21 January 2006

Commotion In CPP

Commotion In CPP

Saturday, 21 January 2006
ImageThe dismissal of three of the CPP’s Members of Parliament has stirred constitutional crisis in the party, which was founded by Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The three MPs are Dr, Paa Kwesi Nduom, MP for Komenda- Edina – Eguafo- Abirim, Mr. Kojo Armah, MP for Evalue- Gwira and Freddie Blay the first deputy speaker and MP for Ellembelle.

A source close to the national executive of the party said the central committee of the party took the decision at its meeting in Kumasi on Thursday night, in reaction to calls by the three MPs on the national leadership of the party to step down or submit themselves to early elections.

When the issue came out, 17 out of the 21 national executive members voted in favour of the harder option of expulsion, while three called for suspension.

Before the expulsion, the three were accused of continuously maligning the leadership and flouting the rules and regulations of the party, to the extent of calling on the entire leadership to step down.

The trio were also accused of publicly campaigning against the party’s 2004 presid3ntial candidate, Mr. George Aggudey, and working for the NPP to win the elections at the expense of the CPP.

It said the central committee had referred the matter to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the party under the chairmanship of Mr. Riley Poku on the next step to take, and would accordingly inform the Speaker of Parliament for it.

It said the rank and file of the party were incensed by the reckless utterances and misbehavior of the MPs and had blame the leadership of the party for being adamant in dealing ruthlessly with the three.

The action has, however, triggered more trouble for the troubled party, with Mr. Blay describing the decision as ‘untenable and without merit.

‘ I have the mandate of my constituents to be in Parliament for four years and it is not right for the central committee of the CPP to expel me when I have not committed any crime.

‘ I am still a member of the party and it is only when I decide to quit or join another party while in Parliament that I can constitutionally be expelled from the CPP,’ he said.

He indicated that his next reaction would come when the central committee’s action was officially communicated to him.

Dr. Nduom, who also holds a position in the current government as the Public Sector Reforms minister said he was not aware of any meeting at which the members voted to have him and his two other colleagues representing the party in the House expelled.

Dr. Nduom said normally central committee meetings were held at the headquarters of the party in Accra.

‘So I am surprised that this time it was held in Kumasi and also I was not informed as usual.

‘ That is strange and not normal. That is all I can say for now”, he said.

Dr. Nduom said he and the two others would respond appropriately when they had officially been served with a letter to that effect.

The political dimensions of the ragging impasse are still not clear but an expert in constitutional matters has described the whole issue as dicey as far as the 1992 Constitution is concerned.

Article 97 (1g) of the 1992 Constitution states “ A Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament if he leaves the party of which he was a member at the time of his election to Parliament to join another party or seeks to remain in Parliament as an independent member.”

The objective of article 97 (1g), according to the expert was to prevent the three MPs from crossing the carpet in Parliament after they had ridden on shoulders of a particular party for election into the House.

He said provision also suggested that the MP who so wished to leave the party must do so voluntarily but pointed out that in the case of the three CPP MPs, there was no such voluntary decision to leave the party.

Accordingly the three MPs could contest their expulsion in court and also file an application at the Supreme Court for an interpretation of Article 97 (1g) of the Constitution. The expert said until the Supreme Court had so determined the case, the three could still hold themselves up as representatives of the CPP in Parliament.
Source: Daily Graphic

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