..For Daughter’s Political Ambition
By Cecil Mensah
For decades, Ghanaians were made to believe that, probity and accountability meant a lot to the Rawlings’, but recent developments, since Dr. Zenator Rawlings, showed interest in the Klottey Korley parliamentary seat of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), have revealed the party’s founder as having engaged in mere sloganeering.
The Herald’s investigations, have it that ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, who doubles as the NDC’s Council of Elders Chairman, has not found it expedient to respond to a two-page petition filed by some party loyalists over the eligibility of his first daughter to represent them in Parliament.
So far, there are two lawsuits hanging on the neck of Dr. Zenator with the courts being asked to disqualify her as the NDC’s parliamentary candidate for the 2016 elections.
Nii Armah Ashittey and Nii John Coleman, who contested the parliamentary primaries, filed a joint suit at an Accra High Court against the Electoral Commission (EC) and Zanetor, challenging her eligibility to contest for a parliamentary seat.
An earlier suit filed by registered party members in the Constituency, was dismissed by an Accra High Court, however, the members filed for an appeal at the Court of Appeal, and are not likely to give up soon, despite threats of dismissal from the Greater Accra Regional Organizer of the NDC, Anthony Nukpenu.
Ironically, the same NDC, had failed to address concerns raised in the several petitions sent to it by the same individuals ahead of their lawsuits.
The latest petition filed by Grassroots Supporters Network of Klottey Korle, was sent to Mr. Rawlings on December 28, 2015. It was delivered at the Ridge residence of the ex-President, but since that time, he has not replied or even acknowledged receipt of the petition.
In the petition, the Grassroots Supporters Network stated that “we believe we can count on your deep sense of appreciation for due process, probity and accountability to seek redress for what we strongly believe to be a democratic gaffe that may spark off damming mimicry of our great party and tarnish the high reputation that you, our revered founder and others have worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to establish”.
It said “we seek to prompt you on the consequences of this gaffe that may tarnish your own image and renders useless the high ideals you stand for and on which this great party was built”.
“Revered Founder of the great NDC, as we went into the party’s primaries of November 2015 to elect a flagbearer and parliamentary aspirants to represent us in the upcoming general elections in 2016, the party did so as one big family under the umbrella. We did so as comrades on the same side of the political war. We did so Sir, as social democrats united by a common vision. We did so in the hope of leading a stable democracy together from victory onto victory. And we did this riding on the back of the ideals on which this party was established – Probity and Accountability”.
They went on “the Klottey Korle primaries was to be conducted in line with the laid down procedures contained in the document – GUIDELINES FOR THE ELECTIONS OF NDC PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES FOR THE 2016 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. ‘The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure free, fair, credible and transparent elections”, however, that was not to be since certain important portions of this document were not followed, tainting the outcome of the elections in the constituency and further causing disaffection among the ranks of the party in the Klottey Korle constituency”.
They told Mr. Rawlings “Sir, even before the vetting that commenced the main election process, the rank and file of the party in the constituency and at the national level learnt with surprise the decision by Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings to contest for the Klottey Korle seat on NDC’s ticket because she was generally unknown to the ranks of the party in the constituency. She had never attended any branch meeting let alone constituency meetings. She did not have a party registration card. Her name was not in the constituency’s books and her dues had not been coming to the constituency. Her participation in our politics was in doubt and we questioned her interest in the parliamentary seat but we left our doubt with the Regional Vetting Committee who also woefully failed to address our concerns”.
The Guidelines stipulated certain requirements that we believed if had been followed could have corrected the wrongs that Dr. Zanetor’s candidature threatens to engulf our great party in at the moment, “A person wishing to contest to be a parliamentary candidate of the party must: – Be known and Active member of a branch of the party in the constituency.
According to them, “this very important aspect of the Guidelines was ignored by the National Vetting Committee when they cleared Dr. Zanetor Rawlings to contest the elections; because we in the Klottey Korle NDC know very well that she does not belong to any of the branches. She had never attended a branch meeting in the constituency prior to her announcement of contesting on the party’s ticket.
– Must be qualified in accordance with the 1992 constitution to be elected as Member of Parliament.
Sir, as Article 94 of the constitution makes clear; a person does not qualify to contest for parliamentary office if that person is not a registered voter. The rank and file of the party feel aggrieved to learn that Dr. Zanetor Rawlings who could not vote in the very elections she contested is not a registered voter on the Electoral Commission’s National Voters register. The very register based on which the NDC biometric register was complied”.
“However, Sir, we don’t seek to attack the person of Dr. Zanetor Rawlings, neither are we in anyway undermining her involvement in our politics. What we seek to do with this petition Sir, is to draw your attention to this blunder and seek your wisdom and reverence to ensure that the proper thing is done. We seek to indulge on your conscience to speak against such anomaly and insist that it is corrected”.
To them, “If Dr. Zanetor truly qualified to contest the elections, we would have done nothing aside throwing all of our support behind her to retain for us the parliamentary seat in Klottey Korle. We would have rallied behind her just as we would for any qualified member of our party, but we seek to correct the wrongs so that we don’t set the wrong precedents for the future generations that will only build on the foundations we lay today.
They concluded that “we believe that you are a just man who will look above family and personal interest for the general good of the party and the people of Ghana since you have over the years demonstrated strong commitment to due process and accountability. We are of the conviction that you will not support schemes that seek to bend the law to favor a few privileged persons against the general interest of the NDC and Ghana. We pray that you will address these concerns with urgency to foster the needed unity required by the party to win next year’s elections in the Klottey Korle Constituency”.
Meanwhile, lawyer for Dr. Zanetor, has suggested that the recent suit filed against his client by the current MP Nii Armah Ashittey, was done in retaliation, because he lost the primary.
According to Godwin Tamakloe, Nii Armah Ashittey and Nii John Coleman, did not raise objections to the candidature of Zanetor before she won the primary in November.
“My client has always believed that she won a free and fair election, she’s more than qualified, she has been qualified by the vetting committee of the NDC,” he said on CitiFM’s Eyewitness News on Friday.
“There has never been any petition from Nii Armah or John Coleman challenging her eligibility. If the two gentlemen had won the election against her, would they be in court? In law there’s something called good faith, you have to do things right”.
Mr. Tamakloe, who coincidentally is NDC Deputy Youth Organizer of the Greater Accra Region, believes that the crusade against his client by the incumbent MP, who will be unseated at the polls in November, would be as unsuccessful as the one before it, as her win in the polls was “free and fair.”
“We want the proper thing to be done. Once it is, we will make ourselves available to the court,” he stated.
“She was qualified to contest the primary and won against the incumbent hands down”.