The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has appointed a three (3) member national complaints committee with the mandate to receive complaints of violations and breaches of the party’s newly introduced Code of Conduct, which came into force on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, and is aimed at regulating the conduct of Party Members in both Presidential and Parliamentary Primaries for Election 2024 during the pre-presidential and parliamentary primaries period.
The National Complaints Committee is made up of the Chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee of the NPP, Lawyer Frank Davies, Chairman of the National Council of Elders, Hackman Owusu Agyeman and the General Secretary of the Party, John Boadu.
According to a statement issued and signed by John Boadu, the General Secretary of the party, “it shall be the duty of the National Complaints Committee to investigate each complaint of violations of this Code of Conduct to determine whether or not there is a prima facie case. Where the Committee has established a prima facie basis in a particular complaint, it shall make a referral to the National Disciplinary Committee for the necessary disciplinary actions in line with the provisions of the Constitution”.
Supporters and actors within the ruling New Patriotic Party’s electoral process, such as Government Appointees, Ministers, Board Members, Chief Executives Officers of government institutions, legislators (MPs), MMDCES, aspirants/potential candidates, and their supporters face expulsion suspension or disqualification should they be found to have breached the party’s new code of conduct which has been adopted by the Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
Origin of the Code of Conduct
The New code of conduct was developed by the office of the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu. The preamble of the Code of Conduct indicates that it “has been created by Article 18 of the New Patriotic Party’s Constitution, which permits for the creation of separate rules and regulations to govern the New Patriotic Party in addition to that of the Constitution”.
Provisions of the Code
The new code of conduct has four (4) essential paragraphs. Paragraph one has eleven (11) sub-components with the remaining three (3) having no additional components. The code of conduct states in paragraph one (1) as follows: Members, Supporters, Sympathizers of the Party at all levels shall:
a) refrain from using the media (traditional or social) to attack the integrity and reputation of other members particularly leading members perceived to be nurturing Presidential or Parliamentary ambitions;
b) refrain from openly debating on the suitability, desirability or otherwise of Presidential or Parliamentary Candidates until the Party formally open nominations through the General Secretary;
c) not initiate early gatherings camouflaged as activities or meetings which tends to promote the interest of a prospective Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate;
d) for the specified period, refrain from making any public statements or inferences through any print or electronic media including online portals and all social media outlets regarding the propriety or otherwise of any Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate;
e) be entitled to hold their regular Party meetings, but shall desist from holding discussions on the suitability or otherwise of any prospective Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate;
f) desist from using their public office or portfolio within or outside the Party to promote the interest of any prospective Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate to gain an unfair political advantage;
g) for the period preceding the election of Presidential and Parliamentary Candidates, not offer money, gifts or other incentives that have the potential to directly or indirectly influence the outcome of the election of any prospective Candidate;
h) not covertly or overtly solicit campaign contributions, gifts and other incentives in cash or kind during this period;
i) not hold any campaign activities for themselves or any prospective Candidate until such time that the Party so declares;
j) not form any groupings or association within or outside the Party for or against any prospective Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate;
k) not anonymously prosecute campaign activities on any platform in furtherance of the interest of any prospective Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate.
The second paragraph states that “communicators of the Party shall not use both traditional and social media platforms to campaign for or against any prospective Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate, and any Communicator who breaches the Code of Conduct shall be suspended from speaking for and on behalf of the Party. This is without prejudice to any other sanctions prescribed in the Constitution.
Thirdly, “for the avoidance of doubt, prospective Presidential or Parliamentary Candidates shall be held responsible for the actions and inactions of any person or group of persons identified as a supporter(s) of a particular Candidate which is in flagrant breach of this Code of Conduct if the prospective Candidate is seen explicitly or implicitly lending support or condoning and not publicly denouncing the activities of any such person or group of persons.
Lastly, “the Party reserves the right to disqualify any potential Presidential or Parliamentary Candidate or aspirant who either directly or indirectly breaches this Code of Conduct.
Timelines of the Code
The statement of the General Secretary emphasis that the Code of Conduct comes into force on “this 27th Day of July 2021, and shall remain in full force until the General Secretary of the Party, on behalf of the National Executive Committee/National Council officially declares Nominations for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections duly opened for prospective Candidates.