The Supreme Court will on Thursday, March 14, 2013, hear an application for directions on issues to be set out for trial in a petition challenging the legitimacy of President John Dramani Mahama.
The issues include whether or not persons were allowed to vote without undergoing prior biometric verification and whether or not votes cast exceeded ballot papers issued to voters at polling stations during the polls in some polling stations.
The petitioners are also pleading with the Supreme Court to allow them and the respondents to make audiovisual presentations for an expeditious trial.
They are again praying the court to permit parties in the case to exchange documents and evidence to be relied on, seven days before hearing of the substantive case begins.
Another request being made by the petitioners is that the court should direct each party to present a list of witnesses; a brief summary of the relevant nature of each witness’s testimony to enable the court to determine the “probative value” of evidence or testimony witnesses intend to lead in court.
The Registrar of the Supreme Court fixed the date after lawyers for the petitioners filed application for directions at the Supreme Court registry yesterday.
The petitioners, Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, filed the petition at the highest court of the land praying the court to annul votes cast in 11,916 polling stations due to what they termed “gross and widespread irregularities”.
They had in a December 28, 2012 petition called for the annulment of votes cast in 4,709 polling stations but amended their petition on February 9, 2013 after the court had granted them permission to do so, and cited 11,916 polling stations as the total number of polling stations where alleged irregularities were recorded.
The three had initially called for the cancellation of 1,342,845 valid votes cast during the election at 4,709 polling stations due to the alleged irregularities recorded during the elections, but are now urging the Supreme Court to pronounce additional 3,327,659 valid votes cast as invalid.
The Supreme Court on February 7, 2013 granted the petitioners’ prayer of amendment, and accordingly allowed the amendment.
President Mahama, who is the first respondent, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the second and third respondents respectively, have filed their responses.
They have all refuted the petitioners’ allegations on the grounds that President Mahama won the elections legitimately in the full glare of the media and local and international election observers.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) applied to join the petition on December 31, 2012 and was duly granted permission by a 6-3 majority decision of the Supreme Court on January 22, 2013.
Issues for trial
The issues the petitioners are praying the court to set out for trial include whether or not voting took place without prior biometric verification at many polling stations across the country; ballots that were cast without prior biometric verification were taken into account by the EC in the declaration of results; different results were recorded in the statement of poll and results at polling stations bearing the same codes were declared for the office of President.
Other issues are whether or not there were 28 locations where voting took place and which according to the petitioners were not part of the officially sanctioned 26,002 polling stations; aggregate instances of statutory and regulatory violations of widespread instances of malpractices or irregularities affected the results of the presidential polls of December 7 and 8, 2012; votes recorded or results on declaration forms as a result of the said statutory violations/malpractices/irregularities should be annulled.
The rest are whether or not instances where the total number of votes cast exceeded the total number of registered voters at cited polling stations and whether or not votes cast exceeded ballot papers issued to voters at polling stations during the polls.
Meanwhile, more than 50 persons have filed nine different applications to join the petition. The applicants are bringing the applications in their capacity as citizens who cast their ballots during the December 7 and 8, 2012 polls.
The applicants are from polling stations, constituencies and regions where alleged irregularities have been cited by the petitioners.
The applications were filed on their behalf by Urafiki Law Consult, a law firm in Tema.
According to the applicants, their attention had been drawn to the petitioners’ prayer for votes to be annulled in 11,916 polling stations, and since they were citizens who cast their ballots and witnessed what happened on voting day, they did not want their votes to be annulled.
They said they wanted to be heard by the court because it was their right under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution to vote.
According to the applicants, it would be unjust for their votes to be annulled because they underwent biometric verification before casting their ballots.