By Frank Amponsah
Both the President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo and the Electoral Commission (EC) 1st and 2nd Respondent respectively in former President John Mahama’s election petition, have prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss the case filed against them over the December 7, 2020 election results.
In his response to the petition, the President (2nd Respondent), through his lawyers, said“In point of fact, the Petitioner only devotes an overwhelming portion of the petition (30 out of 35 paragraphs) to weak and inconsistent complaints about the ‘declaration of the winner’ of the election by the 1st Respondent and the remaining five paragraphs to empty allegations of ‘wrong aggregation of votes’ and ‘vote-padding’, which, collectively, involves about 6,622 votes – an amount patently insignificant to materially affect the outcome of an election in which the 2nd Respondent defeated the Petitioner by well over 500,000 votes”.
In the 12-page document, the President said in each of the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting Centre’s used for the recently-held elections across the country, “the votes were counted and the results declared in the presence of representatives of the candidates, counting agents, voters, the general public and in most instances, the media and local and international observers.”
“Upon the declaration of results, copies are posted at the various polling stations in accordance with the law governing the elections. 2nd Respondent states that the Petition does not disclose any attack on the validity of the election held throughout the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting Centre’s or any of the processes set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 (supra).”
The “2nd Respondent, in the circumstance, says the petition is merely conjectural and borne out of petitioner’s unfounded imagination and further that the material facts in the petition do not support the reliefs sought and, therefore, same should be dismissed in limine as incompetent.”
Regarding the contentious votes of the TechimanSouth Constituency, the President said if the total valid votes cast were credited to each candidate correctly, he would duly obtain more than 50% of the votes cast.
He, thus, prayed the Supreme Court to “determine that the petition is incompetent, frivolous and vexatious, and discloses no reasonable cause of action in terms of article 64(1) of the Constitution and set the issue down for legal arguments.”
Article 64(1) reads: “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 result of the election in respect of which the petition is presented.”
In the same vein, the EC being the 1st Respondent averred that “the full results of the 7 December 2020 presidential election” were known to the Petitioner and that the claims in the petition are contrived, have no legal basis and ought to be dismissed.
In its response to the petition, the EC stated that “notwithstanding all the resources and training deployed and the facilities put in place, there is a possibility of minor discrepancies as a result of computational and mathematical errors made in the course of the collation of the results but these did not have a material effect on the overall results as declared.”
The EC, on 10 December 2020, a day after declaring the presidential results, effected a correction of the total valid votes via a press statement.
It said instead of the 13,434,574 announced by EC Chair Jean Mensa as the total number of valid votes, it was 13,121,111, adding that MrMahama was, therefore, “well aware that 13,434,574 was an error”.
“1st Respondent states that the petition ought to be dismissed also because the Petitioner does not challenge the validity of the election conducted throughout the 38,622 polling stations and the 311-special voting centres in the country, or contest the lawfulness of votes obtained by any of the parties to the election”.
“1st Respondent adds that the petitioner has failed to indicate the exact number of votes and percentages that he or the other candidates ought to have obtained in comparison to the number of votes and percentages declared by the 1st Petitioner”.
“The 1st Respondent, accordingly, raises a preliminary legal objection to the petition as being incompetent and not, as required by article 64(1) of the Constitution and Rule 68(1) of the Supreme Court rules 1996 (CI 16), as amended, amounting to a challenge of the validity of the presidential election conducted by the 1st Respondent on 7 December 2020”.
“Wherefore, the 1st Respondent prays the petition and all the grounds in support thereof, be summarily dismissed by this honourable court for not disclosing any reasonable cause of action”, the EC’s response prayed the court.
Meanwhile, John Mahama’s arguments are based on the point that only the public declaration made by Mrs Mensa on 9 December 2020 is guaranteed by the Constitution, and further that all the subsequent corrections were unconstitutional, and in any case declared through unsigned documents, which make them no declarations at all.
He said any such corrections should have been done in the presence of the representatives of the candidates and that the errors go beyond inadvertent mistakes.
The case, however, will be heard from 14 January and judgement is expected to be delivered by February 10, 2021.