29 August 2013

Ghana: Supreme Court Upholds John Dramani Mahama Election Win

Photo: Daniel Finnan/RFI
Celebrating President John Mahama's election victory (file photo).

Accra — Ghana's Supreme Court has upheld President John Dramani Mahama's election as president, rejecting challenges to the vote by the opposition NPP led by presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo-Addo, and his running mate, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, National Chairman of the party in question, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey.

"The first respondent was validly elected and the suit is dismissed" Chairman of the panel of Judges Mr. William Atuguba announced by a unanimous verdict.

The Judges arrived at final decision by going through the following six issues raised by the petitioners:

1. Overvoting: dismissed by a 5:4 majority decision
2. Voting without biometric verification: dismissed 6:3 majority decision
3. Absence of signature: dismissed 5:4 majority decision
4. Duplicate pink sheets: dismissed unanimously
5. Duplicate Polling Stations: dismissed unanimously
6. Unknown polling stations: dismissed unanimously

The December 7 and 8 2012 general elections were keenly contested by eight presidential candidates with John Dramani Mahama of the then incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) being the two lead runners.

The Electoral Commission (EC) on December 9, 2012 declared 10,995,262 valid votes were cast and gave the incumbent, President John Dramani Mahama a 50.70% victory with 5,574,761 votes whiles his main challenger Nana Akufo-Addo, his main challenger, received 5,248,898 votes, representing 47.79% and the rest of the votes shared among the six other candidates.

The petitioners sought from the Supreme Court, which has exclusive jurisdiction on presidential election petitions in Ghana, to annul 4,381,145 votes from 11,138 polling stations (out of 26,002 polling stations nationwide). They claim those votes were affected by six main categories of constitutional and statutory violations, malpractices, omissions and irregularities in various combinations.

The court ruled on whether or not there were statutory violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of the elections held on December 7 and 8, 2012 elections, and also whether or not the said reliefs (if any) affected the outcome of the results.

The Electoral Commission insisted that the vote was credible, despite technical difficulties with the biometric voter verification system.

International observers said the poll was largely free, fair and credible, and that the electoral commission had conducted its business in an open and transparent manner.

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