April 10, 2013 (Front Page)
The Supreme Court will sit today - Wednesday - to consider a request
from the Electoral Commission (EC) for the court to vary its orders in a
petition challenging the legitimacy of President John Dramani Mahama.
In a motion on notice filed on behalf of the EC by its
solicitors, Lynes Quashie-Idun and Co, the EC is urging the court to
vary its April 2, 2013 order which directed respondents in the petition
to file their written affidavits within five days from the service of
petitioners’ affidavits on them.
Rather, the EC is praying the
court to review its order by directing it (EC) to file its written
response “within five days from the close of the petitioners’ case”.
the EC is requesting the court to do is allow it and other respondents
to file their evidence in the form of written affidavits after the
petitioners have closed their case in the trial, which is set to begin
on April 16, 2013.
The EC’s motion, which was filed on Monday,
April 8, 2013, barely 24 hours after the petitioners had complied with
the court’s directive to them to file their evidence in the form of
affidavits, has been opposed by the petitioners.
in opposition filed on behalf of the petitioners by one of their
lawyers, Mr Akoto Ampaw, and dated April 9, 2013 is praying the court to
reject the EC’s plea because the commission had “a clear indication of
the case of the petitioners, especially following the detailed
particulars that the respondent applied to the court and obtained from
The petitioners, in this particular
instance, are referring to the further and better particulars on the
11,916 polling stations where alleged widespread malpractice and
irregularities were recorded during the December 7 and 8, 2012 polls and
which they (petitioners) furnished the EC with following the court’s
order to that effect.
Affidavit in Support of EC’s Motion
affidavit in support of the EC’s motion deposed by one of its lawyers,
Mr Anthony Dabi, said since the court was functioning as a trial court,
“it is respectfully requested, taking into account that the petitioners
have the burden of proof or the burden of persuasion”.
said the petitioners should be ordered to open their case, present their
evidence (oral evidence and evidence by affidavit) and close their case
before the second respondent was required to open its case, present its
evidence (oral evidence and evidence by affidavit) and close its case.
EC, which is the second respondent in the petition, is praying that its
request would not cause any delay or hinder the expeditious hearing of
the case but, on the contrary, it would ensure “a smooth and
well-ordered trial in accordance with the established procedures of the
Petitioners oppose EC
According to the
affidavit in opposition, the petitioners said a presidential election
was not a private matter between two individual parties “but a matter of
utmost importance for not only the contending litigants but for all
political parties, the electorate and, indeed, Ghanaians as a whole”.
further argued that the EC’s proposal could not find support, “whether
directly or by analogy, in any rule of law, procedure or practice”.
said the EC’s application was without merit, had been brought in bad
faith and calculated to overreach the petitioners and cause delay,
adding, “It ought to be dismissed with punitive costs.”
Background to case
President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are the first and third respondents, respectively.
petitioners, who are the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic
Party (NPP) in the December 2012 presidential election, Nana Addo Dankwa
Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of
the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, are calling for the annulment of
4,670,504 votes, representing votes cast in 11,916 polling stations
across the country, due to what they termed “gross and widespread
But the respondents have denied the petitioners’ claims on the grounds that the election results were credible.
nine sittings to consider and rule on more than 20 interlocutory
applications filed by parties in the case, the nine-member court fixed
the date for hearing of the substantive matter after considering issues
raised by lawyers for the parties in the case.
Issues for Trial
issues set out for trial are whether or not there were statutory
violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of
the elections held on December 7 and 8, 2012.
The court will
also ascertain whether or not the said violations, omissions,
irregularities and malpractices (if any) affected the outcome of the
results of the elections.
Some of the irregularities,
malpractices, omissions and violations complained of and due to be
determined by the court are allegations of persons being allowed to vote
without biometric verification, some presiding officers and/or their
assistants not signing declaration forms (pink sheets), total number of
votes cast exceeding the total number of registered voters, as well as
total number of ballot papers issued.
Other irregularities to
be considered by the court include whether or not the alleged statutory
violations introduced 4,670,504 invalid votes cast in the December 2012
presidential election, whether or not ballots cast without biometric
verification were taken into account by the EC in the declaration of
results, among others.