Friday, January 1, 2021 9:35 am
By Tony Iyare
…Says Declaration of Election Result Unconstitutional, Null and Void
…Details Serious Violations of the 1992 Constitution by Electoral Commission, Calls For a Rerun
…Claims Result is Mathematical and Statistical Impossibility
Ghana’s opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has filed its long-awaited petition at the country’s Supreme Court, asking the apex court to void results of the December 7, 2020 controversial elections.
The petition, filed at midday on Wednesday, on behalf of the party’s Presidential Candidate and former President, John Dramani Mahama by his lawyers, seeks among other things, a rerun of the presidential elections and an order asking the Court to restrain incumbent President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the second respondent, from further parading himself as President-elect.
The statement issued by NDC’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said: “The petition was filed pursuant to the party‘s audit of the 2020 Presidential results and extensive consultations with the National Executive Committee and Council of Elders of the party.
“The petition details serious violations of the 1992 Constitution by the Electoral Commission and its Chairperson and Returning Officer for the Presidential Election, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa in the conduct of their constitutional and legal responsibilities.
“It seeks among others, a declaration from the Supreme Court to the effect that, the purported declaration of the results of the 2020 Presidential Election on the 9th day of December 2020 is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
The grounds of the petition on the court papers among others include:
The NDC rejected results of the elections a day after they were declared by the Electoral Commission, Ghana (EC).
Ms Mensa had announced incumbent President and Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as winner of the polls with 6,730,587 votes, representing 51.3 percent.
But at the press conference to express his dissent to the declared results, Mahama, Ghana’s President between 2012 and 2017, described Mrs Mensa’s action as an illegality, then announcing his intention to take the legal course, aside other actions, to reverse the declaration.
“On account of this, my party is confident that what has happened is a violation of the law. It is a violation of due process and, therefore, tantamount to an illegality.
“It is also a violation of an understanding we hold dear in this country, an understanding that this is not dictatorship or a monarchy run by a single family for the benefit of a family.
“Ghana belongs to the people of Ghana, all of the people of Ghana.”
Supporters of the party, prior to the legal action, have staged numerous demonstrations across the nation to register their distaste to the outcome of the elections.
NDC’s Director of Communications, Sammy Gyamfi who asked the NPP to respond to the election petition filed by Mahama, said also in a statement that “The results of the 2020 Presidential elections were declared by the Returning Officer, Jean Mensah on 9th December. Per the content of the said declaration, none of the Candidates got more than 50% of the Total Valid Votes as required by the Constitution, i.e taken into account her assumption on Techiman south.
“Fact is, if all votes in Techiman South were added to the votes of candidate John Mahama, Candidate Akufo Addo would have dropped below 50%. The EC Chairperson and retuning officer, Jean Mensah lied when she said in her declaration that even if all votes in Techiman South were added to the 2nd Candidate, John Mahama, the first Candidate, Akufo-Addo will still obtain more than 50% of Total Valid votes. Her own declaration doesn’t support this claim.
“Also, Percentages allocated to the names of the candidates in the 9th Dec. declaration were wrong. The sum total of the percentages is 100.3%, a clear mathematical and statistical impossibility.
“Now can the NPP file their answer to the Petition and stop issuing useless press releases?”
Null and Void
“The case of John Mahama is simply that, the declaration of Candidate Akufo Addo as the winner of the 2020 Presidential elections is unconstitutional and null and void as Candidate Akufo- Addo didn’t get more than 50% of total valid votes per the declaration of the Returning Officer, Jean Mensah, hence must be set aside,” he said..
Article 63(3) of the Ghanaian 1992 Constitution, specifically requires the winner of a Presidential election to obtain more than 50% of Total Valid Votes. Failure of any of the candidates to attain more than 50% of Total Valid Votes must lead to a runoff between the first and second candidates.
Gyamfi maintains that, “Percentages allocated to the names of the candidates in the 9th Dec. declaration were wrong. The sum total of the percentages is 100.3%, a clear mathematical and statistical impossibility.
“The case of John Mahama is simply that, the declaration of Candidate Akufo Addo as the winner of the 2020 Presidential elections is unconstitutional and null and void as Candidate Akufo- Addo didn’t get more than 50% of total valid votes per the declaration of the Returning Officer, Jean Mensah, hence must be set aside.”
According to the NDC spokesperson, “The next day after the declaration, 10th December, the EC posted a press release on their website claiming that the returning officer made a mistake by using Total Votes Cast in her declaration instead of Total Valid Votes and purported to rectify this alleged error. The so-called press release was not signed by the returning officer who made the declaration. In fact, it was not signed at all.
Unsigned Press Release
“Also, the unsigned press release didn’t make any reference to the Total valid votes figure the returning officer is alleged to have gotten wrong in her declaration of 9th Dec. Rather, it made reference to another figure, hence cannot be described as a true and proper correction of the alleged mistake the returning officer made in her declaration of 9th December.
“Also, the EC claims in the unsigned press release that the mistake the returning officer made on the 9th Dec. was just a slip of tongue and does not affect the votes obtained by the candidates. Yet, the new total valid votes figure the unsigned press release of 10th Dec. introduced is different from the sum total of votes obtained by the 12 candidates per the declaration of 9th Dec.
“This is because, the unsigned press release varied the votes obtained by the candidates. JDM’s votes were reduced by 1707 and NADAA votes increased by 174, among other variations. The sum total of votes obtained by the candidates per the Returning Officer’s declaration of 9th Dec. is completely missing in the unsigned press release of 10th Dec. The EC lied.
