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Opinions of Saturday, 7 May 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Asiedu-Nketia must be removed

If the leaders of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) want to have a fighting chance at both the constituency/parliamentary and the presidential levels, the person to watch is not Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, the Electoral Commissioner, but rather Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia. The General-Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) made this crystal clear when he decided to weigh in on the raging judicial fracas between Dr. Zanetor Rawlings and Nii Armah Ashitey, the former Greater-Accra Regional Minister and substantive NDC-Member of Parliament for the Klottey-Korle Constituency of Accra-Central (See “Nketia Dares Ashitey: Fight Me, Leave Zanetor” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/13/16).

As he glibly and disdainfully tells it, the man who prevented Mr. George Boateng from contesting President John Dramani Mahama in the party’s presidential primary, late last year, says that he deliberately permitted the eldest daughter of Chairman Jerry John Rawlings to contest the Klottey-Korle parliamentary primary because whatever anomalies attending Dr. Rawlings’ participation could be readily corrected at a later date. Now, this is both untenably unethical and inescapably criminal. It is criminal because Mr. Asiedu-Nketia permitted the daughter of the NDC’s founding-father to contest the Klottey-Korle parliamentary primary, knowing full well that as an unregistered member, or properly speaking non-member, of the National Democratic Congress at the time the Klottey-Korle parliamentary primary was held, Dr. Rawlings was unarguably not qualified to contest in the aforesaid election.
But what is even more significant to the existence of the party which none of the parties to the dispute is/are talking about is the fact that as a non-registered NDC member, Dr. Rawlings had also not been paying any dues for the smooth running of party affairs for umpteen years. In other words, the NDC party executives could have trotted in just about any Ghanaian citizen from the streets of Accra to contest in the Klottey-Korle parliamentary election. Merely hoping that Dr. Rawlings would register as a member of the party, only after having clinched victory in the Klottey-Korle parliamentary election, during the limited voters’ registration period, is simply preposterous.

For starters, the limited voters’ registration period was not established for flagrant political opportunists like the 30-something-year-old Rawlingses’ daughter, but rather for newly qualified registrants and others prevented from doing so by circumstances beyond their control. But what is even more significant to observe here is the fact that playing fast and loose with the standing rules of the party clearly and eerily points to the great and certain possibility of the NDC leaders, once again, capitalizing on the weaknesses of the country’s electoral culture to rig Election 2016 in their favor. It is for this reason that it would be savvy for all the IPAC stakeholders, particularly the leaders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to demand that the Electoral Commission publish the names and aggregate numbers of the registered members of each and every legitimately registered political party in the country in the lead-up to Election 2016.

Clearly, what we see here is a devious and criminal attempt by the rascally likes of Mr. Aseidu-Nketia to pack the National Voters’ Register with ineligible voters and parliamentary candidates. The courts must step in and let Mr. Asiedu-Nketia (aka General Mosquito) fully and clearly appreciate the fact that he is not above the laws of the land, either those pertaining to the standing rules of the National Democratic Congress itself or our national political protocol at large. Mr. Asiedu-Nketia and his associates can simply not be permitted to make and break party rules at whim. This is not the kind of democracy Ghanaians battled fiercely for, with some even paying the proverbial ultimate price.

Attempting to farcically quibble with such clearly unambiguous legal terminologies as “ineligibilities” and “disqualifications” will not wash. This is the one George Boateng-esque trick that party headquarters scam-artists like Messrs. Asiedu-Nketia, Kofi Portuphy, Koku Anyidoho and Kofi Adams ought not to be allowed to get away with.

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