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Dark clouds on Ghana’s 4th Republic; Recent events in Parliament our worst test?

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Parliament of Ghana in session

The good people of Ghana have once again subjected the tenets of our democratic credentials to a test when they voted for the President and Members of Parliament and ensured a successful investiture of the both the executive and the legislature.

 Although, democracy is a very expensive system of government, it is globally uses consensus building as means of governing a group of people. Subscription to the tenets of democracy has come far even though democracy is not a destination but rather a process.

Happenings in the Chamber of the August House leading to the swearing-in of Members of Parliament, the Speaker, the President and the Vice President were appalling to say the least. It could be said that by nature, once the sun rises, it will surely settle at the west by the close of the day. Then how come that in the midst of the deliberations in relation to constitutional provisions and standing orders of Parliament, Military men stormed the Chamber? The presence of the military and whoever issued the command must be condemned by all well-meaning democrats.

Parliament as an arm of government is responsible for making, amending and repealing of obnoxious laws. In discharging their responsibilities, the Members of Parliament rely solely on the Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders for all deliberations. Further, both the Minority and Majority over the years do agree or disagree and sometimes compromise on issues in the interest of Republic of Ghana. But what has happened between the 6-7 January cannot be attributed to being in the interest of people of Ghana who queued to vote for their representatives.

What Ghanaians witnessed on television stations across the length and breadth of the country did not position us as the beacon of democracy we pride ourselves with.  Can the position taken by the then |Minority Caucus to occupy the Seats of then Majority Caucus be justified?

Generally, some of the happenings in relation to voting for the President and Members of Parliament on December 7th can be considered as something regrettable.  About 7 souls were lost through no fault of theirs.

Again, the general behavior of Honorable Members of Parliament in raining verbal and physical attacks on one another must be condemned by all sundry. Hon Carlos Ahenkora, Member of Parliament for Tema West Constituency must be punished for his misconduct. Why must an Honourable Member snatch ballot papers?

What would have happened when the military men came into the Chamber of the Parliament House and one of them had picked the mic and announced the dissolution of the Parliament? Couldn’t that have led to unnecessary bloodshed?

In as much as there is no perfect human society, what happened in parliament will guide Ghanaians into subsequent general elections. Notwithstanding that, Parliament must make a retrospective analysis of all that happened and come out with resolutions in an event of situations of that nature repeating. Those who instructed the presence of the military into the Chamber must be brought to book for the military has no business in the Chamber.

Ghanaians by and large will be interested to witness how proceedings in the Parliament House and government business for the 8th Republic will be carried out.

Notwithstanding what happened in the Parliament House, it is important that the media is commended for being there for the people and in that same direction, the media must also help the general public when it comes to the Presidential petition before the Supreme Court.

Congratulation to AS Kingsford Babgin as the Speaker, Hon Joe Owusu as the first Deputy Speaker and Hon Asiamah as Second Deputy Speaker. Congratulation to H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the President and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the Vice President of Ghana.

Long live Our democracy

Long live Ghana.

Mohammed Rabiu Adam

Social Studies Teacher

Tiwnikli International Senior High School

Kanda-Accra

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Elections

Supreme Court dismisses Mahama’s Election Petition

The Supreme Court has dismissed the election petition brought before it by John Dramani Mahama, the 2020 Presidential Candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“The petitioner did not demonstrate in any way how the errors [committed by the EC] affected the declaration of the election…We have therefore no reason to order a re-run [of the polls]. We accordingly dismiss the petition,” Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah said while reading the ruling of the court on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

John Mahama was challenging the results of the polls insisting that none of the nine presidential candidates obtained the mandatory 50%+1 vote constitutional threshold to be declared the winner of the polls.

The petition

In his petition filed on December 30, 2020, Mr. Mahama sought five reliefs from the apex court. He among things asked the Supreme Court to declare the EC’s declaration of President Nana Akufo-Addo as winner of the polls as unconstitutional, null and void.

He also asked the apex court to order the Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct a re-run of the election between himself and President Akufo-Addo.

