The opposition New Patriotic Party may have to brace up for the worse in the coming days as the division threatening its cohesion ahead of the November polls is likely to escalate as the court hearing Mr Paul Afoko’s suspension case prepares to deliver its verdict.
Following the NPP’s victory over its 2nd vice Chairman, Sammy Crabbe, in court, some functionaries of the party have been rejoicing, claiming that, the former Greater Accra Chairman’s defeat is a foretaste of what would befall the suspended National Chairman, Paul Afoko.
However, legal and political pundits hold contrary views. They observed that the impending judgment in the Afoko case will rather portend danger to the NPP’s already ‘fragile situation’ no matter the outcome.
“If Mr. Afoko wins the case, the NPP will be in trouble; if he loses no one can imagine the consequences because of the Kufuor factor,” an astute political commentator cum lawyer told The aL-hAJJ.
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Speaking on condition of anonymity, the commentator told this paper that, many admirers of former President Kufuor support Afoko “because Afoko is believed to be representing Kufuor’s interest so anything you do to Afoko is indirectly to Kufuor.”
“If Afoko wins the case, it means the National Council erred in suspending him and he would have to be reinstated as National Chairman. But, looking at the bad blood between him and Nana Addo, the latter may still want to sideline him ahead of the elections and Afoko may also want to assert his authority … and that is where the trouble will start,” he added.
On the other hand, however, in the event Mr Afoko loses the court case, the political pundit warned that the consequence may even be dire as “he will step up his game to either appeal the judgment or team up with the other members of the Kufuor camp and adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude. They may not participate in the campaign neither will they commit resources to help the campaign. Even more dangerous is the attitude Kufuor’s supporters in the Ashanti region and Afoko’s own supporters in the north will show towards NPP’s campaign.”
Another known political pundit (name withheld) noted that leading members of the NPP could have averted all the troubles in the party “if they had engaged those they suspended to stop them from going to court. Their victory over Sammy Crabbe which they are rejoicing over will do more harm than good to their 2016 campaign. Sammy Crabbe has served notice that he will fight the case till the Supreme Court and that alone should tell you the troubles awaiting the party.”
An Accra High Court last week dismissed a suit brought by the Mr. Sammy Crabbe challenging his suspension by the NPP’s disciplinary committee. The court said the suit was without merit.
According to Justice Sir Dennis Adjei, the National Disciplinary Committee of the party has jurisdiction to hear and punish anyone who had been found to have breached some rules of the party.
But, Mr. Crabbe has said he will appeal the decision and even proceed to the Supreme Court if need be.
“Basically, I disagree with the judge so I shall appeal on the grounds that, I pointed to the fact that as an elected officer, if anybody had any petition against me, Article 43 (D) states very clearly that the person has to go to the national council and not the national disciplinary committee. Nobody is above discipline in the party but processes have to be followed. And I don’t think he ruled on that. There are other things I disagree with him so my lawyers will look at that and we will go on.”
“Elected officers in the party enjoy a certain degree of security of their tenure. It’s very important to their motivation and I believe that is under threat so that’s what I am going for. Others are saying that I went to seek reinstatement as a suspended officer; which is not so because I don’t even recognize that so-called suspension because they don’t even have jurisdiction to do that,” he was quoted in the media to have said.
However, the political pundits observed that “the NPP could have save itself from all these troubles…like I said Afoko’s judgment will even be worse. The NPP created the mess so they should live by it.”