Asawase NDC In Turmoil Again
The unending confusion in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Asawase constituency in the Ashanti Region has been renewed with a new twist.
This follows a decision by the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, to drag some of his executives to a Kumasi High Court for defamation.
In all, 11 branch executives of the party have been slapped with the lawsuit, for allegedly publishing and circulating comments said to be libelous against the removed Minority Chief Whip.
Muntaka, described by parliamentary watchers as a “Mugabe” in Parliament,” is of the view that the statement by his accusers made him look like a fraud, a liar and a corrupt person, among others, in the eyes of the public.
The writ, sighted by The Anchor, dated March 10, 2023, is demanding a whopping GH¢10million in damages against the defendants.
The defendants, all of Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region, are: Akolgo Martins, Eric Nana Wiafe, Mohammed Sabiu, Sherif, Alidu Adam Mustapha, Alhassan Fuseini, Asamawu Alhassan, Mohammed Abdul Baki, Umar Yaser, Iddiris Adam, Yakubu Musah and Umar Harris.
This latest action by the lawmaker follows an allegation that some members of the party in the constituency, who were led by the aforementioned individuals, apparently issued a press statement on March 10, 2023, being described as libelous.
The defendants, according to reports, alleged that the MP owns 15 stores at the newly-built Asawase Market, built by former President John Mahama.
But the lawmaker indicated “that on or about 10th March 2023 to 11th, defendants issued a Press Statement, which was published, distributed and/or otherwise circulated by the general public and media houses. In the said Press Statement, the Defendants published various defamatory statements of and concerning Plaintiff.
These defamatory statements comprise the following: “a. “If you will recall, a few days ago, the office of the MP Hon. Muntaka Mubarak of Asawase Constituency issued a statement which sought to whitewash the MP after he was exposed for forcibly allocating some 15 stores/sheds to himself at the Asawase Market built by next Flagbearer of NDC and the President of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama”;“b. “The youth stated categorically that the office of Hon. “Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak as usual is being economical with the truth”;” among others.
According to the MP, this defamatory statement meant that he was engaged in public deception, abuse of power and/for corruption for his own personal gain.
The High Court has also directed the defendants and other media houses that published the said defamatory material, to retract and render an unqualified apology in a national newspaper.
The Member of Parliament, for many terms, has been having it tough in the constituency, he has represented since 2008. A good number of constituents and executives of the party have been on his neck trying to replace him.
It is unclear what his crime to remove him is, but the last confusion between the executives and the MP earlier was ignited when his accusers claimed he was scheming to kill the constituency chairman, Faisal Dauda.
During the party’s constituency election last year, it was alleged that many of the incumbents,aligned to the MP, who were seeking reelection were booted out.
Their preferred parliamentary-hopeful MasawudMubarick, who has in the past been prevented by the party from contesting the incumbent, reportedly had his candidates winning massively.
With his popularity said to be waning very fast, Muntaka was even hooted at the election venue, together with his team, while he, in anger, refused to shake hands with Masawud. Videos of the MP and his team angrily walking out and being booed went viral on social media.
Some have even linked the accusation by the branch executives and the subsequent action by the MP to the power struggle between Muntaka and Masawud, who many are supporting and appear bent on ensuring he unseats the MP. This position has divided the party sharply between the two.
While this struggle has been dragging for years, some concerned supporters of the NDC in the constituency, in a presser, prevailed upon the national executives to intervene, but calm is yet to return to the area.