The petitioner called three witnesses to make his case at the court–Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte and Rojo Mettle-Nunoo–and they were cross-examined.

Mr. Mahama in his closing address insisted that he discharged the burden of proof placed on by the constitution.

Counter arguments 

But the Respondents — the Electoral Commission and President Akufo-Addo– urged the apex court to dismiss the petition.

They argued that the petition was incompetent, lacked merit, and raised no reasonable cause of action.

Issues at stake

The Issues that were to be determined by the court were:
• Whether or not the petition discloses any reasonable cause of action.
• Whether or not based on the data contained in the declaration of the Electoral Commission of President Akufo-Addo as president-elect, no candidate obtained more than 50% of the valid votes cast as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 constitution.
• Whether or not the 2nd respondent still met the Article 63(3) of the 1992 constitution threshold by the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South constituency presidential election results.
• Whether or not the declaration by the first respondent dated 9th of December 2020 of the results of the presidential election conducted on the 7th of December 2020 was in violation of Article 63(3) of the 1992 constitution.
• Whether or not the alleged vote padding and other errors complained of by the petitioner affected the outcome of the presidential election results of 2020.

Ruling

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the petitioner failed to prove his case via his petition or through his witnesses.

Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah who read the ruling said the accounts of Rojo Mettle-Nunoo and Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte were immaterial to the case since the issue in contention had nothing to do with how the results were collated at the Electoral Commission’s national collation centre popularly known as the Strongroom.

“Their testimonies were unworthy in the settlement of the issues,” Justice Anin-Yeboah said.

He said Mr. Mettle-Nunoo and Dr. Kpessa-Whyte should instead have themselves to blame for abandoning their post while the collation of the results was ongoing.

Reasonable cause of action – Anin-Yeboah said the court after critically examining the case so far was satisfied that the case discloses a cause of action and properly invoked the jurisdiction of the court.

He explained that the court need not focus on the strength of the case to determine whether or not the court has jurisdiction in the matter. The fact that a party’s case may be weak is no grounds for striking it out.

Crossing 50%+1 votes threshold ruling:  There is no doubt that the EC chairperson announced 13,434,74 instead of 13,121,111 to be total valid votes cast. Calculations of the individual votes contained in the December 9 declaration of the petition to be 13,121,111. (This figure was admitted during the cross-examination of PW1, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah). There is no doubt that the petitioner accepts that the total valid votes cast was 13,121,111. No legal basis for anyone to contend that the 13,434,574 should be used as total valid votes.

The Supreme Court also stated that it was absolutely wrong to hold on to the error made by the EC against the commission as the error was subsequently corrected. Anin-Yeboah said Mahama’s legal team could not also provide any statute to the effect that the EC needed to consult stakeholders before effecting corrections.

Crossing 50%+1 vote threshold with or without Techiman South results ruling: Total valid votes with Techiman South inclusive will be 13,220,547. The computation will show that the second respondent made more than 50% plus one vote threshold. Even if all registered voters in Techiman South of 128,018 were added to the petitioner, the second respondent will still make the more than 50% threshold (50.79%).

On this issue, the court said it was established in court that President Nana Akufo-Addo crossed the 50%+1 vote requirement even without the results from Techiman South constituency prior to the declaration of the presidential results on December 9, 2020.

Declaration vs violation of Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution: Judgement –  The error committed by the commissioner cannot void the declaration. Agreeing to the petitioner’s case will mean errors by the commission in a post will nullify the truth of the statement even if that is not the case.  The Commission did not act in violation of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution. The petitioner has not been able to prove that none of the candidates got more than 50% of the total votes cast.

Whether alleged vote padding and errors affected the outcome of results: Judgment – We find the allegations of vote padding very serious. We have observed already that this allegation was not proven by the petitioner. Evidence proves that even if the vote padding occurred, it would have been insignificant to overturn the election result. The Petitioner did not adduce cogent evidence to back this claim. The court expected the pink sheets to be exhibited to prove the claims. Allegations of wrong aggregations of votes were not proved. Even if the vote padding was accepted, it will not impact the validity of the votes of Nana Akufo-Addo.

