General News of Thursday, 18 April 2013
Source: Ato Esse
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF GHANA ACCRA -? A. D. 2013 WRIT NO. J1/6/2013
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PETITION
IN THE MATTER OF A PETITION CHALLENGING THE VALIDITY OF THE ELECTION OF JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA AS PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA PURSUANT TO THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION HELD ON 7TH AND 8TH DECEMBER, 2012
Article 64 of the Constitution, 1992; Section 5 of the Presidential Election Act, 1992 (PNDCL 285); and Rule 68 and 68A of the Supreme Court Amendment Rules 2012, C. I. 74
BETWEEN 1. NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-?ADDO PETITIONERS 2. DR. MAHAMADU BAWUMIA 3. JAKE OBETSEBI LAMPTEY VERSUS 1. JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA RESPONDENTS 2. THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION 3. NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
AFFIDAVIT OF JOHNSON ASIEDU NKETIA FOR AND ON BEHALF OF 1ST AND 3RD RESPONDENTS PURSUANT TO THE DIRECTIONS OF THE COURT, DATED APRIL 2, 2013
I, JOHNSON ASIEDU NKETIA of House No. E16/5, