Supreme Court sets clear timelines for the 2020 election petition
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
The Supreme Court of Ghana has moved to ensure that it meets the 42-day timeline required for an election petition as stated in its election manual. The court has set January 26, to commence hearing of the petition filed by 2020 NDC Presidential Candidate, John Dramani Mahama.
Mr Mahama is in court seeking to set aside the 2020 election results that went in favour of the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo. The court has in the last three sessions dealt with pre-trial issues.
But the panel presided over by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah on Wednesday announced the issues it has set for determination. These issues, the Apex Court raised include; Whether or not the petition discloses any reasonable cause of action and whether or not per the data available any candidate obtained more than 50% of the votes cast.
Again, the Apex Court said it will look at “whether or not the second respondent obtained more than 50% of the votes cast by the exclusion or inclusion of Techiman South Constituency results and whether or not declaration was in violation of the constitution.”
Finally, the court will consider “whether or not the alleged vote padding affected the results as declared.”
In view of this, the Judges have ordered that the petitioner in the case, who is former President John Dramani Mahama, files his witness statements by Thursday, January 21, 2021, while the Respondents, made up of the Electoral Commission and the President, Akufo-Addo, file same by Friday, January 22, 2021.
Also, all the counsels involved in the case are to file their legal argument related to the initial objection by Monday, January 25, 2021.
These orders, however, received a sharp objection from the lead counsel for the petitioner, Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata.
Mr Tsikata explained that there are outstanding requests that have been filed including a review of the dismissal of the motion seeking to have some interrogatories served on the EC.
He insists that this and other issues must be discussed together with the timeline set by the Judges. According to him, justice should not be traded for the expedition as the timeline set for the witness statements to be presented are not justified. But the counsels for the 1st Respondent and the 2nd Respondent, backed the ruling by the Apex Court.
They argued that it is impossible for Mr Mahama to file a petition challenging the validity of the 2020 elections without having witnesses on standby to support his case or preparing adequately.
The judges subsequently adjourned the hearing to Tuesday, January 26.
The seven-member panel of Judges hearing the petition includes Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah; Justices Yaw Appau, Marful Sau, Professor Ashie Kotei, Mariama Owusu, Nene Amegatcher, and Gertrude Tokonor.
The National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama has petitioned the Supreme Court to order a second round of the December 7, election.
According to the former President, the votes obtained by New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, President Nana Akufo-Addo and himself in the December 7, election as declared by the EC Chair were not enough to be declared the winner.
In his petition to the Supreme Court Wednesday, Mr Mahama said, “The claim that percentage of votes obtained by the 2nd Respondent [Nana Akufo-Addo] was 51.595% [6,730,413] of the total valid votes that she distinctly stated to have been 13,434,574 was a manifest error, as votes cast for 2nd Respondent would amount to 50.098% and not the 51.595% erroneously declared.”
He said the 1st Respondent in her December 9 declaration said the NDC candidate obtained 6,214,889 being 47.366% of the valid votes. “From the total votes cast of 13,434,574, petitioner’s percentages would reduce to 46.260% and not the 47.366% erroneously declared. “The percentage attribute to all but one of the other candidates by Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa were all incorrect,” he said.
The former President argued that if all the valid votes for all the candidates who contested the election are put together, it would total “13,121,111, a figure that is completely missing from the purported declaration by Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa on December 9, and the purported rectification on December 10.”
Mr Mahama said the percentage of all the valid votes for the 12 contesting candidates “would yield a total of 100.03%.”
This he said is a “mathematical and statistical impossibility, a further proof of the wrongfulness and unconstitutionality of the purported declaration.”