Zanetor vs Ashitey case: Long battle ahead (Page 17)
The Accra High Court has adjourned the case in which the eligibility of Dr Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate for the Klottey Korle Constituency in Accra for the 2016 elections is being challenged.
The presiding judge, Mr Justice Kweku Ackaah Boafo, told the court that he had received a letter from Mr Gary Nimako Marfo, the counsel for the plaintiffs, asking for the adjournment of the case to March 9, 2016.
Two other contenders in the race—Nii Armah Ashitey, the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency and Nii John Coleman, an aspirant in the primaries, are claiming Dr Rawlings is not a registered voter and therefore not qualified to be elected as a parliamentary candidate for the NDC.
Other parties joined to the suit are the NDC and the Electoral Commission (EC).
The judge declined to disclose the content of the letter received from Mr Marfo but asked Mr Edudzi Tamakloe, counsel for Dr Agyeman Rawlings, if he had knowledge of the letter.
He confirmed seeing a copy of the letter and agreed to the adjournment.
Information received by the Daily Graphic indicated that the letter asked for the adjournment because of alleged threats on the life of Mr Marfo who asked for time to make security arrangements for himself, his workplace and family.
NDC not served
While other parties were not in court, the NDC was represented by its Deputy National Organiser, Mr Joshua Akamba, who told the court that the party had not been served the writ of the case.
“We have only heard it on radio that we are party in this matter,” he told the court.
But Mr Justice Boafo pointed out that it was on his records that the party had advised people not to receive the writ hence the plaintiff had come for an order for substituted service.
The court allows a substituted service when it becomes difficult to serve a party in a suit personally by leaving the documents with an adult resident of the home of the person to be served, with an employee with management duties at the office of an individual among others.
When asked if the party would receive the writ, Mr Akamba responded positively and said that could be done in the party office.
A long legal battle
Meanwhile, Mr Tamakloe, counsel for Dr Agyeman Rawlings, has filed a motion for stay of proceedings at the High Court on the substantive case, as he heads to the Court of Appeal to appeal the dismissal of his client’s case that sought to throw out a suit that is challenging her eligibility as the NDC parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korle.
The motion for stay of proceedings would also be heard on March 9, 2016.
The High Court on February 22, 2016 dismissed the case describing it as unmeritorious.
The latest development draws a long legal battle, between Dr Agyeman Rawlings and her opponents, ahead of the 2016 elections which some observers see as an attempt to tie the hands of the opponents of Dr Rawlings until the Electoral Commission (EC) opens the limited registration exercise in April.
Media reports have it that the EC has written to the court stating that Dr Agyeman Rawlings was not registered voter.
A similar case brought against Dr Rawlings was dismissed by the High Court on January 15, this year, because the plaintiffs in the case—Mr Joseph Botchway and three others—lacked locus.
The plaintiffs, who are four executive members of the NDC in the constituency, had argued that Dr Rawlings was not a registered voter in the constituency and, therefore, did not qualify to have been in the contest.
· Dr Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings won the NDC primaries on November 21, 2015.
· Nii Amarh Ashitey and Nii John Coleman her two opponents went to court in January this year to contest her eligibility.
· Dr Zanetor Rawlings suffered a temporary setback in the courtroom on February 22, 2016 when the Accra High Court dismissed her case that sought to throw out a suit that was challenging her eligibility.