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Wontumi's challenge Mahama's eligibility is ploy divert attention

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Ashanti Regional Deputy Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mathew Kojo Njourkone,
Ashanti Regional Deputy Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mathew Kojo Njourkone,

The Ashanti Regional Deputy Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mathew Kojo Njourkone, has described the attempt by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Mr Bernard Antwi Boasiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi to challenge the eligibility of former president John Dramani Mahama to contest the next presidential election as a ploy to divert attention from the failures of the government.

He said the NPP made mouth-watering promises to the electorates but now finding it very difficult honouring those promises.

And as a strategy to divert the attention of the public from the holding the government accountable, the party was finding ways to keep the public busy and not to ask questions.

In an interview with Graphic Online, Mr Njourkone said the NPP was becoming aware of the anger of the people as result of the untold hardship the government has brought on the people, "and Wontumi trying to be swift, is using this as a leeway to divert attention of the people from the woeful failure and bad rule of the Akufo Addo's government."

He said the people of Ghana could read in between the lines and "can see through the deceits and no serious Ghanaian will be swayed by his tricks."

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Interpretation

Last week, Chairman Wontumi declared his intention to invoke the powers of the Supreme Court to seek the interpretation of Article 66 to contest the eligibility of former President John Mahama to recontest as President.

According to him, since President Mahama completed the term of office of late Prof John Atta Mills and his own four years of office, he was deemed to have exhausted his term of office and as such should not be allowed to contest again.

However, Mr Njourkone said Article 66 of the 1992 Constitution was very unambiguous on the tenure and term of office of the president.

He said article 66 (i) "answers that a presidential term is four years starting from the date one is sworn in as president and also Article 66(2) states that 'a president shall not hold office for more than two terms' ".

According to him, clause (7) of the said article should be enough to clear all doubts about the eligibility of former president to run again as president.

Article 66(7) states that 'Where the unexpired term served by the vice president exceeds half the term of a president, the Vice president is subsequently only eligible to serve one full term as president.'

"These constitutional provisions are clear cut and carry no ambiguity," he said and explained that former President Mahama did not serve even half of the term of Prof Mills' term.

He said it was a known fact former President Mahama served only six months of the unexpired term of late Prof Mills, from July 24, 2012, to January 7, 2013.