columnBy Phyllis D. Osabutey
THE OPPOSITION New Patriotic Party (NPP) that is challenging the outcome of the December 7 and 8, 2012 elections says the Electoral Commission's (EC) response to their petition before the Supreme court is nothing, other than pathetic excuses. According to the Party's Chairman, Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, the EC's document was full of arrogance and irreverence, and offered no justification for the flaws, other than pathetic excuses about signatures not passing through 3 sheets of carbon paper and suggesting that there were nearly a ÂÂ¼ million voters added to the rolls late because they were foreign service or NGO officials, students abroad on government scholarships, or international peacekeepers. He said the EC had nothing to say about the details of the case but spent more time and energy debating vocabulary, by quoting definitions of adjectives from dictionaries, than they spent defending to the Ghanaian people why, despite being funded by the taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions of cedis, they ran an election in which 1 in every 8 votes will have to be thrown out. He pointed out that the EC did not explain why they chose to annul the results of certain polling stations with minor violations of verification or over-voting; yet over 1.3 million were declared valid without any problem.
Addressing journalists in the Party's headquarters in Accra yesterday, by way of an update on NPP's recent activities in pursuit of justice and the status of the petition brought before the Supreme Court of Ghana, he said "We look forward to facing the EC in court, backed by 24,000 of their very own pink sheets." He emphasized that "We have presented before the court what we believe to be incontrovertible evidence that John Mahama did not win the 2012 presidential election and rather that Nana Akufo-Addo won." In view of this, "We will prove, just from documented evidence from the EC itself, that over 12% (1.34 million) of votes counted were in fact illegal and ought not have been included in the declared total, and that over 2/3 of this sum, numbering some 916,000, wrongly went to John Mahama for an election in which he crossed the mandatory 50% mark by less than 154,000", he stated.
While Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey indicated that the Party was awaiting the reply of President John Mahama yesterday, it also mentioned that his "inauguration is NOT a point of no return." He further stated that the framers of the 1992 Constitution fully envisioned a President being declared the winner of an election, a challenge being entered 21 days later, and just a week after that, the inauguration taking place on the basis of the original declaration.
"A declaration by the Supreme Court that the election of the President is not valid shall be without prejudice to anything done by the President before the declaration", he added.
To him, this means that "the Court can declare, as we are confident that they will do in the interest of justice shortly that the election of December 7 and 8, when corrected for invalid and fraudulent votes, actually resulted in the victory of Nana Akufo-Addo."
"Therefore, John Mahama must vacate the Castle and a new inauguration of the proper President must take place immediately. Once in office, President Akufo-Addo will respect whatever laws may have been enacted by his predecessor, no matter how short the duration of the invalidated mandate", he averred.
In respect of the National Democratic Congress, that is also seeking to join the EC in defence, the NPP Chairman said, "We have noticed that the NDC has spent the last few days since we filed our petition attacking not the substance of evidence we have presented in court, but raising by-the-way issues citing the irregularities present in every election."
He said granted there are minor irregularities in every election, " what the people of Ghana are saying, by supporting our petition is that, a manipulated total in which 1 in every 8 votes should not have been included cannot be whitewashed with the term "irregularity" and implied to have been simple, isolated, innocent errors."
"The EC cannot substitute your vote, our votes, with that of an illegal voter called "irregularity". We don't accept that and cannot accept that", he stressed.
He insisted that elections are about those who cast the votes and not those who count, record or declare, thus, "This case is necessary for renewing public confidence in our elections, hence, our democracy."
He elaborated that there was over 200,000 invalid votes as a result of no EC signature on the pink sheet, over 400,000 invalid votes cast without verification, over 600,000 invalid votes cast due to over-voting, as more votes were recorded than ballots were distributed in a polling station. Also, 1 in every 8 votes that the EC declared will have to be invalidated, 12% of the votes were invalid! And 127,000 voters that the EC says are a "mistake".
He affirmed that "Of course, we have based our case on this solid evidence of arithmetic and we will stick to the evidence."
Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey said "We undertake this battle of justice - not merely for the more than 5 million people who voted for our party, and certainly not for the glory of our Presidential candidate - but on behalf of all Ghanaians, including those yet unborn, and indeed Africans from across the continent who are watching our case and looking to Ghana to pave the way forward."
"Our nation has always been at the forefront of democratic change and political progress, and we are confident that the wisdom and foresight of our justices will make our beacon of democracy shine even brighter", he added.
He expressed hope that at the end, the Supreme Court will give a ruling that will not only declare Nana Akufo-Addo the rightful winner, but will also set in place a process that will lead to reforming the electoral process and secure the fate of Ghana's democracy forever.
According to him, this case will make or break Ghana's democracy, and all of Africa and indeed the world were watching, while stressing that "The evidence is on our side and we believe that when considered by the justices of the Supreme Court, it will be so pronounced."
He ended by saying that "Soon the party leadership will embark on a national tour to thank its supporters for their peaceful conduct and for their patience in anticipation of justice, and for coming out in their numbers to vote for transformation, education, health and jobs and against corruption, incompetence, lies and propaganda. And, Insha Allah, we are very confident that sooner than later the true impact of their vote shall manifest."