10 January 2013

Ghana: Supreme Court Ready for Election Petition

As the Supreme Court (SC)gets ready to adjudicate the first test case in an election petition filed by the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo- Addo and two others against the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the 2012 Presidential election, there had been series of preparations done to ensure security and safety of the public, who may attend the court sitting today, January 10, 2013.

The court room had received a facelift as it is washed with new oil paint and new air-conditioners fixed with other accessories well positioned to exhibit a fresh and cosy environment.

The Communication's Directorate of the Judicial Service had also prepared the media and provided each journalist covering the election petition in court with accreditation to ensure accessibility of the appropriate information for dissemination to the general public.

Additionally, the Police Service is in readiness to provide absolute security and maintain peace and order at the court, as several police personnel were yesterday seen surveying and patrolling the premises and vicinity of the court environment.

The court is expected to sit on a motionfiled by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), whose presidential candidate was declared winner of the December 7, 2012 polls, seeking to join the case filed before the court, challenging the declared winner.

The NDC has filed the motion before the SC to join the petition brought against President John Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC), explaining that the former was elected on its ticket and had been prudent for the party to seek interest in the proceedings of the case since the decision of the court would affect it.

However, the presidential candidate of the NPP in the December 2012 general elections, Nana Akufo-Addo, has opposed the request by the NDC to be joined in a petition challenging the results of the polls.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the move by the NDC was a calculated act to delay the action challenging the 2012 presidential polls, which saw President John Dramani Mahama emerge winner with 50.7 per cent.

In an application filed on Saturday, January 5, 2013, opposing the NDC's request, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that the action of the NDC defeats the import of the new Supreme Court rule, which aims at securing an expeditious trial in a petition challenging the results of a presidential election.

The Supreme Court rule states that hearing of a petition against a presidential election shall be done on a daily basis, including public holidays.

Rule 69 C (5) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (CI 74) provides in part as follows: "The Court shall sit from day to day, including public holidays", when hearing a presidential election petition.

The plaintiffs, Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the running mate of the NPP presidential candidate, and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the National Chairman of the NPP, are challenging the EC's declaration of President Mahama as winner of the 2012 presidential election.

It is the assertion of the plaintiffs that there are irregularities recorded during the elections that favoured the NDC, noting that 24,000 of the pink result sheets from some polling stations indicated that those irregularities were enough to affect the results.

On December 9, 2012, the EC declared the NDC's candidate, Mr John Mahama, winner of the elections and, therefore, President-elect of Ghana.

The declaration was further gazetted by the Declaration of President-elect Instrument 2012 (CI 80) on December 11, 2012.

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