The Supreme Court yesterday granted former President John Dramani Mahama the permission to correct errors in his presidential election petition, acknowledging the notorious fact that everybody commits mistakes.
Mr Mahama had prayed for leave to amend the election petition he filed challenging the declaration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Lawyers for Electoral Commission (EC), which is the 1st Respondent and 2nd Respondent, President Akufo-Addo challenged the motion for the amendment because, according to them, the motion itself was riddled with errors.
However, a seven-member panel of Justices of the apex court granted the leave for Mr Mahama to correct his mistakes in the petition before the trial of the substantive case begins on Tuesday January 19, 2021.
The panel chaired by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah had Justices Yaw Appau, Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, Nene Amegatcher, Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Mariama Owusu and Gertrude Torkornoo as members.
In a post ruling interview, one of the lawyers for President Akufo-Addo, Mr Frank Davies said the Supreme Court was simply telling the petitioner and his lawyers that human beings can make mistakes and therefore, they should also accept the mistakes of others.
One of the mistakes, as stated in the motion granted, was in relief (f) of the election petition.
The election petition, filed on December 30, last year, stated the first respondent (1st) as the Electoral Commission (EC), with the second respondent (2nd) as being President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
However, relief (f) prayed the Court to order a rerun of the 2020 polls between Mr Mahama and the first respondent, which, as stated in the petition, turned out to be the EC.
Relief (f) had sought “an order of mandatory injunction directing the first respondent to proceed to conduct a second election with petitioner and first respondent as the candidates as required under Articles 63(4) and (5) of the 1992 Constitution.”
COVID-19 & representation
The Presiding Judge, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, at the start of the hearing indicated that looking at the available space at the bar and taking into consideration the existing COVID-19 protocols, the court will only allow four lawyers for each of the parties in the case.
Accordingly, lawyer for the EC, Justin Amenuvor, announced three members of his team, Somuah Asamoah, Miracle Attachey and Hope Agboado, would represent the 1st Respondent.
Legal representation for Mr Mahama were Tsatsu Tsikata and Tony Lithur.
Second Respondent President Akufo-Addo, had Akoto Ampaw as the lead lawyer and with him, Frank Davies, Kweku Ashirifi and Yaw Oppong.
After the lawyers of the parties (The Petitioner, Electoral Commission (EC) and President Akufo-Addo) introduced themselves, lead counsel for the Petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, attempted to move his first motion seeking live telecast of the entire election petition hearing.
The court interrupted him and indicated that the arrangement for a live telecast had already been done and thus muted the motion.
Motion for amendment
Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata proceeded per the direction of the court to move his second motion for the amendment of the errors on their petition.
Amended motion opposed
Lawyers for the 1st Respondent (EC), Justin Amenuvor and for the 2nd Respondent (President Akufo-Addo), Akoto Ampaw, both opposed the application on the grounds that the rules do not permit the petitioner to make any correction to the petition as filed.
The Supreme Court after rising for about 10 minutes reconstituted and granted the application. The court ordered the Petitioner to file the corrected petition by 4pm yesterday January 14, 2021.
The court also ruled that the two respondents should also file any further answers to the amended petition by close of day Friday January 15, 2021.
Subsequently, the Presiding Judge, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, adjourned sitting to Tuesday, January 19, 2021 for the case to take its natural course.