Expectedly, social media has been awashed with interesting opinions following the disqualification of two aspirants for the National Youth Organizer post. Reason(s) for the duo’s disqualification is/are sketchy. However, it appears their disqualification was grounded on article 40(2) of the NDC constitution and Regulation 12(ix) as approved by the National Executive Committee of the Party.
To best understand what is actually happening, it is important to reproduce article 40(2), it states “a member of the party is not qualified to vie for a National Executive position unless the member has held an EXECUTIVE POSITION within the party or government before seeking election”. In formulating it’s guidelines for the conduct of the impending election, NEC, sought to explain what constitutes “executive position” as used in article 40(2).
What we must know is that NEC has power under article 53(2)(b) to formulate regulations (guidelines) “to provide general directions for the conduct of Party elections”. In line with this, Regulation 12(ix) was introduced as follows “…EXECUTIVE POSITION means full term of four (4) years from constituency and above or a minimum of two (2) years of article 71 office holders” (emphasis is mine).
What the above simply means is that NEC defined EXECUTIVE POSITION to exclude positions held at the branch, Ward and government appointees, save article 71 office holders like former MPs, former ministers and deputies. So for intance, if Kofi served as District Chief Executive or Chief Executive of a state institution other than those listed under article 71, under an NDC government, he is not qualified to contest National Excutive position per Regulation 12(ix). However, if Ama was a Minister or deputy minister or say former NDC MP, she is qualified to contest any of the National Executive position on the basis that she was an article 71 office holder. It is worthy to mention that per NEC’s definition of EXECUTIVE POSITION, government appointees, personal assistants etc under NDC governments are not qualified to contest any National Executive position.
Wether this definition is inline with what the framers of article 40(2) intended is subject to debate. But I am of the opinion that the definition put forward by NEC is too narrow. The NDC constitution says the basic unit of the Party is the BRANCH. Indeed, article 58 of the constitution list the branch as part of the structures of the Party. For the sake of argument, one can safely say that the BRANCH is the ‘mother’ of all the structures in the party.
It is, respectfully, unconscionable why in defining EXECUTIVE POSITION, position held at the Branch is excluded. This point is further strengthen when article 14(1) is considered. This provision states that “the Branch shall have an EXECUTIVE that consists of:…”. If NEC does not consider positions held at the Branch as EXECUTIVE POSITION, then it will make more sense if the party stops “organizing” at the Branch.
The best way to strengthen the Branch as we are all clamoring for, is to give due recognition to the Branch. In recent times, it has become fashionable for aspirants to say we lost the 2016 election because we disregarded the structures of the party. If we all agree that was what happned ahead of 2016, wouldn’t it be more prudent to extend the definition of EXECUTIVE POSITION to cover positions held at the Branch?
It is more worrying when the argument is extended to the current constitutional arrangement where Branch Executives are eligible to vote in electing flag bearer for the party. Insofar as Branch Executives have voting rights, it is improper to exclude them in the definition of EXECUTIVE POSITION.
To stretch the argument further, NEC ought to have extended the definition to include TEIN. The NDC, we all know, did not do well on the campuses in the last election. In fact, for some years now, we continue to perform poorly on the campuses. The once vibrant TEIN, which is an integral organ of the party(see article 10) has lost its glory due to lack of recognition and proper planning. The best the party can do to revive TEIN is to factor it into its programs and policies. It thus appear that, in considering the definition of EXECUTIVE POSITION, NEC did not consider the fact that TEIN is an intergral organ of the party, and that positions held there ought to be considered as EXECUTIVE POSITION.
There is another worrying aspect of NEC’s definition of EXECUTIVE POSITION which is likely to create problem for the vetting committee, and by extension the party, in the coming days. Those who followed or are following the vetting process would realized that former Parliamentary candidates and former District Chief Executives contesting National Executive positions have so far been cleared to contest. The vetting committee cleared this category of persons because of the phrase used in article 40(2) that, to be eligible to contest, an aspirant “should have held an executive position within the party or GOVERNMENT”.
What the vetting committee failed or is failing to do, is their non adherence to NEC’s definition of EXECUTIVE POSITION in Regulation 12(ix) that the only former government appointees qualified to contest National Executive Position are those who have served “a minimum of two (2) years of article 71 office holders”. So per their own Regulations for the vetting, MMDCEs, former parliamentary candidates, personal assistance to NDC government appointees, CEOs, board members and chairmen appointed under NDC government etc who have never held party position at the constituency and above, but were cleared yesterday at the vetting and will be cleared today, ought to have been disqualified just as they did to others.
If for very good reasons NEC feels it erred in formulating Regulation 12(ix), so the vetting committee was instructed to relax the rules, then same must be extended to others. Selective justice has no place in democratic governance. Let’s just pray that no one takes this matter up in court!!!
By Amorse B Amos