The NPP elder whose petition led to the suspension of the party’s National Chairman says every effort to get Paul Afoko to listen to wise council failed hence the unprecedented move.
One of the two petitioners, Alhaji Sulemana Yirimea, who moved to get the party chairman suspended, has revealed that a delegation of NPP Council Members tried to prevail on Paul Afoko at the residence of another Council Elder Ama Busia.
“They met 18 times, 18 times to try to bring sanity into the thinking of Afoko but to no avail” Alhaji Sulemana Yirimea explained on Joy FM Super Morning Show Monday.
Paul Afoko became the first National Chairman to be suspended from the party since it was formed in 1992.
The decision was taken last Friday at an emergency National Executive Committee meeting at the party’s headquarters at Asylum Down in Accra.
The party says Paul Afoko failed to answer to two petitions against him at the party’s Disciplinary Committee hence the recommendation to suspend him.
Paul Afoko in smock
Tracing the beginnings of Afoko’s woes, a petitioner Alhaji Sulemana Yirimea said it began soon after National Officers were elected in Tamale in April 2014.
The National Chairman showed signs of things to come when barely five months later in August, the National Chairman and the General Secretary sacked Deputy Communications Director Perry Okudzeto and other party officers.
The decision by the National Chairman was in clear breach of the party’s constitution and laid down structures and conventions, Alhaji Yirimea maintained. But National Council Member said Paul Afoko was forgiven because they thought he was new and bound to make some mistakes.
“We felt because Afoko and the other executives were new to the processes as time went on they would pick up”.
He explained that in the NPP, before any decision to appoint or dismiss any officer, a party officer has to consult, “Get the consensus before you go out there and put it to the public.”
In the case of Perry Okudzeto, the NPP Council Member explained that the party had invested time and money to train him in the UK where he studied party administration.
Often privately, Paul Afoko would agree with the party elder’s advice to refrain from using the media to resolve internal problems but in no time, the chairman would disregard this directive.
There is no personal vendetta against Paul Afoko, Alhaji Yirimea insisted arguing the decision was taken purely in the interest of the party.
Consistently, the NPP Elders heard “outrageous remarks by Afoko and his surrogates, compelling us to take this action”
“If one individual seems to rock the boat, it is better to remove that single person to allow the boat to sail smoothly to success,” the Upper East native stressed.
He said some elders from that region led by the Chairman of the National Council of Elders, CK Tedam, has tried to meet with the Chairman at the regional level since Mr. Afoko also comes from the Upper East but rebuffed their attempts.
According to Alhaji Yirimea, an emisary sent to talk to the Sandema native after he ignored their invitation was told the Chairman was too busy to meet with him.
I have 100 Supreme Court decisions to nulify Paul Afoko’s suspension – lawyer brags
But in response, counsel for the suspended NPP National chairman says basic rules of law were disregarded in the processes that led to the indefinite suspension of his client, Paul Afoko.
Lawyer Martin Kpebu argues it is a fundamental rule that the one who alleges wrongdoing cannot be a judge in the matter.
He maintians that it is not right for the National Council to move to suspend Paul Afoko and also have two of its members on the party’s Disciplinary Committee to hear the case against him.
The two persons, he revealed were Prof. Mike Ocquaye and Ama Busia.
There are over 100 Supreme Court decisions to back this position that “you cannot be a judge in your own court” Kpebu stressed.
Although he brought this to the attention of the Disciplinary Committee he has not received a response to date, Kpebu said.
Counsel for Paul Afoko also argued that even if the suspension is to be accepted, it can only take effect if Afoko fails to appeal within 21 days.
“The decision doesn’t come into effect unless he fails to appeal. We must wait for the 21 days” Kpebu believes.
Article 4 clause 6 (iii) of the NPP Constitution states:
“A Member aggrieved by or dissatisfied with a decision of the National Executive Committee may, within twenty one (21) days of the receipt of the notice of the decision, appeal against it to the National Council by filing an appeal in writing with the General Secretary.
“The National Council shall conclude its deliberations on the appeal within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the appeal and its decision shall be final and binding on all affected parties.”
But the NPP Council Member Alhaji Yirimea drew his attention to a twist in the disciplinary process.
He said it was not the National Council that moved to suspend Paul Afoko. It was two individual officers who activated the process.