Lawyers for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have filed a motion at the Human Rights Court in Accra praying the court to dismiss a suit brought against the leadership of the party including the presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
According to the motion filed by Nana Obiri Boahen of Enso Nyame Ye Chambers, who is also the Deputy General Secretary of the NPP, the court ought to set aside or dismiss the statement of claim and all processes so far filed, including the application for interlocutory injunction.
The NPP lawyers argued that the applicants -Tweneboa Kodua Emmanuel, Stephen Owusu and Joseph Oppong – all from the Ashanti Region – among other things, lacked capacity, failed to disclose cause of action, abused the legal process and non-compliance with the provisions or requirements of the NPP Constitution as amended on 22nd August, 2009.
The three supporters of Paul Afoko, the suspended National Chairman of the party, had filed a motion for interlocutory injunction at the Human Rights Division of the High Court citing Nana Akufo-Addo and 29 other party bigwigs as defendants.
Notable among the party officials are Freddie Blay, First Vice-Chairman acting as Chairman and members of the National Executive Committee (NEC); former President John Agyekum Kufuor 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. Tedam, Chairman of the NPP’s Council of Elders.
The applicants 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), who is supposed to be the convener of those meetings.
The three, among other reliefs, are also asking the court to restrain the defendants from taking decisions in any meeting not convened by Afoko until the suit is finally determined.
In an affidavit in support of the motion, lawyers for the applicants stated that Mr Afoko 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 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.
But the lawyers for the defendants disagree, insisting that apart from the fact that the entire action is moot, the plaintiffs/respondents do not have the capacity to mount the action.
Nana Obiri Boahen further alleged that the plaintiffs are not paid-up members of the NPP, stressing that they are bereft of capacity to mount the action.
While stressing that the reliefs being sought for do not disclose any course of action directly affecting the applicants, the NPP lawyers contended that “assuming that the National Executive Committee (NEC) held a meeting on the day in question, the applicants cannot in law be held individually responsible for whatever took place.”
They said, “Since the plaintiffs/respondents are not the direct beneficiaries of whatever decision is to be considered by the Honourable Court, the present action is wrong in law and same unsustainable/unmaintainable.”
In the view of Obiri Boahen, the action is premature, moot and also an abuse of Article 4(6)(c) of the NPP Constitution which states that “A member aggrieved by or dissatisfied with a decision of the National Executive Committee may within twenty-one days of the Notice of the decision appeal against it to the National Council by filing an appeal in writing with the General Secretary. The National Council shall conclude its deliberations on the appeal within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the appeal and its decision shall be final and binding on all affected.”
The NPP Deputy General Secretary said the applicants had not made use of the said provision, adding that “the reliefs being sought for are the same reliefs which one Mr Oppong Kyekyeku did pray for and same was dismissed by the High Court, Accra, on 4th November, 2015.”
Obiri Boahen was emphatic that the plaintiffs are not agents, servants, assigns or privies of Mr Afoko. “They are hired agents who are political mercenaries,” he posited.