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General News of Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Source: Daily Guide

NDC Member Drags JJ To Court

Daily Guide -- A BRAVE MEMBER of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has filed a writ at the Supreme Court to challenge the status of the former President J. J. Rawlings, as the founder of NDC and also to pray the court to strip him of the ?autocratic? position which has empowered him, virtually, to run the party from his pocket.

The writ was filed on November 10, 2005, at 11.30am, and a copy already served on the party.

The lone ranger, Mr. Karl Gray Kwesi Ntsiful, who is a member of NDC at Senya-Adawso, in the Central Region, is plaintiff in the case, while NDC is defendant in the case.

Mr. Ntsiful, who swore to an affidavit that every information about him was correct, was asking the court to visit Article 6 of the constitution of the NDC, which confers, or seeks to portray an individual as the sole founder of the party.

According to Mr. Ntsiful, article 6 of the NDC constitution is inconsistent with article 55 of the 1992 Ghanaian Constitution, and section 9 of the Political Parties Law. Article 55 of the country?s constitution talks extensively, on how political parties should be formed, and run.

Clause 8 of that portion of the constitution says that a political party shall not have as a founding member, a leader or a member of its executive, a person who is not qualified to be elected as a member of Parliament, or to hold any other public office, and then 9 says that the members of the national executive committee of a political party, shall be chosen from all the regions of Ghana.

Article 6 of the NDC?s Constitution states that ?the founding father of the party is Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, upon whose vision and leadership the party was established? and article 5 of the same constitution, talks about the philosophy of the party which states, ?the party is a Social Democratic Party that believes in the equality and the egalitarian treatment of all person, with respect to their social, cultural, educational, political, religious and economic relations, in a multi-party environment.?

Apart from praying the court to declare, in law, that Flt. Lt. J. J. Rawlings is not the founder of the NDC, Mr. Ntsiful wants the court to restrain NDC, its agents or servants from doing any acts which will contravene Article 55 of the Constitution, and Political Parties Law (PNDCL 281).

According to the plaintiff, in registering the defendant party under the Political Parties Law 1992, with the registrar of political parties, Flt Lt Rawlings was not registered as one of the founders, in compliance with that law.

?To broaden the bases of the political parties, and to achieve the democratic ideals, and to ensure broader participation, 8(b) provides that in order for a political party to be registered, at least, one founder should come from each of the districts, forming the Republic of Ghana?, Mr Ntsiful said in his writ.

He stressed that section 9(1)(b) of the same law provides that no political party shall be registered, unless there is in each district of Ghana, a founding member of the party, who shall be ordinarily, resident in the district, or is registered as a voter in the district, adding that by the provisions quoted above, no political party can say that it has only one founder or founding member, or founding father, and satisfy the provision of the constitution and the law.

Mr Ntsiful explained that by ascribing the founder of the party to only one individual, contrary to what is contained in its constituent documents, filed with the Electoral Commission, NDC is denying the existence of other founding members, and denying them the privileges and prestige and recognition, as well as honour that should be accorded them as founding members of the party.

?As in keeping with all democracies, political parties are the bed-rock of our constitution, and the cornerstone of the country?s progress to democracy. A basic tenent of democracy is majority rule, and abhorrence to one-man shows?, he argued.

Mr. Ntsiful noted that the laws were made precisely to discourage, and avoid the emergence of these aberrations in our constitutional structures.

Clarifying NDC?s position on the suit in a telephone interview, a deputy general secretary of the party, Mr Baba Jamal confirmed that Mr Ntsiful?s writ has been served on the party, and the party?s legal luminaries have been instructed to look at the writ, and advise the party, accordingly.

Baba Jamal said the party is ready to face the man claiming, to be a member of the party, in court, and defend the party?s position.

According to Baba Jamal NDC satisfied every requirement under the constitution, before it was registered.

?How could we have been registered, if we had gone contrary to the 1992 Constitution?, he questioned, and said the creation of the founder of the party position in the party, is strictly an internal matter.

?We decided to make former President Rawlings a founder of the party, because the party was formed, based on his vision?, he said.

He said it is in the same way that the party also, created propaganda secretary position in the party, and can still decide to create positions, such as ?creating member? or ?establishing member?

Baba Jamal said the NDC member, who is taking the party to court over Rawlings? position, should have given details of his membership, that is, his ID number, and membership card number, as well as the constituency that he is coming from. He said the first thing the party will do is to contest, strongly, the true membership of the plaintiff, before the substantive case would be addressed. Checks by Daily Guide at the registry of the supreme Court established that a date has not been fixed for the case, because NDC has not yet responded to the writ, in writing, to the registrar of the court.

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