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Opinions of Monday, 1 September 2014

Columnist: Essuman, Kow A.

Delegates have only one vote, not five!

I have read and heard explanations to the effect that the delegates in the upcoming Special Delegates Congress will have to tick five names on the ballot.

Respectfully, that explanation is contrary to the Constitution of the New Patriotic Party, and the Rules and Regulations Governing the Organisation and Conduct of Election of A Presidential Candidate – 2014, as agreed by the National Council of the Party.

Article 12(b) of the Party’s Constitution specifically states, amongst other things, that “a Special Electoral College shall cast their votes by secret ballot for the first five contestants to be short-listed … Every delegate shall be entitled to one vote.”

In the Guidelines issued by the Party, on Page 5, under the heading “Special Electoral College,” it is specifically stated amongst other things that “a Special Electoral College shall cast their votes by secret ballot for the first five contestants to be short-listed … Every delegate shall be entitled to one vote.”

There is no provision in either the Party’s Constitution or the approved Election Guidelines stating that each delegate has to tick five names. That explanation is totally unconstitutional and should be ignored. One man, one vote is what the Party Constitution and the approved Election Guidelines say in unison; not one man, five votes for five different candidates.

In contradistinction to the position of National Vice-Chairperson, the Party's Constitution provides for the candidates to be ranked according to the number of votes they obtained. Thus, delegates in the election of the National Vice-Chairperson, are required to choose their top 3 National Vice-Chairperson. Article 9(E) of the Party's Constitution specifically provides that "there shall be three (3) National Vice-Chairpersons ranked first, second and third, according to the number of votes received at the election at the National Annual Delegates Conference."

In my humble opinion, if the framers of the current Party's Constitution intended the Special Delegates to vote in the same manner as the voting is done for National Vice-Chairpersons, they would have said so. They did not; and we ought to stop reading words into the fundamental rules and regulations of the Party especially when the framers of the current Party's Constitution, most of whom are still alive and are part of the National Council that agreed that these should be the rules of engagement for the Special Delegates Congress.

TO THE DELEGATES, I ENTREAT YOU TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION ON SUNDAY; VOTE ONLY ONCE FOR YOUR PREFERRED CANDIDATE. YOU HAVE ONLY ONE VOTE; NOT FIVE. ANY OTHER FORM OF VOTING WILL RENDER YOUR BALLOT INVALID AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

To all the aspirants, I wish you the very best. However, may the best man (Nana Akufo-Addo) win.

My humble opinion.

Kow Essuman, Esq. LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell) Barrister-at-Law (England and Wales)(Lincoln's Inn) Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York) Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana