Mr Anthony Akoto Ampaw, the lead counsel for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the 2020 presidential election petition, has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to review its election results collation processes.
“I believe that the EC itself and other stakeholders need a closer review of the actual processes and procedures that they took in arriving at the final collation of results in the 2020 elections and to see whether there is the need for some reforms,” he said.
Mr Akoto Ampaw stated in his submission at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana) Roundtable dubbed, “Presidential Election Petitions and their Impact on Africa’s Democracy”.
“I can see quite clearly that there may be some reforms to the CI (Constitutional Instrument) 127. Looking at it, I can see that from this experience. But I am saying that, given the issues that were brought before the Court, frankly speaking, the Court had very little opportunity to make any recommendations for reforms,” Mr Akoto Ampaw said.
He noted that if one had a case of this nature before the highest court, and the case raised substantial issues of facts, then one could expect that in coming out with a judgement, the Supreme Court, apart from making a decision, would make recommendations based on some of the issues of facts that were raised in the cause of trial.
“But honestly, I am of the view that, legally speaking, there was no case before the Supreme Court,” he said.
He noted that where a substantive grievance was brought before the Court, even if the Court should rule against the petitioner, it might see the need to make recommendations.
Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, a member of former President John Dramani Mahama’s legal team, in a rebuttal, noted that even a Justice of the Supreme Court, who was part of the panel of judges that sat on the case, said there was a reasonable cause of action in the case that was brought before the Court.
Dr Ayine maintained that what Mr Akoto Ampaw said was not what the Court said.
He said the ruling of the apex court in the 2020 presidential election petition had dampened his faith in the Judiciary.
But Mr Yaw Oppong, a member of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s legal team, said the ruling of the Court had both strengthened and enhanced his faith in Ghana’s Judiciary.
He noted that giving the opportunity for the whole world to watch the trial (on television) brought justice to the doorsteps of the people. He added that it was as if some demystification of the judiciary process was taking place, even though justice emanates from the people and should be enforced in their name.
Need to improve
Professor Henry Kwesi Prempeh, the Executive Director of CDD, said from the stand point of improving election management, he does not think Ghana has made much of an advance.
He noted that in a presidential election petition, it is not only the litigants that are put on trial, but also on trial is the Judiciary, saying that was why the Judges, being aware of that, allowed the cameras and the videos into the Courtroom.
This, he said, was because the judges were conscious of the fact that this was not just a legal matter but also a political matter and the generality of the public had a keen interest in it, saying the voters were the real parties of interest.
He said voters were the reason why the Court showcased the election petition hearing.
Prof. Prempeh said also on trial in an election petition trial is the election management body, declaring that conduct of the Electoral Commission was also on trial.
He said the Court itself should have, at least, asked the EC some questions in the 2020 presidential election petition, adding that Ghanaians missed that opportunity because the Court was a little bit too technical about the matter.