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Opinions of Friday, 2 October 2015

Columnist: Atungo Gordon

Why executives must maintain neutrality...

Why executives must maintain neutrality: the street-legal perspective and the moral argument.

The National Democratic Congress(NDC) like all other political parties thrives on a constitution in managing its affairs.

There appears to be a rather worrying trend about the activities of executives prior to the election parliamentary candidates scheduled for 7th November. Though the constitution has not expressly debarred executives from publicly campaigning for an aspirant, closely studying it may lead you to surmise that it (the constitution) envisages that some executives are likely to commit a “sacrilege” (campaigning for an aspirant).

To cure that mischief, the constitution wisely tasks the REGIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE with the duty of SUPERVISING the selection of parliamentary candidates. Article 43 clause 4, says “ the regional executive committee SHALL SUPERVISE the selection process of parliamentary candidates at the constituency level”.

One may wonder how the regional executive committee is linked to the constituency executives. You may like to read article20 clause 1. We one carefully studies that clause, you're likely to find out that the regional executive committee subsumes representatives of the constituency executive committee and others.

This is what it says,“There will be a Regional Executive Committee, which shall consist of the following

a. Chairman;
b. Two Vice-Chairmen
c. Secretary
d. Deputy Secretary
e. Treasurer
f. Deputy Treasurer
g. Regional Party Organiser;
h Deputy Regional Party Organiser;
i. Regional Youth Organiser
j. Two Deputy Regional Youth Organisers
k. Regional Women Organiser
i. Two Deputy Regional Women Organiser
m. Regional Propaganda Secretary;
n. Deputy Regional Propaganda Secretary
p. All Members of Parliament from the region who are members of the Party; q. Ministers of State from the region, including Deputy Ministers
r. District Chief Executives of the Region who are members of the Party; and
s. Three others co-opted in consultation with the National Executive Committee”

NB: emphasis on point o.( written in capitals).

Though there appears to be a lacuna in the aforementioned clause (in stating the exact constituency executive who should be part of this committee), one may not be too far from the truth to surmise that any constituency executive who campaigns (I use “campaign” advisedly) for an aspirant may be caught in a conflict of interest situation - but should we get this far, knowing that humans have a predisposition to be corrupt?

If per the laws the constituency executive committee has a representation in the regional executive committee then it's not farfetched to argue that, the former takes part in the selection process. How do you convince us then that;

1) you're not campaigning with party resources (both Human and material) bequeath to you by dint of your position as an executive.
2) that you won't influence the SELECTION PROCESS?

Maybe the NDC may have to follow the suit of NPP and expressly prevent executives from campaigning for an aspirant.

There's ample evidence to say that there's a grey area in article 20 clause 1 and so it's very likely that the legal argument may easily be shot down. But one thing stands out clear, anyone who succeeds in shooting down the legal argument (as presented supra) he/she will have it yay difficult to win the moral argument.

It defies morality for an executive to say he/she will not use party resources to campaign for an aspirant should that executive decide to campaign.

An executive wields unfettered access to party resources viz.; access to the office, influence over the party members, vehicles and in some cases money belonging to the party.

The expansion of the electoral college is to (among other things) reduce the occurrences of skirt-and-blouse, but if executives are going to tread this path of partiality then that intended expansion is nothing short of a wild geese chase.

How does an executive work with a parliamentary candidate (who the former didn't support )to win the parliamentary seat if the latter is in the know that,that executive supported another person? A million dollar question? The answer to it, is to remain as neutral as possible.

I'm not a lawyer and so you may want to overlook any wrong legal argument.