It appears the ‘law of karma’ is catching up with former President John Dramani Mahama as he questions the performance of the Electoral Commission (EC) in the 2020 general election.
Mr Mahama dragged the EC to the Supreme Court over what was reasonably accepted as a palpably innocuous mistake by the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa during the declaration of the presidential election results on December 9, 2020.
Even though the EC through its lawyers, Amenuvor & Associates, argued that the mistake made by its boss had no material effect on the final results, the NDC 2020 presidential candidate still hauled the Commission before the apex court via a petition, claiming nobody won the polls and praying for a re-run.
However, in his closing address filed after the hearing of the petition, Mr Mahama through his lawyers Tsatsu Tsikata and Tony Lithur, made similar mistakes he accused the EC chair of.
For instance, the NDC former flagbearer indicated that he filed the petition on 30th December, 2021 when indeed it was done in 2020.
Mr Mahama again claimed he filed the closing address on 17th February, 2021 when he knew or should have known that his address was not filed on the 17th but rather on 23rd February, 2021.
It would be recalled that former President Mahama made similar mistakes in his original petition that was filed on 30th December, 2020.
In his relief (f), Mr Mahama prayed for “an order of mandatory injunction directing the 1st Respondent (EC) to proceed to conduct a second election with Petitioner and 1st Respondent as the candidates as required under Articles 63 (4) and (5) of the 1992 Constitution”.
He was permitted by the Supreme Court to correct this and other mistakes yet he has refused to accept a harmless mistake that was corrected by the EC.
In declaring the results, Mrs Jean Mensa mistakenly announced 13,434,574 as total valid votes cast instead 13,121,111, a mistake, which was duly corrected by the election management body.
Mr Mahama filed the petition rejecting the election results as declared on December 9, 2020, claiming that none of the 12 presidential candidates who contested the December 7 polls including himself met the constitutional threshold of obtaining more than 50% of the valid votes cast.
He named the EC and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who was declared the winner of the election, as 1st and 2nd Respondents respectively.
No evidence adduced
Meanwhile, EC’s lawyers have maintained that former President Mahama has failed to provide any evidence whatsoever to challenge the 2020 election results and the declaration of the final result.
In their written address ordered by the Supreme Court They have therefore called on the apex court to dismiss the petitioner’s case.
The submission is contained in the written closing address filed by the lawyers in compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders.
Dismiss Mahama’s petition- Akufo-Addo
Lawyers for President Akufo-Addo have prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss the petitioner’s case as it discloses no reasonable cause of action.
“Our submission is that the petition is frivolous and discloses no reasonable cause of action remains unshaken, notwithstanding the evidence led in aid of the Petition.
“In fact, the woeful performance of the Petitioner’s witnesses during their respective cross-examination has further buttressed our position that the instant Petition with all due respect, ought not to have proceeded to trial.”
President Akufo-Addo (2nd Respondent) in his closing address filed at the Supreme Court on 17th February, 2021, submitted that the election Petition was one that in all shape and form relate to an attack on the process for the conduct of the presidential election itself.
“In the instant matter, it is clear on the face of the Petition and indeed the evidence of Mr. Asiedu Nketia in particular that the Petitioner was not in court to challenge the validity of the election but the case concerns the performance of the function 1st respondent (EC) and its Chairperson pertaining to the declaration of the Presidential election of December 2020, shows that the petition is not an election Petition properly so-called.”
The 2nd respondent argued that from the petitioner’s reliefs he did not contest the propriety of the conduct of the elections hence his call for another election between him and the petitioner.
According to him, even though the petitioner claimed from his reliefs that, no one had 50 percent of the total number of valid votes cast in the election, he did not indicate his percentage or number of votes in the December 7, 2020 polls.
“Not having pleaded these fundamental material facts and no evidence having been led on same, it is our humble submission that this Petition does not qualify to be an election Petition.”
Incidentally, the Petitioner has also not contested any of the EC processes when it’s come to the process of voting, counting of votes, and declaration of results at polling stations among others.
The 2nd respondent said the instant Petition belongs to the class of actions that could be best described as “suits challenging the declaration” rather than the validity of the election itself.
“The court is invited to hold that no challenge of the conduct of the election is stated from paragraph one to 30 of the Petitioner’s Petition.”
Article 64 (1)
President Akufo-Addo held that Article 64 (1) of the 1992 Constitution set out the criteria for the invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction on the conduct of a presidential election.
“The Supreme Court, therefore, is not, clothed with jurisdiction to entertain any matter clothed with apparel of presidential election Petition when in fact it is not”, he pointed out.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that based on evaluation of facts and the law, in terms of Mr Asiedu Nketia, one of the Petitioner’s witnesses, the Court’s jurisdiction has not been properly invoked.
He said it was not in dispute that a summation of the total valid votes announced by the EC Chairperson, Mrs. Jean Mensa as having obtained by the 12 candidates yielded a total of 13,121,111.
“Apart from the fact that this figure is incontrovertible, Petitioner failed or refused to provide any contrary evidence that would establish or least suggest that the valid votes declared for the 12 candidates were erroneous.”
He noted that apart from reproducing the figures declared by the EC Chairperson and making fanciful analogies based on her innocuous errors, the Petitioner failed to provide his own data or independently attained figures to controvert what was declared as the valid votes obtained by each of the 12 candidates.
President Akufo-Addo has therefore prayed the court to ignore allegations of arbitrariness and lack of transparency in the National Collation Centre, saying that “these allegations are of little probative value.”
The Apex court on Monday announced it will deliver judgment on the election petition on Thursday, March 4, 2021.