May 24, 2013 (Front Page)
General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson
Asiedu Nketia, on Thursday, May 23, 2013, began his evidence-in-chief in the
presidential election petition at the Supreme Court and denied claims of
irregularities during the polls.
He led evidence on four categories of irregularities as spelt out by the petitioners and rebutted each of the allegations.
instance, Mr Nketia stated that it was not true for the star witness
for the petitioners, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, to state that polling stations
were recognised by their serial numbers.
He explained that in his
34 years of observing elections in the country, polling stations had
always been recognised by their names and unique codes, adding that
serial numbers did not impact on the results of elections.
Nketia, who is popularly called General Mosquito, stated that polling
station names and codes were crafted such that anyone conversant with
elections would recognise polling stations by letters of the alphabet,
except I, for each of the 10 regions of the country.
He said, for
example, that the code number for the Brong Ahafo Region begins with G,
while those for the Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions began with C
and F, respectively.
According to him, no polling agent, as far as he was concerned, had received training on serial numbers as security features.
by the lead counsel for the NDC, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Mr Nketia refuted
allegations of over-voting, voting without biometric verification, the
call for the annulment of votes at the polling stations which had the
same serial numbers, no signature of some presiding officers on some
pink sheets, as well as voting taking place at some 23 unknown
He gave contrary evidence to the petitioners’ claim and
stated that each of the alleged infractions was false and made in bad
Testifying on behalf of President John Dramani Mahama and
the NDC, Mr Nketia formally informed the court that the President had
given him the power of attorney to testify on his behalf.
to the petitioners’ claim that over-voting was recorded during the
December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential poll, the witness replied that there
was nowhere that over-voting took place.
To him, over-voting
meant the number of ballot papers in ballot boxes exceeded the number of
people at a particular polling station and stated that in that
particular instance, there was no complaint from any polling agent, as
well as an indication that any polling agent had registered any form of
Reacting to Dr Bawumia’s claim that over-voting meant
ballots cast exceeded the number of ballots issued, Mr Nketia said, “I
have heard of it. This is the first time over-voting has been defined
that way in my 34 years of observing elections in this country.”
any case, Mr Nketia stated that he was not aware of anyone filing a
formal complaint at any polling station with regard to the issue of
Voting Without Biometric Verification
the petitioners’ allegations that some voters were allowed to vote
without undergoing biometric verification, Mr Nketia indicated that it
was not true and further pointed out that he was not aware that there
was any formal complaint in that regard.
Touching on allegations
that the President directed the EC to allow persons to vote without
undergoing biometric verification, he disagreed with assertions that
that statement amounted to instructing the EC, adding that several
prominent personalities also appealed to the EC not to disenfranchise
anyone because of biometric verification.
Mr Nketia further
indicated that the petitioners’ party also issued a counter press
statement, adding that the EC eventually declined the request to allow
persons to vote without undergoing biometric verification.
witness was shown copies of some pink sheets which said persons voted
without undergoing prior biometric verification but he repudiated that
assertion and attributed such errors to “clerical errors”, adding, “All
polling agents have certified these results.”
Polling Stations with Same Serial Numbers
to calls by the petitioners for some votes to be annulled because some
polling stations had the same serial numbers, Mr Nketia said the
petitioners did not appreciate how voting was organised and explained
that polling stations where special voting took place had two
declarations of results on double pink sheets.
special voting as polls conducted for persons who would not be available
at their various polling stations on the day of polls and further
indicated that sorting and counting of ballot papers for those special
votes were not done until the close of polls on voting day.
Nketia indicated that in that instance, one would find same polling
station numbers and codes on two pink sheets but different signatures of
polling agents and presiding officers, adding that every political
party knew in advance areas where special voting took place.
Blank Spaces on Pink Sheets
on allegations by Dr Bawumia that blank spaces on pink sheets gave room
for over-voting, Mr Nketia denied that assertion and said, “Blank is
He also explained that such blank spaces could also be
attributed to clerical errors and further pointed out that there was no
protest recorded on any pink sheet.
No Signature on Pink Sheets
admitted that the EC had trained polling agents and presiding officers
to sign pink sheets after the declaration of results and then forward
the sheets to the collation centre.
He stated, however, that nowhere had a presiding officer lodged a formal complaint on why he/she had not signed a pink sheet.
Voting at Unknown 23 Polling Stations
the petitioners’ claim that voting took place at 23 unknown polling
stations, Mr Nketia said that was not true because the alleged polling
stations were all part of the originally designated 26,002 polling
He further explained that polling agents of the
petitioners and the other polling agents were all present to observe
elections at the said unknown locations.
witness said he had been involved in meetings of the Inter-Party
Advisory Committee (IPAC) prior to the conduct of the December 2012
presidential and parliamentary elections and at those meetings the
modalities and processes to be adopted before and during the elections
had been spelt out and agreed upon by the Electoral Commission (EC) and
political party representatives.
He said 52,004 people were selected and trained to represent the NDC at all the 26,002 polling stations across the country.
explained that two agents were deployed to each polling station across
Ghana to ensure that: persons who were not entitled to vote did not
vote, there was no multiple voting, no one tampered with the content of
ballot boxes, focus on the tally of votes cast to avoid cheating, as
well as ensure that electoral officers conducted their duties in
accordance with the rules that apply to the elections.
also indicated that all the political parties were involved in the
printing of ballot papers and indicated that the NDC had three shifts
which stood by every eight hours for 24 hours during the printing of the
ballot papers to ensure that extraneous materials were not introduced
into the ballot papers.
He said the move was also to ensure that
ballot papers tallied with polling station codes and further indicated
that representatives of the various political parties were also allowed
to track the distribution of ballot papers to the various regions,
constituencies, districts and polling stations.
He also informed
the court that the EC organised training for all agents of political
parties and went ahead to show the court a copy of the guidelines issued
by the EC for the conduct of the polls.
The witness also took the
court through the voting process he underwent on voting day and was
asked if he visited other polling stations on the day of the polls.
counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison, objected to that line
of evidence on the grounds that it was immaterial and had not been
pleaded to by the President and NDC.
Mr Tsikata responded and indicated those issues had been pleaded and were, therefore, relevant to the determination of the case.
The court, in a 5-4 majority ruling, overruled the objection.
Mr Nketia is expected to continue his examination in chief on Tuesday, May 28, 2013.
hearing of the substantive petition, which has the Presidential
candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr
Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, as petitioners began on April 17, 2013.
petitioners have alleged that the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential
election was fraught with malpractices of over-voting, non-signing of
pink sheets by presiding officers or their assistants, voting without
biometric verification and duplicated serial numbers of pink sheets.
However, President Mahama, the EC and, the NDC have denied that any such irregularities occurred during the election.
hearing of a motion for review filed by Mr Tony Benony Amekudzi, the
lawyer whose application seeking to pray the court to dismiss the
petition on the grounds that the President cannot be sued, has been
adjourned to May 28, 2013.