“We conclude this judgement by emphasizing that the petitioner did not demonstrate in any way how the alleged errors and the unilateral corrections by the 1st respondent affected the validity of the declaration made by the Chairperson of the 1st respondent made on the 9th December 2020 as already stated in this judgement. The petitioner has not produced any evidence to rebut the presumption created by the publication of CI 135 for which his actions. We, therefore, have no reason to order a re-run as sort by the petitioner. So we accordingly dismiss the petition,” Mr. Anin-Yeboah concluded.

Source:citinewsroom

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Elections

Judgment Day tomorrow – Supreme Court to rule on 2020 Election Petition

Tomorrow, March 4, is Judgment Day
Tomorrow, March 4, is Judgment Day

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 4, 2021, will be momentous and historic en même temps as the Supreme Court gives its final judgment on the 2020 Election Petition brought to it by John Dramani Mahama and the NDC.

Following the general polls of 2020, where the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Mensa, declared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as winner, the National Democratic Congress flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, took the EC and the president to court, on the grounds that no one met the constitutional threshold for election to the high office of President.

They were also asking the court to invalidate the EC’s declaration of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as president.

During the petition hearing, which has lasted most parts of January and February (first sitting was on January 14), the court has heard arguments from petitioners on why, on one part, the declaration of December 9, 2020, should be struck out, and why there was no error in the declaration by the EC.

Eventually, the petitioners asked the court to nullify the declaration and rule of the presidential results for a re-run between John Dramani Mahama and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The Supreme Court will tomorrow give its verdict on the five issues from the pleadings for determination.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has admonished its members to exude professionalism in their reportage on the final verdict of the Supreme Court in the election petition case.

President of the GJA, Roland Affail Monney, called for non-sensational and non-partisan reportage in a press conference, stating that, “We are praying that there will be nothing [tragic] about tomorrow’s coverage of the judgment of the Supreme Court case. We want you to enhance the coverage of the hearings.”

This will be the second time in Ghana’s history that the Supreme Court is hearing an election petition case from a general election. The first, in 2013, brought to it by Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party, saw John Mahama retained by the Court as president.

Will this Judgment Day result be an encore of 2013, or, there could just be a big new turn of events?

Source: Ghanaweb

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Elections

Mahama files application for review of ruling stopping him from reopening his case

Image result for john mahama pic
President John Mahama

Mr. John Dramani Mahama, the petitioner in the ongoing Election Petition, has filed an application for review of the Supreme Court’s ruling that prevented him from reopening his case.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, turned down a request by Mr. Mahama to re-visit his case which his lead lawyer, Tsatsu Tsikata closed last week.

The court in its ruling read by the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, said the petitioner’s legal team failed to provide any better justification for the request and thus dismissed it.

“We accordingly refuse that application,” the Chief Justice said.

But according to the review application, Mr. Mahama insisted that the apex court made fundamental errors in its ruling.

He is thus praying the court to reconsider his new argument and depart from its earlier ruling.

“I am advised by counsel and verily believe the court made fundamental errors of law including the ruling being per incuriam of constitutional provisions, statutes and previous decisions of the Supreme Court.”

“Among these errors, I am advised by counsel and verily believe is an error whereby the courts subordinates a provision in the Evidence Act to a rule in subsidiary legislation by the Rules of Court Committee,” the application added.

The said application is expected to be heard on Monday, February 22, 2021.

What happened within the week?

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision within the week dismissed the application filed by the petitioner, seeking a review of an earlier ruling affirming the right of the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa not to testify in the ongoing case.

In that ruling, the court also said the petitioner didn’t convince the bench to depart from its earlier ruling.

“The applicant has failed to satisfy the court that a new or important matter resulted from the reference to the constitutional provisions referred to [in the earlier ruling].”

“In the result, the application fails, and it is hereby dismissed,” the Chief Justice read on behalf of the panel of justices.

The court also struck out application of stay of proceedings filed Mr. Mahama.

The court in ruling on the matter said the determination of the review application renders the stay application moot.

Source:citinewsroom

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