By Daniel Nonor
It was a relaxed atmosphere at the Chief Justices’ court room, where the country’s finest legal brains had assembled to witness the historic proceedings of the Supreme Court hearing of the 2012 presidential election petition.
Before the commencement of hearing of the case, that seeks to determine the validity or otherwise of the winner of the 2012 general elections, the learned colleagues engaged each other in tÃªte -Ã – tÃªtes , and in small groupings, while they waited for the hearing to commence.
The petitioners, Nana Akufo Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Mahamudu Bawumia, wore pensive, calm and collected faces, as they waited for the commencement of the case.
Likewise the defendants, the National Democratic Congress and the Electoral Commission’s representatives in court, who had an air of relaxation around them as they chatted and intermittently, burst out in almost noisy laughter in their conversations with their colleagues.
Outside the court premises was a decent and almost dead serene atmosphere, as the court proceedings began.
The heavy security detail at the court premises made it impossible for it to be used as a thoroughfare, as was the case in previous proceedings.
No party supporters and sympathisers were allowed into the premises of the Supreme Court. The orders of the security personnel to pedestrians on the streets close to the court were clear enough: no standing, no loitering about, just keep walking.
Earlier in the morning, many people who had thronged the premises to witness the historic hearing were turned away by the security details at the court, save those who had been accredited by the Supreme Court.
A former youth organiser of the New Patriotic Party, Anthony Carbo, explained why the court was not inundated with huge party supporters, as usually was the case.
He said their party members had been educated on the merit of the case in court, and the need for them to comport themselves as the process begins.
According to him, the choice of the party to resort to the court was in the interest of democracy in the country.
He said an addition was the option of the Supreme Court to telecast the proceedings live on television for all Ghanaians to watch.
‘This matter will go very, very far to consolidate the democracy of the country,’ he noted.
To him the case would be another pacesetter for Africa’s democracy, as Ghana was using the law court in an election dispute, and not resorting to the streets.
Richard Quashiga, Member of Parliament for Keta and former propaganda secretary of the NDC, in his view said that the move to telecast the petition proceedings on television was in the right direction, and would afford every member of the general public to appreciate what goes on in the court, and draw their own conclusions.
He said that telecasting the proceedings would help eliminate some of the distortions and twists often put on what goes on in the court room by party faithful.
‘This will remove the spin that people give to proceedings at court. We, in the NDC, welcome it and will accept the conclusion.’
He also shared the view that the process was a boost to the country’s democracy, as it would help bring clarity to the issue brought before the court.
A Kumasi-based Lawyer, Kwame Aseidu, who spoke on TV3 prior to the hearing, said it was important that the proceedings are telecasted live.
He was of the expectation ‘that the right thing is done; and this is what the ordinary man is expecting.’
A little after eleven in the morning, a loud voice filled the court room for all to rise; then entered the eight judges who are marked for history in a case that will surely be an integral part of the construction of the country’s history henceforth.