunate enough to have had a court order restraining the primary taking place but still went to court over his disqualification.

The Ave-Avenor primary saw the incumbent, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, getting the nod to contest the parliamentary slot on the ticket of the party in the 2012 elections.

A good number of party faithful that this reporter spoke to in the region, described the action of the three aggrieved persons as amounting to indiscipline because they had not made use of internal mechanisms for the redress of their grievances but had chosen the law courts over the constitution of the party.

Madam Abla Nutsugah, a party activist in the Ketu North Constituency, who summed up the views of several other party faithful, told the Daily Graphic that those who took the party to court without exhausting internal mechanisms for the redress of grievances must be dealt with to severely serve as a deterrent to others in the future.

“They cannot disregard laid-down procedures for redressing grievances, go to court and think that they can return to the party again. They must be sacked,” she fumed.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Volta Regional Secretary of the NDC, Mr Simon Amegashie-Viglo, said the NDC constitution and the guidelines on the conduct of the NDC primaries had made clear-cut provisions on the eligibility criteria.

According to him, a person wishing to contest must belong to a branch of the party and must have been an active member of the party at the constituency level for the two years immediately preceding the date of filing nomination.

He said the constitution enjoined the National Executive to inform candidates of the decision as to whether they were qualified or not, adding that all the 15 persons who were disqualified were notified of the reasons for their disqualification.

Common factors that led to the disqualification of those nominees, he said, were persons not being regular in a constituency for the mandatory two years, not being a paid-up member, and endorsers who were unqualified.

He said that in some cases, those who endorsed the nominations were not members of the party but members of other parties and wondered how that could be the case.

“When we explained the reasons for their disqualification to them, the greater number of them understood but three out of the 15 decided to by-pass internal mechanisms for the redress of grievances and are currently in court,” he added.

He said those who felt aggrieved had the ‘opportunity to have petitioned the party hier-archy but did not do so and rather went to court.

“We see they are taking the matter to court as a matter of indiscipline,” he said, adding that “we will wait till the matter is decided in court and see what action to take against those deviant persons”.

Meanwhile credible information available to the Daily Graphic shows that some group of persons who claim to be party members calling themselves ‘Movement for Change’ have planned a demonstration and a press conference next week to back some of the aggrieved persons who have gone to court.

“We are monitoring all these events and will take the appropriate actions as and when they occur,” Mr Amegashie Viglo said.

For his part, the Volta Regional Chairman of the NDC, Mr Kwasi Aboagye, stressed that the party had resolved to come out of the primaries more united and that they would not allow the “misbehaviour of these few miscreants” to soil the greater aim of the party.

On Saturday, January 21, 2012, the NDC in the Volta Region organised primaries in 15 out of the 22 constituencies in the region to elect candidates that would stand on the ticket of the NDC in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Krachi West, North Dayi, Ho East and Ketu South are on hold because of the creation of new districts out of them. The primaries could not take place in two other constituencies, namely Buem and Hohoe North, because of court injunctions on them.