Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, July 31, 2012
All parties in the landmark Presidential Election Petition except the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) yesterday filed their addresses as ordered by the Supreme Court at the close of evidence on July 18, 2012.
Victor Kojogah Adawudu, a member of the NDC legal team who was at the Supreme Court to file the address on behalf of 1st respondent in the petition, President John Dramani Mahama told DAILY GUIDE that the NDC, led by its lead counsel, Tsatsu Tsikata had not filed.
He did not give any indication when the 3rd respondent will file its address.
A member of the NDC’s legal team, Abraham Amaliba told however told Radio XYZ Tuesday evening that vehicular traffic may have been the cause of the party’s delay in filing its address with the Court.
However, sources say the NDC will file the address first thing this morning before the court sits.
The three petitioners led by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate in the December 2012 election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo were the first to comply with the court’s order when it representatives arrived at exactly 2:35pm at the court’s registry with 16 boxes with Written Address of Counsel for Petitioners written on them.
It was filed through Alex Quainoo and Kwaku Asirifi who are part of the petitioners’ legal team.
Then came President Mahama whose address was filed at exactly 4:40pm by Kojogah Adawudu in a single box.
Mr. Adawudu had kept another batch of the documents in his car and after filing President Mahama’s copy, he descended to the car park and brought another box containing documents at 5:06pm.
It was initially thought the new documents were the address of the NDC but he said it was rather part of President Mahama’s documents.
Just as President Mahama’s address was being filed, the 2nd respondent, Electoral Commission (EC) arrived at the registry to also file their copies.
The EC team was led by Joseph Asamoah who is the Head of Audit at the commission arrived at exactly 5:03 to file.
It was unclear how respondents were going to pay for the processes filed since the banks at the premises had all closed.
The petitioners address was contained in one volume with attachments all in16 boxes, accompanied by an electronic version on a CD Rom.
The EC’s had 19 copies of 15 pages each while President Mahama’s address had 106 pages in 175 paragraphs, accompanied with 20 copies.
The lawyers for the parties are filing their addresses in line with the court directive. Three New Patriotic party (NPP) stalwarts, including the party’s 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo are challenging the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as President in the December 7 & 8, 2012 presidential election by Electoral Commission (EC) Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.
Other petitioners are Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate to the NPP presidential candidate and Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, NPP National Chairman.
The respondents are President Mahama, the EC and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
After close of evidence on Thursday, July 18, the nine-member panel presided over by Justice William Atuguba ordered the parties to file their addresses on or before today, July 30 and come to court the next day, July 31, for the court to determine whether or not the directive was complied with.
It was clear that each party was keeping, as much as possible, the contents in their addresses to their chests.
It was expected that today, the court will most likely move to fix a definite date for judgement on the validity of the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as President in the December 7 & 8, 2012 presidential election by EC Chairman Dr. Afari-Gyan.
However, the anxious wait of Ghanaians will probably be prolonged as the late filing might affect services on the parties.
Per the court’s rules, once a party files a document, contending parties are entitled to copies and considering the timing for the filings, the court’s bailiffs might not be able to execute services to enable the court to fix the judgement date today.
The lawyers at today’s sitting might be allowed to respond to some of the emerging issues raised in the respective addresses when there is confirmation that the addresses have indeed been filed and successfully served on them.
The court will specifically look at whether or not statutory violations, irregularities and malpractices occurred in the conduct of the election and whether they affected the outcome.
The violations being complained about by the petitioners include over-voting, voting without biometric, same serial numbers on pink sheets as well as unsigned pink sheets by Electoral Commission (EC) officials.
Votes in Contention
The petitioners specifically want the court to strike out 3,916,385 votes due to what they say are statutory violations, irregularities and malpractices.
At the close of evidence Mr. Addison, put it to Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, who was winding up his cross-examination, that President John Dramani Mahama was the ultimate beneficiary of the violations, malpractices and irregularities complained about.
Counsel for the petitioners buttressed their case that the 1st petitioner, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, should have been rightfully declared as winner of the December polls and not John Mahama, the candidate of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
The petitioners’ address spanning some 176 pages, cites over 60 authorities and spells out the case for the petitioners.
The case of the petitioners is mainly on the facts and figures on the pink sheets, the official document that the Electoral Commission relied on to declare the results of the presidential polls held on 7th and 8th December. They have also grounded their case on clear breaches of the Constitution and other electoral laws and practices in Ghana.
The address reiterates the six main categories of irregularities, malpractices, violations and omissions in various combinations, which affected the results of the election in 11,842 polling stations.
To prosecute their case, the petitioners are relying on 10,119 pink sheets, “which spoke to the nature of the violations, malpractices, and irregularities grounding the petition.”
The true result of the 2012 presidential election after it is cured of all the infractions through the necessary annulments, the address explains, should see Nana Akufo-Addo earning 56.85% with the first respondent, John Mahama, obtaining 41.79% of the valid votes cast.
To underline the strength of their case, according to the issues laid down by the court, the address has shown in clear terms that most of the six categories, can on their own, show that John Mahama, the presidential candidate of the NDC, who was declared winner by the EC on December 9, was not validly elected, which requires over 50% of the valid votes cast.
Nana Addo Winner
The petitioners are therefore asking the court to declare that John Mahama was not validly elected and that the court should invoke its constitutional and statutory powers to declare Nana Akufo-Addo as the validly elected president of the Republic.
The address also noted that the “respondents failed or refused to file any pink sheet, except the 17 pink sheets 2nd Respondent was compelled to tender in evidence on the penultimate day of trial, in an attempt to rebut damaging evidence led against it.”
It also notes that “beyond reliance on inconsequential reports of election observers, the respondents, in effect, tendered no evidence of substance of their own,” as they “all sought to whittle down and reduce the number of pink sheet exhibits petitioners had filed on grounds of defects in labelling of the pink sheets.”
The petitioners believe that the final decision of the Supreme Court will have fundamental and far reaching consequences for the future of democracy in Ghana, as “it will either affirm the commitment of citizens to our democratic journey and bolster their confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law, or undermine their belief in political and legal institutions of the nation.”
The concluding section of the address states: “The petitioners have shown by the sheer depth and weight of the evidence adduced at trial and the force of legal arguments advanced in this address that there were indeed, substantial constitutional and statutory violations, malpractices and irregularities in the 2012 presidential election and these violations, malpractices and irregularities had a material effect on the results of the election as declared by the 2nd Respondent.”