Court room proceedings have never come so handy for the majority of Ghanaians who have not set foot in any court room in the country before, let alone the highest court of the land.
The historic live telecast of the election petition at the supreme court, however, came with added interesting side details, such as the behaviours, facial expressions, composure and reactions of persons in the court room, that would have otherwise been kept out of public view, save those who find their way into the court room.
Yesterday, Ghanaians discovered their own Alex Ferguson, in the person of Dr. Afari Gyan, Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, for chewing gum throughout the proceedings at the Supreme Court.
Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United football team, has over the years been indentified with his cherished habit of chewing gum during football matches, especially when the game gets tough.
Dr. Afari Gyan has been known to be a calm and collected person, and he is admired by many people, for the ease with which he has handled elections over the years.
It is an open secret that the EC chairman relaxes in the heat of an election by watching cartoons, but chewing gum for hours unend is one new habit that became evident yesterday, as he intermittently appeared on television screens across the country.
Dr. Bawumia stood in the witness box at the Supreme Court, an exercise that is miles way from his cherished profession as an economist.
Bawumaih’s composure was without question, save the initial instances when he looked a little jittery, obviously because of the fact that this is his first time undertaking an exercise of such magnitude.
But as time went on, the ‘inexperienced’ Bawumia put up an excellent performance in the dock, walking through the evidence presented to the court, as directed by his lead council.
Coverage of the proceeding by the national television, GTV, was a remarkable improvement on an earlier one, which suffered some technical challenges.
Even though coverage of the proceeding had with it some restrictions prescribed by the Supreme Court, the reactions, facial expressions and general court atmosphere was not greatly affected.
Often, the screen shots were on Dr. Afari Gyan, who was mostly seen busily chewing gum, as Dr. Bawumia gave evidence on alleged irregularities in the voting process.
Each time Dr. Bawumia mentioned an instance of irregularity, Dr. Afairy Gyan was seen hurriedly crewing his gum, just like Alex Ferguson would, when he is in a tough match. It was, however, not clear whether he brought a pack of gum to the court room, or chewed the same gum throughout the court sittings of over five hours.
Giving evidence in court, Dr. Bawumai at a point in evidence at the court averred among other things that should the court annul the votes without biometric voting alone, it would be significant enough to change the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections, as declared by the Electoral Commission.
This analogy drew Dr. Afari Gyan into laughter in the court room, turning on his seat as though a simple opportunity by the court to ‘educate’ Dr. Bawumia on the matter would put the court proceedings to an end.
Parties claim easy win
After the first hearing of the substantive case, which has been adjourned to today, both the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party have claimed victories in the case.
According to the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Aseidu Nketia, an impression he had gathered since the commencement of the case suggested that the NPP has no case. He insisted that the NPP were not ready for the case, as they want the world to believe.
He also expressed surprise at the fact that the NPP had abandoned the previous allegations they had leveled against the conduct of the elections.
He added that an updated document which was in possession of Dr. Bawumia at the court room, which the court ordered it to be tendered, was indicative enough that the party had nothing to prove. ‘In fact, their case has started crumbling’, he concluded.
But the General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Afriyie, alias Sir John, is of the view that the excellent manner in which Dr. Bawumia explained the magnitude of the irregularities at the court was indicative that the NPP was on its way to a achieving a favourable end. ‘Our case has been made and we will get there,’ he said