The Supreme Court (SC), yesterday, began hearing the election petition challenging the validity of the election of President John Mahama, with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, New Patriotic Party (NPP) running mate in the 2012 presidential election, asking for the annulment of the results in the presidential election at certain polling stations affected by election malpractices.
According to Dr. Bawumia, who is also an Economist, the conduct of the December 2012 presidential election was so flawed with widespread irregularities, malpractices and violations that if considered, would leave none of the two major presidential candidates attaining the required votes to become president of the country.
Dr. Bawumia was giving evidence before the court, presided over by Justice William Attuguba, as he mounted the evidence box to expatiate on the claims made in the petition filed by him and two other leading members of the NPP.
Other panel members are Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin-Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
Challenging President Mahama, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the 2012 declaration of the presidential poll, the witness, in his evidence-in-chief, noted that the petitioners, which also include the 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Party Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, took the action because the results declared could not be supported by evidence on the ground.
He further stressed that even though NPP agents were at the polling stations and appended their signatures to the polls declaration forms, they did so to confirm what took place at the various polling stations across the country.
To witness, the court action, resulting from irregularities in the conduct of the December 2012 poll, was not resulting from the actions and inactions of the NPP polling agents.
The witness told the court that the 2012 presidential candidate of his party appointed him to head a committee to investigate the numerous complaints of irregularities, malpractices and electoral violations made by their party agents during the December 2012 presidential election.
http://thechronicle.com.gh/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/boy.jpg Dr. Bawumia pointed out that in examining and analyzing the detailed information on the thousands of pink sheets that declared the results received from party agents, his committee found out numerous statutory violations and irregularities that went on during the conduct of the 2012 presidential election.
The witness noted that the irregularities that characterised the conduct of the election, include over-voting, voting without biometric verification, and the presiding officer or his assistant not signing the declaration form before the declaring results.
Other violations identified by the committee, the witness indicated, were ballots without serial numbers, and bloated registers among others.
Dr. Bawumia was emphatic that the Chairman of the EC was particularly critical on the issue of over-voting and voting without biometric verification, which came out with the mantra ‘No verification, No Vote’, indicating that the results of any polling station witnessing such irregularities should be annulled.
He, therefore, cited the Upper West Akyem Islamic School and Suokor polling station at the Tanoso Methodist Primary School, as polling stations that experienced annulments of polls due to over-voting, and he lamented why different sets of rules should apply to the various polling stations.
He told the court that from the analysis of his committee on the details on the form declaring the results of the Office of President, 1,826 polling stations that amounted to 791,419 votes should be annulled from the presidential results declared, since they were illegal.
Additionally, the witness asserted that 545,723 people voted without biometric verification, which were included in the final presidential result, and should therefore, be annulled, and cited the Bekwai Experimental JHS polling station that witnessed 294 voting without biometric verification out of 395 people in the voters register.
The witness further noted that 2,240 polling stations experienced voting without biometric verification, amounting to 856,172 votes, while 1,739 polling stations with a total vote of 705,305 saw no presiding officer or his assistant signing the result declaration forms.
In respect of different polling stations sharing the same serial number as a violation of the polls, witness noted that 9,921 polling stations, making 3,924,844 votes, were affected, adding that the irregularity, accounting for 74%, was mostly used as a vehicle to commit all the violations during the polls.
Dr. Bawumia requested that the court should annul the polls at the polling stations that were affected with duplicate serial numbers.
Nana Akufo-Addo and the two other petitioners are asking the court to annul 4,670,504 votes, representing votes cast in 11,916 polling stations across the country, for what they termed’ gross and widespread irregularities’ recorded during the December 2012 poll.
However, the respondents have denied the assertions of the petitioners, noting that the results of the election, as declared, were credible.
Sitting continues today.
Pix By: Eric Owiredu