Proper elections should give legitimacy to winners – Addison
Mr. Philip Addison, lead counsel for the petitioners seeking to overturn the declaration of President Mahama as winner of the 2012 presidential election says constitutional and statutory violations, malpractices and irregularities had a material effect on the election results and that the declared outcome must not stand.
He told the Supreme Court in his oral submission on Wednesday that when all the categories of violations, malpractices and irregularities are combined in the 10,119 polling stations that the petitioners filed before the court, an aggregate of 3,931,339 votes stand to be annulled.
Those votes, he pointed out, include votes cast in favour of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the first petitioner in the case. Nana Addo’s votes in the affected total, he said, are over a million.
“When the votes from these polling stations are annulled, the first respondent’s total votes will be reduced by 2,622,551 resulting in him securing 41.71 per cent of valid votes cast. The first petitioner’s total votes will be reduced by 1,233,186 votes resulting in him securing 56.85 per cent of valid votes cast.”
Based on that analysis and what he said was a show of preponderance of evidence adduced by the petitioners, he said Nana Addo should be declared winner of the polls, and urged the court to dismiss arguments that a presidential election involves many actors and is costly and therefore “some violation of the law” need not be treated as fatal.
According to Philip Addison, while the respondents had persistently maintained that the December 2012 elections were regularly conducted and that the result should be upheld, they retire from the claim on the grounds that there were defects whenever they are confronted with the primary election record.
It is even more bizarre that the so called defects went into the declaration of the final results, he said.
On the issue of the number of pink sheets in dispute, he said one box of the presiding judge’s lot was not counted just as several boxes in the vault of the registrar were also not counted. The respondents on the other hand, he said, failed to disclose what they had. He said one can clearly see that the 11,842 that the petitioners claimed to have filed was indeed what they filed.
“They did not disclose what they have, but out of the few that they disclosed in court, 648 of it were unique. It was not in the president’s set, it was not in the registrar’s set. I don’t know what they still have, we are ending today,” he told the court.
According to Mr Addison, President Mahama was declared winner of the polls on December 9, 2012, by a margin of less than one per cent of total votes cast.
“The difference between his votes and Nana Addo’s was 325863 votes. The result should be taken against the backdrop of the outcome of votes garnered by the presidential and parliamentary candidates for the NPP and NDC respectively.
“The first petitioner obtained a total of 5,248,898 votes as against the total of 5,248,842 by all NPP parliamentary candidates showing a difference of only 16, when you add all the votes of the NPP parliamentarians as against the votes garnered by the first petitioner, there is a difference of 16. Now with respect to the first respondent, he obtained 5,574,761 as against 5,127,641 by all NDC parliamentarians, showing a whopping difference of 447,120. That is the difference between what the first respondent got and the total votes of NDC Parliamentarians, 447120. Now what accounts for this huge difference? It cannot be skirt and blouse as we say in popular parlance because the NDC are in the majority in parliament.
“But what is curious about this is that the majority in parliament secured 121,241 votes less than the minority, that is what we are confronted with from the statistics given by the second respondent. That the Majority in parliament secured less votes than the minority. This is curious and undermines the one man one vote principle enshrined in the constitution,” he said.
“It has been argued that an election such as the election of the president of the country involve a lot of preparation by many actors and is costly and therefore some violation of the law, some violation of the law need not be treated as fatal, therefore a repeat of such an election or change of government so soon thereafter is bound to cost the nation a lot of resources. As against these possible arguments there are considerations of virtue of a free and fair democratic election. If the principles enshrined in our laws especially the constitution are properly observed during a free and fair election, losing candidates and their supporters will surely be satisfied and therefore allow the country to develop peacefully. But if a presidential election is won through fraud, cheating or through the flouting of the law and the constitution, dissatisfied candidates and their followers may create instability and disaffection among the population. Allowing candidates licence to cheat even as little as cannot affect results will render the election exercise a farce or frivolous. Indeed tolerating cheating and fraud in elections can imply that holding elections itself is not desirable or necessary. Yet proper elections should give legitimacy to winners…” he told the court before he was stopped from further submissions for exhausting his lot of 30 minutes allocated to each counsel for the oral submissions.
Story by Isaac Yeboah/graphic.com.gh/Ghana
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