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Court case ‘forces’ NDC to review presidential primary guidelines

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has agreed to declare its guidelines for the presidential primaries null and void.

This was contained in a document spelling out the terms of a settlement between lawyers for the NDC and two plaintiffs [party members] who secured an interim injunction against the party over what they termed as unlawful election guidelines set by the party.

The two party members, Abdallah Issah, a branch Communication Manager and James Kabu Nartey-Oman, a branch Secretary in the Bortianor/Ngleshie Amanfro Constituency of the NDC, went to court to challenge the rules and guidelines set for the presidential primaries.

The two in their statement of claim had raised concerns about the party’s filing fees before they were reviewed.

The document, which was submitted to a High Court in Accra is expected to pave way for the commencement of the party’s presidential primary.

“The parties agree that the election shall be held in accordance with Defendant’s constitution and in a free fair and transparent manner”.

Other terms agreed upon

The parties agree that the condition in the guidelines as amended requiring a person aspiring to be a presidential candidate to be a paid member for 10 years shall no longer apply.

The parties agree that the requirement in the guidelines as amended to the effect that an aspirant must show substantial contributions to the defendant shall no longer apply.

Finally the parties agree that a new date for the primaries shall be fixed in accordance with the relevant constitutional provisions of the National Democratic Congress.

Background 

The NDC, and its two members who secured an injunction against the party’s decided to settle the matter out of court.

The court presided over by Justice Georgina Mensah Datsa earlier ordered the two parties to file their terms of the settlement in three days.

Following the court action, all processes towards the primary including vetting of presidential aspirants had been halted.

Among other things, the complainants were unhappy about the fact that a particular rule which states that one has to be a member of the party for ten years before contesting for the presidential primaries had been breached.

The lawyers for the NDC had argued that most of the issues raised have been dealt with internally.

They noted that the initial filing fee of GH¢400,000 had now been reduced to GH¢300,000.

In the writ, which was issued on December 18, 2018, the plaintiffs wanted a declaration that the published guidelines for the conduct of the primary by the NDC in 2019 were null and void.

The applicants were also seeking a declaration that the introduction of specific eligibility criteria as conditions for presidential candidates were at odds with the letter and spirit of the NDC Constitution.

They also wanted the court to declare that the procedure adopted by the NDC via the National Executive Committee (NEC), in the preparation and presentation of the guidelines, together with the amendments without prior consultation of the National Council of Elders, were unlawful.

They also sought for a further order directing the NDC to conduct its 2019 presidential election in a free, fair, transparent and inclusive manner in accordance with the NDC constitution was also sought.

 

 

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