The flag bearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, and lawyers for the National Democratic Party (NDP) have given the Electoral Commission (EC) a 24-hour ultimatum to rescind its decision to disqualify them from contesting the December 7 presidential election.
Dr Nduom requested a five-minute audience with the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, to explain and rectify any irregularities that caused his disqualification from this year’s elections.
If the EC failed to grant him the request, latest by Thursday, October 13, this year, he said, the PPP would be forced to take legal action against the commission.
In a letter issued in Accra yesterday, the lawyers for the NDP implored the EC to rescind its “purported disqualification and then state the names of the party’s presidential candidate and her running mate on the list of candidates for the 2016 presidential election”.
Nana Konadu and Dr Nduom were, on Monday, disqualified, along with 10 others, for various reasons, ranging from forgery, impersonation and perjury.
But lawyers for Nana Konadu and her running mate, Mr Kodjo Mensah Sosuh, and the NDP have given the EC 24 hours to meet the demands made or face legal action.
The letter, dated October 11, 2016 and addressed to Mrs Osei, emphatically stated: “Please note that if these demands are not met forthwith and in any event within 24 hours of this letter, we have our client’s further instructions to institute legal proceedings against you to compel you to meet the aforesaid demands without further notice or recourse to you.”
Further challenging the EC’s decision to disqualify Nana Konadu, the letter said: “Our clients disagree with you and state that you have no power to proceed in this manner.”
The EC said it was unable to accept Nana Konadu’s nomination forms because the number of subscribers to her forms did not meet the requirements of Regulation 7 (2) of C.I. 94.
It said one subscriber on page 89 of her nomination forms was not a validly registered voter and illegally registered twice and for that reason was on the exclusion list of multiple voters.
But the letter, signed by Mr Ace Anan Ankomah, said “the regulation demands that you shall give an affected candidate the opportunity to make amendments and any alterations necessary, within the stipulated nomination period”.
It said the EC was mandatorily required by its own regulation to first inform the NDP of any development and for that reason “you cannot wait for several days after the statutory period for making the necessary changes has expired before announcing that you are unable to accept nomination forms presented to and received by you”.
The letter further stated that the EC’s decision was required to have been taken and communicated to affected persons within seven days, but it noted that the EC, nonetheless, “waited for 10 days after nominations closed before issuing the press statement under reference”.
It said the discretion entrusted the EC required it to direct itself properly in law by calling its attention to matters it was bound to consider.
“Our clients are convinced that you have not obeyed those rules and must truly be said to have acted illegally and unreasonably,” it continued.
The letter was also addressed to the Chairman of the NDP, Nana Konadu and her running mate, Mr Sosuh.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Dr Nduom said he was certain that the issues could easily be rectified for him to contest in this year’s presidential election.
“This is not a big issue. All I need is a five-minute time with Mrs Osei and it will be resolved,” he added.
Explaining the issues to a large number of his supporters and the media at the party’s headquarters in Accra, Dr Nduom said the circumstances that led to his disqualification were not questions of fraud, as the EC suggested, but were purely administrative errors that could easily be resolved.
“I believe that it is a simple administrative or clerical matter that can be resolved,” he said.
Showing one of the four documents filed, Dr Nduom said it was only two places in the document that sought to have caused the problem.
“The party has reviewed the document and realised that the issues cited by the EC can easily be resolved. All I need is just a five-minute discussion with Mrs Osei to rectify the anomaly,”he said.
He said the party was aware that some political parties that had issues with their documents were called to rectify them, adding that the same platform could also be granted to the PPP to address the problem.
“We know someone has been given up to Thursday to rectify his problem. Another contestant was not able to pay the filing fee in stipulated time and has been cleared to contest the election. All I need is five minutes,” Dr Nduom said.
Meanwhile, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has consoled the 12 presidential aspirants who were disqualified from contesting the December 7 polls.
In a statement signed by the party’s Legal Committee Chairman, Professor Mike Oquaye, the NPP said: “We take note of the decision by the EC to reject the nominations of 12 persons for the 2016 presidential election.”
“In as much as we agree that the right things be done in the management of our elections, we express our sympathies to the candidates whose nominations have been rejected, despite their efforts to meet the requirements of the law,” it noted.
The party also expressed the hope that all legal suits would be handled before the December 7 elections.
The EC, on Monday, October 10, 2016, disqualified 12 presidential aspirants from contesting Election 2016.
This is because a number of the subscribers of the presidential aspirants did not meet the requirements as stipulated in Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 94 meant for the conduct of the elections
Some of the subscribers also sponsored more than one candidate with the same names and voter registration details.
According to the EC, they only changed their signatures.
Source: radioxyzonline.com/with additional files from graphic