It appears former President John Dramani Mahama is struggling to cope with the mandatory rules governing his own petition as his lawyers are racing against time to file witness statements and their accompanying affidavits at the Supreme Court.
The apex court last Wednesday ordered lawyers of the 2020 presidential candidate National Democratic Congress (NDC) to file their witness statements by noon of Thursday, January 21, 2021.
This is to ensure that the court hears the petition within the period of 42 days as stipulated by Constitutional Instrument 99 (C.I 99).
However, the lawyers led by Tsatsu Tsikata mounted a spirited protest, arguing that the time was too short for them to file the processes required.
Information gathered by THE CUSTODIAN indicated that as at Friday January 22, 2021, there was no sign of Mr. Mahama’s lawyers filing their statements as ordered by the Supreme Court, virtually defying the orders of the highest court of the land.
Rather, Mr. Mahama’s lawyers have filed for stay of proceedings, praying that the hearing of the substantive case be put on hold before their review application is heard.
It is not however clear if the seven-member panel chaired by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah will heed to the pleads of petitioner’s lawyers as tomorrow January 26, 2021 has been set for the hearing of the petition.
‘Sacrificing Justice for expedition’
Mahama’s lead lawyer, Tsatsu Tsikata among other things had wanted the court to factor what he said were some “outstanding issues” in the timeline but that was not granted.
He cited a motion for the review of the court’s dismissal of their interrogatories filed as an example of what should have been factored in the timelines.
This, Mr Tsikata believed, was a case of sacrificing justice for speed.
“The timeline that is provided for us to have witness statements does not seem to be justified… I do know about the schedule provided, but I also know that your lordships are here to administer justice and that justice should not be sacrificed for expedition,” Tsatsu Tsikata said.
EC Files statements
Meanwhile, lawyers for the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, Amenuvor & Associates have filed their witness statements.
In her depositions, the EC boss said the presidential candidate of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo secured over 50 percent of the valid votes cast to emerge winner.
According to the EC Chairperson, it is false for Mr. Mahama to insist that she ‘padded’ Nana Akufo-Addo’s votes to be winner of the 2020 presidential elections.”
Mrs. Mensa in a six-paged witness statement to the court argued that President Akufo-Addo obtained more than the 50% of the valid votes cast, required to win Presidential elections in Ghana.
“I deny that the 1st Respondent padded the votes in favour of the 2nd Respondent as alleged by the Petitioner”, Mrs Mensa noted.
The statement added that, “The calculations showed that the 2nd Respondent (President Akufo-Addo) had obtained more than 50% of the valid votes. It was also clear that whatever results were outstanding at the time could not mathematically change the more than 50% of the valid votes as obtained by the 2nd Respondent obtained 51.295% which meets the more than 50% threshold in Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.”
Mr. Mahama had argued that the results declared by the EC on December 9, 2020, would have been different if that of Techiman South had been added.
Akufo-Addo also files
President Nana Akufo-Addo, the 2nd Respondent in the matter, has also filed his witness statement at the Supreme Court.
Mr. Peter Mac Manu, a former National Chairman of the NPP and 2020 campaign manager of the governing party is serving as a witness for the President.
In an eight-page document, Mr Mac Man rubbished the petitioner’s claims indicating that the petition is “a ruse and face-saving gimmick after Petitioner and many senior members of his NDC party had prematurely pronounced outright victory only to be badly exposed by the results of the 2nd Respondent”.
Whilst urging the apex court to dismiss the petition, he said, “My lords, the petition is largely conjectural and borne out of Petitioner’s unfounded imagination and also the material facts in the petition does not support the reliefs sought”.
It would be recalled that Mr. Mahama on December 30, 2020, dragged Mrs. Mensa as well as President Akufo-Addo before the Supreme Court demanding among other reliefs the annulment of the December 7 elections.
The former president speaking through his Lawyers claimed that neither he nor President Akufo-Addo attained more than 50 percent of the 2020 polls because of the omission of the Techiman South constituency from the declaration.
Consequently, he has urged the Supreme Court to annul the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the election and order a re-run between him and the incumbent president.