Paul Afoko heads to court over suspension

Accra, Nov. 18, GNA – Mr Paul Awentami Afoko, the indefinite suspended National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has threatened to go court to fight what he described as the ‘bastardisation of the party’ and defend the party’s constitution.

‘I will do what is right. I shall uphold my oath and defend the constitution of the NPP at all times. In this quest, having exhausted all avenues available to me in the party, I am left with no option than to invoke the authority of our courts to seek interpretation of our constitution in a court of law, to stop this series of illegalities before it affect s our fortunes in the 2016 elections.

‘This I seek to do not for Paul Awentami Afoko! This I seek to do in the interest of the party. This I seek to do for the protection of all party members and elected officers, including the Presidential Candidate.

‘This I seek to do for the preservation of our party’s integrity and democratic credentials. If we allow the constitution of our party to be ridiculed and bastardised the way some people seek to do, then we will have a party without a soul.’

Addressing a news conference in Accra in the company of Mr Sammy Crabbe, Second Vice Chairman of the NPP, he said the destiny of ‘our great party is threatened by the flagrant disregard for the party’s constitution’.

‘On Sunday April 13, 2014, I swore an oath at the National Delegates Congress in Tamale to defend and uphold the constitution of the party to over 5,0000 party delegates, members and supporters of this great party of ours and this is exactly what I intend to do.’

Mr Afoko said he had watched the NPP slide down the slippery slope towards destruction and is in danger of shredding its democratic credentials.

He said his indefinite suspension as an elected national officer was a violation of the Article 10 clauses (1 – 5.)

He quoted a section, which said: ‘If members wish to remove an elected officer, they must get at least 40 per cent of the delegates that elected that officer, to petition to remove that officer. The affected officer will be given the opportunity to appear before a committee set up by the National Council.

‘The National Council may suspend the officer, before subsequently an Extraordinary Delegates Conference will be convened to deliberate and decide on the matter. This is the only time an officer of the party can be suspended. Even then, when suspension is invoked, it should not exceed one month. Therefore, an indefinite suspension of an elected officer is tantamount to a removal of that officer. In the case of national officer the conference involves over 5000 voters.’

Mr Afoko slammed the decision to suspend him as baseless and based on baseless petitions, adding under the rules of natural justice, some of the members of the current membership of the National Disciplinary Committee are precluded from determining the substantive complaint against him as it would seem that they are both petitioners and judges in their own case.

He said the disciplinary committee, without ruling on his legal objections proceeded to recommend his suspension.

‘Further compounding the breaches of the constitution, the disciplinary committee sent their recommendations to NEC via the National 1st Vice Chairman and recommended that he convene and chair an emergency NEC meeting to consider their recommendations, even though I, the National Chairman, was in the jurisdiction, willing, able and ready to convene such a meeting.

‘I wish to put it on record that I received no such document from the disciplinary committee. All these are contrary to Article 9 (6) d(ii), which states: ‘the National Chairperson shall be the convener of all the meetings of the National Delegates Conference, the National Council, the National Executive Committee and the Steering Committee of the National Executive Committee’.

‘The National 1st Vice Chairman then went ahead to further breach the constitution by hastily convening and chairing an illegal NEC meeting, despite my pointing out and cautioning them about the illegality.

‘The illegal NEC meeting adopted the illegal recommendations of the Disciplinary Committee. Following the rules and procedures laid down by the constitution, I appealed against these illegalities to the National Council.

‘The 1st Vice Chairman, in further breach, went ahead and convened another illegal National Council Meeting, when according to the constitution and convention, I should convene and recuse myself where if the matter concerns me.

‘Instead of the National Council deciding on the legality of my preliminary objections on the jurisdictional issues that I raised, they rather went ahead and affirmed the illegal decision of an illegal NEC meeting in an apparent coercive manner.’

Mr Afoko said because of the actions of some individuals within the NPP, the perception is being created that a culture of silence and fear is permeating ‘in our body politic’.

This, he said is dangerous for the country’s democracy.

Mr Afoko said at the time when the NPP should be thinking about campaigning to win Election 2016, party executives who are supposed to execute the agenda are being suspended because they came to Accra to present a petition against his suspension.

GNA


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