12 December 2012

Ghana: NPP Head for Supreme Court

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is heading for the Supreme Court to challenge the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as President-elect of the Republic of Ghana, following the declaration by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission that the Transitional Head of State won the presidential poll.

On Sunday, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan declared the sitting President winner of the presidential election by polling 5,574,761 of the popular votes, representing 50.7 percent of the valid votes cast. According to Dr. Afari-Gyan, the NPP candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, secured 47.74 percent, which translated into 5,248,898 votes.

The NPP cried foul, and after a marathon meeting of the National Executive Committee at the Botsio Auditorium of the plush Alisa Hotel yesterday, party Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey emerged to tell the media that the NPP was indeed, heading for the Supreme Court.

"We are going to the Supreme Court, because it is the final arbiter in case of controversies like these. What we don't want is a situation where the government in power always thinks it could perpetuate itself in power by using illegal means," the party Chairman told the media after the meeting.

He said the members of the executive committee were firm in their conviction that the verdict declared was not the will of the people. "Elections are about the sovereign will of the people. On this occasion, we believe the will of the people will not reflect in the results declared," Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey declared.

Asked to tell Ghanaians the exact date the NPP would lodge their complaint with the Supreme Court, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey said party officials were studying the figures.

"So far, we have got 28 constituencies where there is clear evidence that figures have been doctored. We're still studying the rest. Our lawyers are also putting the various pieces of evidence together. As soon as everything is set, we will present the evidence at the Supreme Court."

He told The Chronicle that the law on election disputes stipulated that those heading for court on election matters had 21 days to file their claims. "We are working on the numbers. At the same time, our lawyers are piecing the evidences together. As soon as we are set, we would knock on the doors of the Supreme Court."

One-time Attorney-General, Mr. Joe Ghartey, who retained his seat as Member of Parliament of Essikado-Ketan in the Western Region, told The Chronicle that there was merit in the party's posture. "I believe that so far, with 28 constituencies fully examined, there is a case for a run-off."

He said President Mahama could not have won the presidential race outright. "In my opinion, figures have been doctored, which is a very dangerous happening in a democracy. The vote is all about the free decision of the citizenry. If people's verdicts are changed, the whole exercise becomes useless," he said.

Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu told The Chronicle that the party hierarchy in the Ashanti Region was not comfortable with the kind of results declared in the region.

"At the moment, our Regional Chairman has the Red Sheet. Party gurus are studying them carefully. The people of Ghana would hear from us as soon as the exercise is complete," the Minority Leader said.

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