The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has scrapped a requirement that only members in good standing for 10 years can contest in its planned conference to elect a flag bearer.
The decision formed part of an out-of-court settlement the party had with two of its members who sued the party in December last year.
Abdallah Issah, a branch Communication Manager, and James Kabu Nartey-Oman, a branch Secretary in the Bortianor/Ngleshie Amanfro Constituency of the NDC, sued the party as an entity over some of its decisions, including the eligibility criteria for applicants for the presidential candidacy.
The terms of settlement also included the scrapping of a requirement that an aspirant vying for the flag bearer slot must show that he or she had contributed to the party substantially.
The two parties, among other things, also agreed that a new date for election “shall be fixed in accordance with the relevant provisions of the NDC’s constitution’’, and that the election “shall be held in accordance with the NDC’s constitution and in a free and fair manner’’.
Suit struck out
In view of the out-of-court settlement, the Accra High Court, presided over by Mrs Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, yesterday adopted the terms of settlement as the consent judgement and accordingly struck out the suit as withdrawn.
Counsel for the NDC, Mr Samuel Cudjoe, told the court that the two parties reached an agreed on the terms of settlement on January 14, 2019.
In response, lawyer for the plaintiffs, Mr Christopher King, submitted that his clients had indeed agreed to the terms of settlement and were willing to discontinue the case.
The legal challenge by the two plaintiffs put a cloud of uncertainty on the presidential primary which was initially slated for January 26, 2019.
After filing the suit, the plaintiffs secured an interim injunction on the primary.
It was their case that the guidelines for the conduct of the presidential candidates’ elections ought to have been made in accordance with Article 42 (f) of the NDC constitution, which provides that “the National Executive Committee in consultation with the National Council of Elders shall issue guidelines on the election of a presidential candidate based on the provisions of this article”.
According to the plaintiffs, the guidelines, which were released on November 29, 2018 via the National Executive Committee, were not based on the provisions of Article 42 of the NDC constitution and for that reason should be declared null and void.
They wanted an order from the court directing the NDC to conduct the election in a free, fair, transparent and inclusive manner in accordance with the NDC’s constitution.
Meanwhile, the NDC had to postpone its flag bearer election slated for Saturday, January 26, pending the outcome of the case.
A Deputy General Secretary in charge of Operations of the NDC, Mr Peter Boamah Otokunor, who confirmed this to the Daily Graphic, said a new date would soon be announced by the party following an amicable settlement of the case out of court.
Both the plaintiffs and defendants had agreed on an out-of-court settlement when they appeared before an Accra High Court on Monday, January 14.
The plaintiffs had followed the suit with an application for a 10-day interim injunction, which was granted by the Accra High Court, presided over by Mrs Justice Mensah-Datsa.
The NDC replied and filed a motion for the court to set the interim injunction aside, with an argument that the plaintiffs had failed to exhaust the internal mechanism for redress as stipulated by the party’s constitution before rushing to court.