April 16, 2013 (Lead Story)
HEARING of the landmark electoral petition which is contesting the
declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the
December 2012 presidential polls begins at the Supreme Court in Accra
The petitioners are expected to call their first
witness/witnesses today, depending on how long the witness/witnesses
will testify, how long the cross-examination will take and, if need be,
how long the re-examination lasts.
The case, which
promises to be a significant historical event in Ghana’s legal and
political culture, has the petitioners urging the court to annul
4,670,504 valid votes and subsequently declare the presidential
candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
as the one who won the December presidential election.
to them, Nana Akufo-Addo won the elections with 59.69 per cent of the
votes cast, while President Mahama polled 39.1 per cent.
are, therefore, challenging the EC’s declaration of President Mahama as
winner of the presidential polls with 50.70 per cent.
the EC, which is one of the respondents in the case and conductor of
the polls, is standing by its December 9, 2012 declaration of President
Mahama as the winner of the polls with 50.7 per cent, with Nana
Akufo-Addo placing second with 47.7 per cent.
Per the April 2, 2013 orders of the court, the petitioners and the respondents are at liberty to give oral evidence in court.
Nana Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the
Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, are at liberty to
give oral evidence, while President Mahama, the EC and the National
Democratic Congress (NDC) are also at will to do same.
all other potential witnesses for the parties in the case are expected
to give their evidence through written and sworn affidavits.
The court did not place any limitation on the number of affidavits to be sworn by the parties in the case.
It will, however, consider the relevance of the content of the sworn affidavits and factor them into its final decision.
Star Witness for Petitioners
lawyers for the petitioners are tight-lipped over who their first
witness will be, what is not in dispute per the affidavit they have
served on the respondents is that Dr Bawumia will be their star witness.
an 83-paragraph affidavit dated April 7, 2013 and filed at the Supreme Court
registry, Dr Bawumia has averred that he was the Chairman of the
committee that investigated the results of the December polls, during
which widespread and gross irregularities were recorded in 11,916
He has indicated in his affidavit that he
will give a detailed tabulation on how electoral irregularities took
place in the 11,916 polling stations across the country.
Six additional witnesses for petitioners
six persons, including the Member of Parliament (MP) for Berekum East,
Mr Kwabena Twum Nuamah; the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for Upper West
Akim in the Eastern Region, Mr Eugene Sackey; the NPP parliamentary
candidate for Tano North, Freda Prempeh; a resident of Savelugu, Fuseini
Safinu; Abdulai Abdul Hamid of Pong-Tamale and Peter Wuni of Nalerigu,
have also given their evidence in the form of sworn affidavits.
court may request the physical presence of some of the witnesses who
have sworn affidavits to indicate how irregularities occurred in their
respective areas only if compelling reasons are given to warrant their
physical presence in court.
Claims of petitioners
to the petitioners, their investigation uncovered six main categories
of constitutional/statutory violations, commissions, irregularities and
malpractices, namely, over-voting, widespread instances of polling
stations where there were no signatures of the presiding officers or
their assistants on the pink sheets, in clear violation of Article 49
(3) of the Constitution and Regulation 36 (2) of CI 75, widespread
instances of polling stations where voting took place without prior
biometric verification, in breach of Regulation 30 (2) of CI 75, as well
as widespread instances of the same serial numbers on pink sheets with
different poll results, when the proper and due procedure established by
the EC required that each polling station has a unique serial number in
order to secure the integrity of the polls and the will of lawfully
They are also alleging widespread
instances of polling stations where different results were strangely
recorded on the pink sheets in respect of polling stations bearing the
same polling station code when, by the EC’s established procedure, each
polling station is assigned a unique code in order to avoid confusing
one polling station with another which could not be explained by a
reference to special voting.
In a bid to prove their
allegations of fraud, the petitioners have since served 24 boxes filled
with thousands of documents on the respondents in the case as evidence.
The rules and onus of proof
petitioners brought the petition under Article 64 of the 1992
Constitution; Section 5 of the Presidential Election Act, 1992 (PNDCL
285) and Rule 68 and 68 A of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules 2012,
Article 64(1) of the 1992 Constitution provides: “The
validity of the election of the President may be challenged only by a
citizen of Ghana, who may present a petition for the purpose to the
Supreme Court within twenty-one days after the declaration of the
results of the election in respect of which the petition is presented”,
while Article 64(2) says: “A declaration by the Supreme Court that the
election of the President is not valid shall be without prejudice to
anything done by the President before the declaration.’’
VIII of the Supreme Court Rules — Challenge of Election of President,
Rule 68 — provides: “A petition presented pursuant to Clause (I) of
Article 64 of the Constitution shall state (a) the full name and address
of the petitioner and of his counsel, if any, which shall be an address
for service; (b) the grounds for challenging the validity of the
election; (c) a statement of the facts relied on to be verified by
affidavit, and of the law in support of the petition; (d) the number of
witnesses to be called, if any; and (e) such other matters as the court
Since the petitioners are alleging
irregularities in 11,916 polling stations, the burden of proof is on
them to prove each of the alleged infraction.
EC has denied all petitioners’ allegations and insists the elections
were held on a clean sheet and, therefore, President Mahama won fairly
in the full glare of the media, local and international election
President Mahama and the NDC, who are the first and
third respondents, respectively, in the petition, have also denied the
claims of the petitioners.
Issues for determination
10 sittings to consider and rule on more than 21 interlocutory
applications filed by parties in the case, the nine-member court has set
out two issues for trial.
They 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 and whether or
not the said violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices (if
any) affected the outcome of the elections.
The Supreme Court (Amendment) Rule, 2012, (CI 74)
main objective of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rule, 2012, (CI 74) is
to ensure that petitions of this nature are disposed of expeditiously.
virtue of provisions in CI 74, the matter will be determined once and
for all, since no provision is made for a review of the court’s
decision, although the 1992 Constitution allows the court to review its
The amendment to the Supreme Court rules
states, among other things, that the hearing of a petition against a
presidential election shall be done on a daily basis, including public
Therefore, once hearing begins, the court will go
into a marathon session to dispose of the case expeditiously, according
to its amended rules.
Judgement and declaration of results
After taking evidence from all the parties in the case, the court will fix a date for judgement.
It will then forward its order to the EC for implementation.
is important to note that the EC will be expected to declare the
results again, irrespective of the outcome of the court’s decision.
71 of CI 74 says: “The court shall, at the conclusion of the hearing
of the petition, deliver its judgement and the registrar shall, within
seven days of the delivery of the judgement, forward a copy of the
judgement to the Electoral Commission.’’
The panel and legal teams
of the Supreme Court who will determine the landmark case are Mr
Justice William Atuguba (presiding), 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.
A 10-member legal
team, including a former Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of
Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo; Mr Philip Addison, Mr Frank Davies, Mr Alex
Quaynor, Mr Akoto Ampaw, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Mr Kwame Akuffo, Mr Kwaku
Asirifi, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, Mr Egbert Faibille and Professor Ken
Attafuah, is representing the petitioners.
President Mahama is
being represented by Mr Tony Lithur and Dr Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba,
while Mr Tsatsu Tsikata and Mr Samuel Codjoe represent the NDC.
Mr James Quashie-Idun, Mr Anthony Dabi and Mr Stanley Amarteyfio are representing the EC.
Story: Mabel Aku Baneseh