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CPP in turmoil - Legal fraternity to the rescue

BY: Albert K. Salia & Benjamin Xornam Glover
Nana Yaa Jantuah — General Secretary, CPP
Nana Yaa Jantuah — General Secretary, CPP

The legal fraternity of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has stepped in to resolve the confusion in the party in the past couple of weeks.

The fraternity, chaired by Bright Akwettey, who is a former chair of the Legal Committee of the party, yesterday wrote to the Council of Elders of the party to intervene in the raging confusion that has rocked the party.

Party in disarray

Mr Akwettey told the Daily Graphic that the issues involved were legal, especially if the Central Committee (CC) could suspend the General Secretary and the other officers.

He said it was the considered view of the fraternity that the CC made a mistake in suspending the officers, hence the need for the Elders to come in.

The CPP appears to be in disarray after Nana Sarpong-Kumankumah issued interdiction letters against the first National Chairman, Onzy Nkrumah; the General Secretary, Nana Yaa Akyempim Jantuah, and the National Youth Organiser, Osei Kofi Acquah.

The decision to suspend the three was allegedly taken at a CC meeting of the party last Friday, but the eight elected national executive members have indicated that the alleged meeting was illegal and did not also form a quorum.

It has also emerged that out of the nine members elected national executive, eight are united against the National Chairperson, Nana Akosua Frimpomaa Sarpong-Kumankumah, because they feel she did not garner the required votes to be chairperson

The eight are Onzy Nkrumah; second vice-chairman, Emmanuel K. Orgbojor; third vice-chairman, John B. Daniels; Nana Yaa Jantuah; National Treasurer, Emmanuel Opare Addo; the National Organiser, Mr Yirimambo Moses Ambing; the National Women’s Organiser, Aisha Sulley Futa, and Osei Kofi Acquah.

Legal fraternity

Based on the ensuing brouhaha, the legal fraternity of the party met last Monday to see how it could resolve the issues and bring calm to the party.

Some members of the fraternity are Samuel Kodjoe, George Ankomah Mensah, Kwame Dadzoe, Charles Tandoh and Kwame Botsio.

Undertones

Mr Akwettey explained that there were underlying issues in which the chairperson had been accused of not getting the 50+1 votes to be declared winner but rather got 43 per cent of total valid votes cast.

Per a provision of Article 93 of the CPP Constitution, “A candidate for election to the office of National Chairperson and Leader shall be deemed to have been duly elected if more than 50 per cent of the members of congress present and voting voted in his favour.

“Where, at the election of the National Chairperson and Leader, there are more than two candidates and no candidate obtains the votes specified in Clause (e) of this article, another election shall be held between the two candidates who obtained the highest number of votes to select the winner.”

Mr Akwettey said the chairperson appears to be defending herself by suspending the general secretary and the two others.

Quorum

A statement signed on behalf of the eight elected national executive members by Mr Ambing said Nana Sarpong-Kumankumah was the subject of a matter in court to prevent her from holding herself out as the chairperson of the CPP or from involving herself in any official activities of the party.

“Therefore, she was not legally entitled to call for any unlawful, unconstitutional meeting of any Party Central Committee, as she wrongly did in clear contempt of court.

“It must be put on record that the illegal meeting on April 1, 2022 was without the knowledge or consent of any of the duly elected eight national executive of the CPP,” it stated.

Settlement

On the alleged out-of-court settlement, the statement said the settlement was entered into without the notice of the functional national leadership.

“All eight national officers unanimously rejected the terms of settlement and decided to set aside the settlement in the court of law. We, therefore, find it surprising why the illegal central committee meeting decided to be selective in interdicting only three out of the eight national executive who have all opposed the out-of-court settlement,” it said.

The statement urged all members of the party and the public to disregard the purported illegal interdiction of the three national executive members and treat it with the contempt it deserved.

Background

Mr Nkrumah, in March this year, filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of the chairman position.

The suit was on the grounds that Nana Sarpong-Kumankumah did not poll the mandatory 50 per cent +1 vote in the August 22, 2020 elections.

According to him, the chairman polled 43 per cent of the votes, making her ineligible to be declared winner of the top race.

Nana Yaa

Quoting Article 82 of the CPP constitution, Ms Jantuah said an elected national officer might be suspended from office by two-thirds (2/3) majority of the CC if the latter deemed it fit in the supreme interest of the party to do so.

She alleged that the CC meeting that took the said decision was illegally constituted because they did not have the numbers to constitute a quorum.

According to her, the full complement of CC was 56, and to meet the quorum, it needed 37 members.

She, however, indicated that the said meeting that took the decision had only 24 members.

“Even with that one, the Chairperson of the CPP had to swear in two members illegally to shore up the numbers, so typically they had 22 members present at the said meeting,” she said.

Unconstitutional

Nana Jantuah said apart from the lack of quorum, the CC that took the decision failed to write to the affected persons, as stipulated in the party’s constitution.

Quoting Article 82 of the CPP Constitution, she said any proposal for such a decision to be taken shall be proposed in writing by a member of the CC and seconded by a member of the CC.

She indicated that the party’s constitution directs that any proposal for such a decision to be taken as stipulated in Article 81(c) shall be made by a member of the National Executive Council and seconded by a member of the NEC.

She explained that the constitution of the party required that the proposal for the removal of a nationally elected officer shall be given in the form of a notice, one month prior to the meeting.