Afoko Sues Nana Over Suspension

Three supporters of the embattled National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have filed a motion for interlocutory injunction at the Human Rights Division of the High Court seeking to restrain the leadership of the party, including the presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, from suspending Paul Afoko as party chairman.

Aside Nana Akufo-Addo, 29 other party chieftains had been cited as defendants to the action, notably Freddie Blay, First Vice Chairman acting as Chairman; members of the National Executive Committee (NEC); former President John Agyekum Kufour; and F.F. Anto, 3rd National Vice Chairman.

The others are Abankwa Yeboah, National Treasurer; Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Minority Leader; John Boadu, National Organiser and C.K. Tedem, Chairman of the NPP Council of Elders.

Counsel for Paul Afoko is already pushing for eight members of the NPP’s steering committee to be punished for going ahead with a meeting yesterday despite the suit, for what he believes constitutes contempt of court.

Lawyer Martin Kpebu particularly wants acting National Chairman Freddie Blay jailed, after he chaired the meeting in the full knowledge that Paul Afoko, through his supporters, had filed a writ of summons challenging his suspension last Friday.

The three plaintiffs, believed to be sponsored by the embattled NPP chairman, are seeking the court’s intervention to stop the enforcement of Mr Afoko’s suspension.

The applicants – Tweneboa Kodua Emmanuel, Stephen Owusu and Joseph Oppong – all from the Ashanti Region, want the court to restrain the NPP from holding out Mr Blay as acting chairman, convening and attending meetings without the suspended chairman of the party (Chairman Afoko) being the convener of those meetings.

The three are asking the court to also restrain the defendants from taking decisions in any meeting not convened by Afoko, until the dispute is finally determined.

In an affidavit in support of the motion for interlocutory injunction, lawyers for the applicants stated that contrary to the party’s constitution (Article 9D), Mr Blay convened a NEC meeting slated for 23rd October, 2015 to consider a purported report of the National Disciplinary Committee on the National Chairman of the party when the National Chairman was present, able and willing to convene same.

It said that the said meeting was in fact convened and attended on the said date, during which a decision was taken to suspend the national chairman on the recommendations of the committee.

According to the affidavit, the decision to suspend Afoko was communicated to the country (Ghana) through the media by the Communications Director of the party and that the decision was then conveyed to the national chairman by the Deputy General Secretary of the party.

The Blay Factor
It stressed that the applicants view this as a serious threat to their suit since Mr Blay had already been designated as the person to act as a national chairman in fulfilment of the purported impugned suspension.

The affidavit said by settled authority of law, the National Chairman is the only person authorised by the party’s constitution to organise such a meeting, even if he is the subject matter of the meeting, or if he has an interest in a particular outcome of that meeting.

It further argued that Mr Blay does not have the authority to convene a NEC meeting and as such the notices convening the said meeting was null and void.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the committee could not give a report to NEC when the committee had not finished hearing the matter (petitions presented to it).

It said the committee had not delivered a ruling on the preliminary objections raised by the national chairman through his lawyers on the lack of jurisdiction of the committee to hear the petition against the national chairman.

The plaintiffs stated that ‘it is an act of illegality for [Mr Blay] to organise a meeting to discuss an illegal report and that all the defendants will be perpetrators of illegalities.’

The lawyers said the decision to suspend the national chairman at the said organised meeting was illegal and patently contrary to the party’s constitution.

Preserve Status Quo
The applicant’s statement of case in support of the motion among other things stated that more harm would be done to the applicants if the order is refused, insisting that ‘we further contend that there is the need to preserve the status quo in order to prevent irreparable damage to the Applicants.’

The statement of case said between the filing of the action and the final determination of the action, the defendants should be prevented from considering any decision where the powers, functions and rights associated with the office of the national chairman are implicated.

It further contended that the respondents should be prevented from enforcing the decision to suspend the chairman.

‘If this court refuses this application, it would be causing irreparable injustice and damage to the Applicants and encouraging the Respondents to violate the rights of the Applicants as members of the NPP with enforceable rights,’ it said.

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By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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