The Supreme Court will today give its final verdict in the ongoing presidential election petition. The petitioner, John Dramani Mahama, is challenging the declaration of the second respondent, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, by the first respondent, the Electoral Commission, as the winner of the December 7, 2020 general election.
The petition was filed on December 30, and has lasted for about 55 days. A seven-member panel of the apex court, presided over by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has been sitting on the case.
Other members of the panel are Justice Yaw Apau, Justice Samuel Marfu-Sau, Justice Nene Amegatcher, Justice Nii Ashie Kotei, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo and Justice Mariama Owusu.
Mr Mahama claimed that per the figures announced by the Chairperson of the EC, none of the 12 candidates who contested the December 7, 2020 presidential election met the constitutional threshold of obtaining more than 50 per cent of the valid votes as stipulated by Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
He argued that the Techiman South constituency had a total voting population of 128,018, and if that was added to the total valid votes cast, as declared by the EC, it would be 13,434,574 plus 128,018 (13,562,592).
“Consequently, if all the votes of Techiman South Constituency were added to the petitioner’s votes, the second respondent’s votes will remain the same at 6,730,413, translating to 49.625 per cent, while the votes of Mr Mahama would increase to 6,342,907, yielding 46.768 per cent,” he said.
He, therefore, prayed the Supreme Court to nullify the declaration, and order the EC to conduct a run-off between him and President Akufo-Addo.
But the two respondents described the petition as incompetent on the basis that it raised no cause of action, arguing that the petitioner had not properly invoked the jurisdiction of the apex court to adjudicate on the presidential election petition, as stipulated under Article 64 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.
According to them, any person who goes to the apex court under Article 64 (1) of the 1992 Constitution must attack the validity of the election.
They also argued that the petition failed to make any allegation of infractions in the actual voting that took place in the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting centres.
According to President Akufo-Addo, an alleged inaccuracy in the declaration of the results by the EC on December 9 did not mean the election on December 7 was invalid.
President Akufo-Addo further argued that even if the declaration was faulty, as described by the petitioner, it did not mean the actual election was invalid and, therefore, unconstitutional.
The EC, on the other hand, argued that the petition was incompetent because it did not contest “the lawfulness of votes” obtained by any candidate in any polling station where the election was held.
The respondents also said former President Mahama’s petition was frivolous because the figures he was using to make a case clearly made President Akufo-Addo the winner of the 2020 presidential poll.
The EC admitted that Mrs Mensa inadvertently read the figure representing the total number of votes cast as the one representing the total number of valid votes cast, and also gave the percentage of the votes garnered by President Akufo-Addo as 51.59 per cent, instead of 51.295.
It, however, averred that the EC corrected the errors on December 10 and “the corrections and clarifications did not affect the overall results as declared”.
The EC, therefore, argued that former President Mahama’s “deliberate” reliance on the figures declared on December 9, 2020 is “misleading, untenable and misconceived.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, the petitioner’s reliance on an inadvertent mistake by the EC did not prove that no candidate won the election.
He insisted that “a simple computation of the valid votes declared in favour of second respondent (President Akufo-Addo) as a percentage of the total valid votes of 13,121,111 yields a percentage of 51.295 per cent.”
Meanwhile, a coalition of eight political parties and independent presidential candidate in the 2020 elections has urged the parties involved in the case to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court in good faith to avoid the pitfall of political instability in the country.
The parties are Convention People Party, Ghana Union Movement, National People Convention, National Democratic Party, Progressive People Party, Liberal Party of Ghana, All People Congress, Great Consolidated People Party GCPP and an Independent Presidential candidate.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, independent presidential candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah said “… As parties who believe in the institutions of State, we are convinced that the Justices of the supreme Court will give a ruling which will first uphold truth and justice and reflect the true outcome of the 2020 general elections.”
He reiterated that the outcome of the 2012 election petition remains the perfect frame of reference for all political parties.
He urged winners of the petition to be measured in their celebration.
“The same token, loser of the petition must also endeavour to be gracious in defeat and resist the temptation to destabilise the nation through violent protests aiming to plunge the country into a hopeless state of insecurity,” he said.
In a related development, a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Yoni Kulendi, has noted that the Justices are not above criticism. He however cautioned that it must be done with care when necessary.
Speaking at joint press conference organised by the Judicial Service, Ghana Journalists Association GJA, National Media Commission (NMC) and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Justice Kulendi said: “We are just trustees and agents of the law. We can be criticised and you are permitted to do so … for it is a human institution. We have our shortfalls and imperfections that must be criticised, but you must be mindful of your commentary.”