Ghana: Mahama Validly Elected
The Supreme Court, yesterday, validated the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the December 2012 presidential election, following a challenge by three high-powered members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) against the results declared by the Electoral Commission (EC).
The nine-member panel court, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, dismissed the petition filed by the 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and NPP National Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey.
Other panel members include Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin-Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
“In the circumstances, the overall effect is that the first respondent was validly elected, and the petition is therefore dismissed,” Justice Atuguba noted, as he read the decision of the court.
The decision of the court was given under strict security presence at the premises, which had scanty staff around, with hundreds of security personnel dotted at about a 100-metre distance away from the court.
Moments after the court handed down its decision, members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) began to wave their white handkerchiefs to signify victory, amidst singing of praises to God.
The petitioners claimed that there were statutory violations and irregularities during the December 2012 presidential poll, as a result of which John Mahama, the EC and NDC were respondents in the election petition filed before the court.
The petitioners claimed there was over-voting, voting without biometric verification, absence of the signature of the presiding officers, duplicate serial numbers (occurrence of the same serial numbers on pink sheets for two different polling stations), duplicate polling station codes (occurrence of different results of pink sheets for polling stations with the same polling station codes), and unknown polling stations (results recorded for polling stations that are not part of 26,002 polling stations provided by the EC).
The petitioners were asking the court to annul over 4 million votes, representing votes cast in over 10,000 polling stations across the country, as being the number that had been affected by “gross and widespread irregularities” recorded during the December 2012 poll.
However, the court unanimously dismissed the petitioners’ claims relating to duplicate serial numbers, duplicate polling station codes, and unknown polling stations.
Justices Atuguba, Adinyira, Baffoe-Bonnie, Gbadegbe, and Akoto-Bamfo dismissed the petitioners’ claim of over-voting and absence of signature of presiding officers.
Furthermore, Justices Atuguba, Adinyira, Dotsey, Baffoe-Bonnie, Gbadegbe, Akoto-Bamfo dismissed the petitioners’ claim relating to voting without biometric verification, while Justices Ansah, Owusu and Anin-Yeboah granted all the three claims of over-voting, absence of presiding officers’ signature, and voting without biometric verification.
Justice Dotse, who granted the petitioners’ claim of over-voting and the absence of presiding officers’ signature on the pink sheets, called for the annulment of the votes and a re-run of the polls in the affected areas. Additionally, Justice Baffoe-Bonnie, who granted the petitioners’ claim of voting without biometric verification, also called for the annulment of the votes, and a re-run of the polls in areas affected.
The court, subsequently, commended the services of international audit firm KPMG, the referee appointed to undertake the count of the pink sheets as presented as evidence by the petitioners, as well as the counsels to the parties in the case before it.