Keta NDC In Disarray Over ‘East Legon Billionaire’
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Keta constituency in the Volta Region is in disarray over the eligibility status of one of its parliamentary aspirants, Dr. Emmanuel Kojo Jones-Mensah, whose presence in the race is causing serious confusion.
The development, which is tearing the party, has forced some members of the party threatening to boycott all election-related matters, if Dr. Jones-Mensah, a wealthy businessman, who is affectionately called “East Legon Billionaire,” is disqualified from the race.
According to the aggrieved party members, known as “Concerned Branch Executives,” the opposition party is challenged in many ways in the area and the leadership need to intervene to save the situation.
“The party is going through a lot of challenges in this electioneering period of parliamentary primaries owing to the activities of some vindictive, selfish and greedy individuals. We the Concerned Branch Executives of Keta (CBEK) deemed it necessary to address this before it is too late,” the group has said.
The Convener, Evans Agba, at a press conference, said that, despite the vetting committee ascertaining the true party credentials of Dr. Jones-Mensah, owner of Empire Domus Limited, a real estate real company, following a frivolous petition, some people are still pushing harder for his disqualification.
He argued that the parliamentary hopeful has solid political and social records compared to those before him since 1992 in the constituency, and that none was able to do what he has done so far.
Mr. Agba mentioned some of the developmental projects initiated by the aspirant amounting to millions of cedis.
He said, “He is constructing two critical bridges at Agorvinu and Hatorgodo-Lawoshime areas costing over GH₵2million, whilst addressing other challenges in the areas such as infrastructure, job creation and education, among others.”
Mr. Agba indicated that until his intervention, government and politicians had promised and failed the people of the area woefully over the past 40 years, “but Dr. Jones has come to redeem the situation.”
He said Dr. Jones-Mensah has brought life to Keta politics and that any attempt to disqualify him will lead to a boycott of the parliamentary primaries and the 2024 general elections in the Keta constituency.
He stressed, “Dr. Jones-Mensah is our redeemer and we would not sit for any evil mind to prevail.”
Mr. Agba, in his argument, accused Dr.Senanu Kwasi Djokoto, a former party chairman, who is also an aspirant in the race, of appealing against the decisions of the vetting committee to clear Dr. Jones-Mensah.
The former chairman, according to the group, claims Dr. Jones-Mensah has not stayed in the constituency for years, which makes him unqualified per the party’s constitution.
The convener is convinced that Dr. Jones-Mensah will be the only aspirant that can lead
the NDC to victory in 2024, since the past candidate performed poorly resulting in an increase of votes for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from 1,665 in 2016 to 5,037 in 2020, an unprecedented jump of 500 per cent.
He urged all executives within the constituency to remain calm, as they hope all parliamentary aspirants would be given a level playing ground to contest.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the party is yet to comment on the petition raised against Dr. Jones-Mensah.
On Wednesday, April 5, 2023, the Volta Regional Vetting Committee, chaired by Madam Sherry Ayittey, cleared five aspirants, including Dr. Jones-Mensah, to contest the May 13 parliamentary primaries. This was after a petition against the candidature of the young businessman could not disqualify him.
But following that exercise, Dr.Senanu Djokoto petitioned the appeals committee over the clearance of his main contender.
Dr.Djokoto said he considered the clearance of Dr. Jones-Mensah as an error by the vetting committee that he had met the mandatory requirements of Regulation 2.1(III) of the NDC guidelines for clearing parliamentary candidates for the 2024 general elections.
The guidelines provide that a person desirous of contesting the position of parliamentary candidate “shall be an active member of the party in the constituency for not less than four years… pending the date of filing their nominations”
Dr.Djokoto, in his petition, sighted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said he found the committee’s decision to accept a letter from Dr. Jones-Mensah dissociating himself from a fraudulent registration conduct at Ashiaman untenable.
“I also find the vetting committee’s investigation into the alleged Ashaiman membership of the aspirant inconclusive, as no effort was made by the committee to authenticate the said alleged membership,” he said.
Dr.Djokoto said he had dutifully served the NDC in the Keta constituency and was aware that most members and executives valued truth, honesty and integrity, hence the need for a fair and just resolution of the matter.
He contended, “Any decision on Dr. Jones-Mensah’s legibility or otherwise may adversely affect me as a candidate in the election.”
He added, “Under the circumstances, I believe that it will be prudent for the appeals committee to lay this matter to rest to forestall any legal tussle that can arise from same.”
Background of Dr. Jones-Mensah
The man of the moment, Emmanuel Kojo Jones-Mensah, is an Anlo man, specifically from Dzelukope, a
suburb of Keta in the Volta Region.
He is the son of the late Justice (rtd) Emmanuel Kofi Jones-Mensah and Rev. Dr. Gifty Lamptey of the Sidalco Group of Companies. Kojo Jones’ father grew up in Cameroon, where his father (Kojo’s grandfather) Livingstone Emmanuel Akakpo Jones-Mensah, worked as the chief financial controller of the Cameroonian Development Corporation (now Unilever).
Kojo’s father was an Attorney-General of Cameroon at the tender age of 28 years before he later relocated to Ghana and joined the bench as a justice of the superior courts of Ghana. In addition, he was a politician, an entrepreneur and a hotelier. Keta Beach Hotel, located in his hometown, is one of his establishments.
He was also once the PNC party’s vice-presidential candidate. Before he passed away in 2016, Justice Jones-Mensah had retired from the bench and established a successful law practice.
A source also said that Kojo Jones inherited some of his wealth from his legal colossus father’s estate. “Apparently, good looks and law run in their family. We’ve gathered that Kojo Jones is the younger brother of the elegant former Beauty Queen, Penelope M. Jones-Mensah, who is also a lawyer and a women and children’s rights activist.”
“Whilst he is currently running a successful real estate business, Empire Domus Ltd, we’re reliably informed that Kojo Jones himself has bagged both a first degree and a master’s degree in law. He also has a heart of gold and has undertaken several philanthropic ventures with his KJM Foundation. An impressive man with an impressive lineage! We wish Kojo Jones and his beautiful bride all the very best in their marriage and future endeavours.”