“More importantly, article 63(9) requires the EC to pass the outcome of the Presidential election into law (Constitutional Instrument) and gazette same. The EC passed the declaration of 9th Dec., which it admits was in error (per the unsigned press release) into law (Declaration of President Elect Instrument, CI 135) and gazetted same. The unsigned press release of 10th Dec. that purported to correct the 9th Dec. declaration is neither part of CI 135 nor was it gazetted. Rather, it was the declaration of 9th Dec. that the EC admits was in error that was passed by CI 135 and gazetted.
“Moreover, the new total valid votes figure introduced by the unsigned press release of 10th Dec. is fraught with padding and wrong aggregation of votes as shown by exhibit E & F, hence cannot stand.
“To make matters worse, the new total valid votes figure capriciously and whimsically introduced by the EC’s unsigned press release of 10th Dec. to purportedly correct the alleged mistake the Returning Officer committed in her declaration of 9th Dec. was done without the involvement of agents of the candidates as required by law. No one has seen the basis of that new total valid votes figure nor the new votes allocated to the names of the candidates. This is a gross violation of articles 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution in the opinion of the Petitioner,” he said,.
No Material Evidence
The ruling NPP in a statement, however says the NDC presented no material evidence of value to support its claims that the 2020 Presidential Elections were rigged in favour of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Communications Director of the NPP, Yaw Buaben Asamoa said in the statement, that the NDC lied to their supporters that they had won and started referring to John Dramani Mahama ‘falsely as the President-Elect’.
“Now they have backtracked, settling futilely for a run-off which they themselves know will not happen. They have attempted and continue to use lies, threats, violence, and intimidation to seek forlornly to overrule the manifest will of the people as freely expressed on 7th December, 2020.
“We are absolutely confident that the facts and figures as presented in court, even by the NDC, will very easily, in a transparent and indisputable manner, reaffirm the expressed will of the voting public that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo won the 2020 Presidential Election “one touch” and convincingly so,” the statement said.
“The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken notice of the filing of an Election Petition by John Dramani Mahama, challenging the declaration of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the validly elected and duly declared President-Elect of the Republic of Ghana.
“Indeed, the responsible, appropriate and democratic means of determining election disputes is by resort to the Courts. Better still, the process of filing a Petition in court ought to put to bed the many cases of intimidation, threats and acts of violence and arson and destruction of property, that have been the preferred path for the NDC.
“The NPP is assured that the 7th December 2020 Elections was won fair and square. Indeed, the evidence presented by the NDC has only reassured the people of Ghana that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo won the elections. The fact of transparency of the General Elections was also resoundingly affirmed by the myriad of local and international observers that participated in the electoral process.
“It is quite curious that John Dramani Mahama, the NDC flagbearer and Petitioner, who grounds his Petition on supposed errors made by the Electoral Commission, has himself submitted a Petition fraught with errors, including requesting a run-off between himself and the Electoral Commission. It is also unfortunate that even after filing the Petition in court, the NDC led by John Dramani Mahama continues to incite supporters to pour onto the streets to cause chaos and anarchy.
“The NPP wishes to assure its supporters and the People of Ghana that the Legal Team of H.E. the President is ready to expose the emptiness of John Mahama’s Petition and the NDC’s denial of the electoral truth that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo indeed won this election without any iota of doubt.
“It must, however, be stressed that it is quite worrying that John Dramani Mahama, through his social media handles, continues to incite violence even as he invokes his right to use the court process to settle his grievance. He posted on his Facebook page and Twitter handle as follows;
“While in court, the NDC will continue all legitimate actions, including protests, to demand the enforcement of the rule of law and protection of life and property of the good people of Ghana.”
The NPP contends that, “This is rather unfortunate and unbefitting of a former President of the Republic. It is obvious that the Petitioner himself has very little confidence in the Petition he is presenting and is still resorting to intimidation to overturn the express will of the people of Ghana. In his latest Press Conference, he explained he is going to court only “to remove doubt.” Does he need the Supreme Court to remove his doubts about losing the elections?
“By calling on his supporters to continue going on the streets, John Dramani Mahama has not only flagrantly flouted but also abused the Peace Pact signed on the 4th of December 2020 where he undertook amongst others, in the presence of witnesses and on National Television, “to accept the results of the elections and concede to the winner accordingly and to use judicial resolution of election disputes, where necessary.”
“We call on John Dramani Mahama to immediately retract his inciteful statements to his supporters. It is highly irresponsible of John Dramani Mahama to commence the judicial process yet still admonish his supporters to continue with the violent protests that have threatened the security and peace of Ghanaians and caused Ghanaians to live in unnecessary fear and panic over the past few weeks. The good people of Ghana hold John Dramani Mahama accountable to his sacred undertaking to comply with the Peace Pact, just as H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo did in 2012 and 2016.
“Indeed, when NPP filed a Petition in 2012, we notably admonished our supporters not to hit the streets and they did not hit the streets. In fact, this was acknowledged by John Dramani Mahama’s Foreign Minister then, Hannah Tetteh, who said to investors in Dubai on May 2, 2013:
“Our elections have been challenged but they are being challenged in court, they are not being challenged in the streets and whatever is the outcome of the court’s decision, we will all go along with it as political parties.”
The NPP is greatly confident that due process will prevail, and the Supreme Court will deal with the Petition in accordance with the rule of law,” the party’s spokesperson said.
Tony Iyare, a public affairs analyst, wrote this piece originally for ndr.org