Scores of supporters of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Monday, stormed the Accra High Court to throw their support behind some five courageous assemblymen, seeking for the removal of the embattled Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for La Nkwantanang–Madina, Jennifer Dede Afagbedzi, whose legitimacy is being challenged in court.
The party loyalists, who besieged the court premises, told the media that their presence was to encourage the plaintiffs that the electorates whom they represent at the Assembly, are firmly behind their action and the bold step taken to correct the illegality which has been perpetuated against their will.
At the hearing, the injunction application against the MCE to step aside did not come on, because her lawyer, pleaded the court that he had not received the supplementary affidavit filed by the plaintiffs and therefore, the case should be adjourned.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer on the other hand, also informed the court that the 4th defendant which is the Attorney General, had not served them early enough and for that matter, agreed on adjournment.
The trial judge, having listened to both sides adjourned the sitting to August 29 for the hearing of the applications.
The MCE, who is said to be the ‘Darling Girl’ of some powerful top officials at the seat of government, the Flagstaff House, has been dragged to court by the assemblymen, following a daylight electoral fraud including “over voting” that got her approved as the MCE.
Joined to the suit as co-defendants with the ‘illegal MCE’, Ms. Jennifer Afagbedzi, are, Municipal Assembly, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and the Attorney-General (A-G), as 1st Defendant , 2nd Defendant, 3rd Defendant and 4th Defendant; respectively.
The five assembly members were led by their Presiding Member, Alhaji Fuseini Ibrahim Faila, seeking an order from the court to restrain the MCE.
They also want an order of certiorari, quashing the meeting that led to the “unlawful confirmation” of Ms. Afagbedzi.
The plaintiffs are; Alhaji Fuseini Ibrahim Faila, Presiding Member (PM), Abdul Rahman Rahim –Chairman of Finance and Administration Sub-committee, Ishmael Braima Blay – Chairman for Social Service Committee, Abdul Aziz Yakubu – Chairman of Development Planning Committee and Choro Adams–Works Sub-Committee.
In the writ, the plaintiffs argued that the meeting during which Ms Afagbedzi was confirmed was not convened and presided over by the Presiding Member, Alhaji Ibrahim Falia, as prescribed by Article 244 of the 1992 Constitution.
Article 244 clause 3 (a) states: “The Presiding Member shall preside over the meetings of the assembly.’’
The said meeting, they argued, also violated the Local Government Act and the standing orders of the assembly and was, therefore, illegal. The hearing of the case is fixed for August 15, 2017.
The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the convening of the meeting that led to the confirmation “by some other person rather than the Presiding Member is a violation of the laws of Ghana and, therefore, unlawful, null and void’’.
As part of the suit, the plaintiffs have also filed an application for interlocutory injunction seeking to restrain Ms Afagbedzi from holding herself as the MCE, pending the final determination of the case.
It is the case of the five assembly members that on July 12, 2017, the Presiding Member in line with his duties convened a meeting of the 13 assembly members for the confirmation of Ms Afagbezdi, who was President Akufo-Addo’s nominee for MCE.
At the said meeting, they claimed, Ms Afagbedzi, secured eight out of the 13 votes, falling short of the required two-thirds majority prescribed by law.
In view of this, the plaintiffs, said the Presiding Member, brought the meeting to a close and the assembly members dispersed.
The five assembly members, however, aver that on the same day, some individuals claiming to be acting on instructions of the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, “reconvened and purported to hold another meeting to confirm Ms Afagbedzi.”
“The said meeting was not convened and chaired by the Presiding Member as prescribed by law,’’ the plaintiffs stated in their statement of claims.
Upon hearing about the meeting, the plaintiffs said they rushed to the meeting, but the Presiding Member was “prevented from chairing the meeting.’’
At the meeting itself the five assembly members claimed Ms Afagbedzi had nine votes “amid protests from the assembly members present.’’
The said alleged illegality was perpetrated through the involvement and intimidation of assembly members by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) activist, Hopeson Yaovi Adorye, who led thugs belonging to the party’s Invincible Forces to cause chaos on the confirmation day.
With the backing from the Municipal Coordinating Director of the Assembly and in the full glare of the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Elizabeth Sackey, who allegedly supported the electoral irregularity, the NPP thugs took over the helm of affairs to ensure the agenda of electoral fraud to get the Ms Afagbedzi approved, was achieved.
Journalists were sacked from venue of the confirmation process to prevent them from reporting on the illegality that occurred.
Ms Afagbedzi, is said to have grown lean over the issue due to sleeplessness.