Like Pontius Pilate, the Electoral Commission (EC) says it has washed its hands of this Saturday’s presidential primaries of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The EC, which was dragged to the Supreme Court by the NDC over alleged irregularities, pulled out of the party’s internal primaries, following the suit filed by Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, seeking to restrain the NDC and the EC from holding the May 13 polls.
Led by its Chairperson, who was at the center of the 2021 presidential petition by the NDC, Jean Adukwei Mensah, the EC met with the leadership of the NDC and agents of the aspirants over the decision it had taken.
Madam Jean Mensah has since told the Johnson Asiedu Nketiah-chaired NDC to settle the legal differences before the Commission can supervise the primaries.
She explained that the Commission did not want to incur the wrath of the court by disrespecting its authority, considering that the EC had been duly served with the writ.
“Yesterday, we were served with an Application for Interlocutory Injunction seeking to restrain the Commission from supervising the conduct of the Presidential and Parliamentary Primaries due to the alleged anomalies with the register,” said Jean Mensah.
She added that, “in order that we are not cited for contempt, the Commission has taken the decision not to supervise the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary elections until after the determination of the case by the court.”
On Tuesday, the former Minister for Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, who is aspiring to lead the NDC as the presidential candidate for 2024, filed a writ against the presidential primaries slated for Saturday.
Part of the suit was an interlocutory injunction restraining the party and the EC from conducting the presidential primaries, an application that is to be moved on Monday, May 15, 2023.
At the time of filing this report yesterday, the legal team of the NDC had also filed an application for an abridgement of time, for the injunction application to be moved today or tomorrow, Friday.
The two main defendants in the suit, the NDC and the EC, have confirmed that they have been duly served, making it impossible for the electoral process to continue until the suit is set aside.
The Plaintiff, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, claimed in his suit that the voter register for the polls on Saturday has been bloated.
He alleged that of the 220 constituencies’ register given to them, some 74,779 names, described as an “exceptional list,” could not be verified due to “scanty information provided about them.”
His lawyers, Opoku Amponsah & Co., indicated at paragraph 22 of the statement of claim that “the plaintiff avers that for no reason, 3,910 eligible voters in the 220 constituencies have been disenfranchised.”
According to paragraph 27, the register put out by the second respondent, the Elections Committee, with the approval of the first defendant, the General Secretary of the NDC, would “compromise the integrity of the elections and very much to the detriment of the plaintiff.”
Dr. Duffuor is seeking a declaration that the register for the internal primaries on Saturday is “inaccurate and incomplete.”
He also wants an order directing the NDC to prepare and deliver a complete and accurate photo album register to him and the two other aspirants, John Mahama and Kojo Bonsu, at least five weeks ahead of the elections to enable them to verify the list.
“An injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd and 5th (EC) defendants from conducting the internal presidential elections of the NDC on May 13, 2023 pending compliance with relief (b) [above] supra.”
Meanwhile, the Director of Legal Affairs of the NDC, Abraham Amaliba, has described the suit as “frivolous, vexatious, and an attempt to thwart the efforts of the party in the organisation of the primaries.”
He said on Asempa radio yesterday that the action was mischievous and targeted at embarrassing the party, explaining that their issue could be resolved amicably without injuncting the process.