Monday, January 28, 2013
NDC joinder application - SUPREME COURT SITS TOMORROW
January 15, 2013 (Lead Story) THE Supreme Court has fixed Wednesday, January 16, 2013, to hear the application by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) seeking to join a petition contesting the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the December 7, 2012 presidential poll. On Thursday, January 10, 2013, the court indefinitely adjourned the hearing of the application after lawyers for the petitioners objected to the composition of the nine-member panel presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba. Other members of the panel were Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice P. Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo. However, lawyers for the petitioners withdrew their opposition to the panel on Friday, January 11, 2013, barely 24-hours after they had raised the objection. Following the withdrawal, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr James Amoah, had since served hearing notices on lawyers for parties in the case. The hearing notice was dated January 14, 2013. One of the lawyers for President Mahama, Mr Tony Lithur, confirmed the serving of the hearing notice on him to appear on behalf of the President. A member of the legal team for the petitioners, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, also confirmed that his side had received a copy of the notice. The presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, are contesting the declaration of President Mahama as winner of the 2012 presidential poll. Also joined to the petition is the Electoral Commission (EC), which presided over the poll. The petitioners are accusing the EC of doctoring the results in favour of President Mahama, but the EC has denied the claims and described the election results as credible and accurate. Following the filing of the petition on December 28, 2012, the NDC filed a motion for joinder on the grounds that it was an interested party in the case because the President stood for the election on its ticket. But Nana Akufo-Addo has opposed the application, with the argument that the NDC’s move was a ploy to delay the trial. President Mahama, for his part, has filed his response, arguing that the petitioners were “seeking to subvert the Constitution and undermine the sovereign will of the people of Ghana by demanding from the court an order to annul the results of the exercise of their fundamental rights under the Constitution”. He said “the petitioners’ allegations are brazen attempts to find excuses for losing the 2012 presidential election” and, accordingly, demanded the petitioners to prove how the EC allegedly manipulated polling station results, which were declared in the full glare of the public, the media and both international and domestic election observers. He also indicated his intention to call a record 4,800 witnesses to affirm his position that he won the election on a clean sheet.