The controversy surrounding the election of Dr Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings as the Klottey Korle Constituency parliamentary candidate for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is far from over.
This time around, Nii Armah Ashittey, incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, and Nii John Coleman, who were defeated in the NDC primary, filed a joint suit at an Accra High Court challenging Dr Zanetor’s legitimacy to contest this year’s parliamentary elections.
They were of the view that her election was unlawful since she was not a registered voter.
The two plaintiffs, aside Dr Zanetor, daughter of former President Jerry John Rawlings, also sued the NDC and the Electoral Commission (EC) as first and third defendants respectively.
The plaintiffs, who both contested the NDC’s parliamentary election and lost to Dr Zanetor in November last year, asked the court to declare that her election was unlawful as she was not a registered voter in the national electoral roll.
It would be recalled that during the NDC’s primary, Dr Zanetor could not vote because her name was not found in the voters’ register. There were speculations that she was not a registered Ghanaian voter. The case is expected to be heard on Friday, January 29, 2016.
The fresh suit came on the heels of the dismissal of a similar action by an Accra High Court last Friday.
The High Court, presided over by Justice Patience Mills Tetteh, dismissed the earlier suit indicating that the plaintiffs’ action was an after-thought.
She had argued among others that the said plaintiffs- Joseph Botchway, Jacob Amin, Alhaji Mohammed Mahmoud and Rev Michael Kwabena Nii Adjei Sowah- were not vigilant enough because the processes leading to the election of Dr Zanetor did not happen in a day.
The trial judge said the plaintiffs’ act of coming to the court to seek the annulment of the votes at the constituency was an attempt to twist the arms of the court, adding that it was an abuse of the court process.
However, the plaintiffs in the latest suit asked the court to declare that Dr Zanetor’s election as the parliamentary candidate for the constituency was null and void and of no effect, as same violated the constitution of the NDC and the rules governing the conduct of the 2016 parliamentary elections.
The writ, filed by Gary Nimako Marfo of Sarfo & [email protected], also sought an order of injunction restraining Dr Zanetor, her agents, privies or anyone claiming through her from holding the defendant as the NDC parliamentary candidate for the constituency until the case before the court was disposed of.
The lawyer for the two defeated candidates, aside cost and legal fees against the defendants, also asked the court to order the party to re-run the elections between the plaintiffs in accordance with the NDC’s constitution within one week of the annulment of the election.
The plaintiffs, in their 26-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion for interlocutory injunction, among other things, were incensed the party was endorsing what they described as the “disputed election”.
“The first defendant’s (NDC’s) national and regional officers, who should resolve the disputed election, are themselves complicit in endorsing the violation of the NDC constitution and the rules governing the conduct of parliamentary primaries in Klottey Korle, thereby rendering any internal resolution of the matter impossible.”
According to the affidavit, the court as a matter of law ought to prevent the “illegality from being foisted on the plaintiffs and the constituents of Klottey Korle.”
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson