Tensions are high ahead of the final judgement of the apex court today, in the case sent to it by the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama.
Mr Mahama is claiming that none of the 12 candidates obtained the over 50% votes imposed by the constitution, as such, the court should order for a re-run between the first two candidates.
After several ‘I put it to you,’ ‘My Lords,’ ‘I am opposed to…’ among others, all parties in the second presidential election petition in the country, would see their smoothness level in a few hours’ time today, Thursday, March 4, 2021.
The court’s judgement today will end the about two months of court processes with regards to this petition, leaving lasting memories on the minds of Ghanaians; such as “I was offered tea; I wasn’t offered any biscuit,” apologies to Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, third witness of the petitioner.
The seven-member Supreme Court panel, led by the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah is to give judgment to answer the five issues it set out during the case management process for trial.
The five issues include; whether or not the petition discloses any cause of action – that is if there is any legal grounds for the petition.
Also, whether or not the second respondent [Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo] met the Article 63 (3) threshold of the 1992 Constitution – which constitutional provision states that a presidential candidate must obtain more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast to be declared as President-elect.
The third issue is whether or not the 2nd respondent [Nana Akufo-Addo] still met the Article 63(3) of the 1992 threshold by the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South constituency presidential election results.
The fourth issue is whether or not the declaration by the first respondent (EC) on December 9 of the presidential election conducted on December 7 was in violation of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
The last issue is whether or not the alleged vote padding and other errors complained of by the petitioner affected the outcome of the presidential election results of 2020.
Since the court set out those issues, it is trite knowledge that counsel for all parties had to lead their cases in a manner which would help the court arrive at solutions to those five issues.
During the hearing, both counsel for the Respondents, Justin Amenuvor and AkotoAmpaw, in their cross-examinations of the first witness of the petitioner, John Asiedu Nketiah sought to prove to the court that a candidate indeed crossed the over 50% threshold.
They led the witness, who is the chief scribe of the NDC, to tabulate the respective valid votes of all the candidates to reach a total valid votes cast.
Then the witness was also led to work out the respective percentage for each candidate, using the total valid votes cast he had tallied earlier.
The second and third witnesses, Dr Michael Kpessah Whyte and Rojo Mettle-Nunoo respectively took turns to make a case on behalf of the petitioner of a purported scheme against the latter, by the chairperson of the First Respondent, who was the sole Returning Officer for the 2020 presidential election, Jean Adukwei Mensa.
The two witnesses had said that they raised issues of irregularities with the figures that had come in.
But they were instructed/asked by the Returning Officer to send a message to their principal, John Mahama, making them leave the National Collation Room.
They added they left their belongings and headed to meet Mr Mahama, only to realise shortly that the results were being declared.
Meanwhile, as the counsel for the First Respondent, Justin Amenuvor put it to the witnesses that it was not true that the chairperson of his client sent them, Counsel for Second Respondent, Akoto Ampaw quizzed the second witness that he knew he could not be instructed by the chairperson.
Though they stood by their word, Dr Michael Kpessah Whyte agreed with Akoto Ampaw that he could not be instructed by Jean Mensa while at the National Collation Room.
Though counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata had waited to have his day in court with Jean Mensa, the unexpected happened, as the Respondents closed their cases after cross-examining all three witnesses of the petitioner.
The move followed the closure of the case of the petitioner, through his counsel, who announced after his witnesses had been crossed-examined.
Surprised, Tsatsu filed a motion to object to the closure of the cases of the respondents, which meant they would not call any witness to lead evidence.
The court ruled against the petitioner on that motion. The petitioner filed for a review of that ruling, filed a motion to re-open his case to subpoena Jean Mensa, but still lost all.
The petitioner had argued that by filing a witness statement the respondent had given indication they would lead evidence, and with the chairperson signing the witness statement, she had elected to give evidence.
But the court stated it could not compel a party to lead evidence in a trial, as well as compel a party to testify.
The parties made their final argument in their writing addresses to the court ahead of today’s judgement.
In the addresses, the petitioner said it had demonstrated that indeed no party crossed the constitutional mark; but the respondents held that the petitioner failed to satisfy the burden of proof and persuasion, and as such the petitioner must be dismissed.
This year’s election petition, unlike the 2013 one, only caught one Contemnor, that is, the legal spokesperson of the petitioner, Dr Dominc Ayine, who was later spared by the court after he retracted and apologised for the contemptuous statement.
Again, following the reforms enacted after the 2013 case, which lasted about eight months, the 2020 petition did not travel far.
In all, it would not be forgotten that at a point, Tsatsu, ‘The Law’ had to fall on Prophet Hosea in the bible for succor.Read Full Story