Nii Armah Ashitey’s Lawyer Charges
The disputed National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korle, Dr. Zanetor Rawlings, yesterday registered for the first time in the Electoral Commission (EC)’s limited registration exercise, which commenced Thursday, April 28.
She registered at the Nyaniba polling station at Ridge at the early hours of the morning, months after using the Supreme Court to buy time by delaying the High Court judgment from Justice Kwaku Ackaah Boafo.
The acquisition of the card means, she is ready to have the High Court annul her disputed election for a rerun of the NDC Constituency primary to enable her contest as a legitimate member of the party.
Indeed, an obviously excited Zanetor after registering, took a picture of her card and her finger painted with the indelible ink and placed it on facebook.
She is also reported to have immediately written to the Supreme Court, saying she is now a registered voted. It is not clear whether she was expecting the Supreme Court to act retroactively.
But Gary Nimako Marfo, lawyer for Member of Parliament (MP) for Klottey Korle, has said the move by Zanetor, will have no effect on the case brought against her by Nii Armah Ashietey, the incumbent legislator.
In an interview with The Herald, Lawyer Nimako, said the substantive case was that as at the time Zanetor, availed herself to be voted for, she was not qualified per the 1992 Constitution and the NDC’s own guidelines covering last year’s contest.
He insisted that the courts, could only act prospectively and not retroactively.
The NDC’s presidential and parliamentary primary were held on November 21, 2015, while the limited registration exercise was started only yesterday, April 28, 2016.
Her registration yesterday, which was put on social media, Lawyer Nimako, contends was only for propaganda value as it cannot invalidate the arguments in both the High Court and the Supreme Court, that she was not a qualified voter as at the time she contested the election.
It has been revealed in court that, Zanetor’s lawyer, Eduzi Tamakloe, had argued his client was a registered voter, it therefore, baffles Nii Armah Ashietey’s lawyer, why she is again registering when the EC, had advertised that the exercise was for only those who have just turned 18 or have never voted before, because they have never registered to do so.
Nii Armah Ashietey’s lawyer, also questioned whether it is the case that she has done double registration, which the EC has advertised against.
To him, Dr. Rawlings, only managed in this case to use the court to buy herself time by wasting precious time and resources to acquire the voter’s ID.
Lawyer Nimako further argued that yesterday’s move by Zanetor, only vindicated Nii Armah Ashietey, and the EC that she had acted illegally by contesting for the election when she was unqualified.
“All she has succeeded to do is to cast doubt in the minds of Ghanaians on her integrity and sincerity as a politician who is seeking to lead her people”, the lawyer further charged.
Lawyer Nimako on behalf of his client, is praying the court to annul last year’s Korley Klottey Constituency primary so that a fresh election would be held. He is hopeful a rerun is possible.
Dr. Zanetor is under intense pressure, following a suit filed by Nii Armah Ashitey, contesting her eligibility to represent the area in Parliament.
Mr. Ashitey, who lost to Dr. Zanetor in the parliamentary primary last year argued Dr. Zanetor, was not a registered voter in the Constituency at the time of contesting for the primaries.
According to him, this constitutes a serious constitutional breach which demands the daughter of the former President Jerry John Rawlings be disqualified.
Giving credibility to his claim, the EC, issued a letter confirming Dr. Zanetor was not a registered voter.
Contesting the case, she filed a countersuit challenging the capacity of an Accra High Court to hear a case concerning her candidature. The case was adjourned to May 3.
The case is still before the Accra High Court.
Nii Armah Ashitey, a former Greater Accra regional minister, had earlier said “I don’t think going to register when the Electoral Commission opens the register will cure the fault; it will not cure the fault. Our own rules say that no member of the party shall be suitable to contest a primary if that is not a registered voter”.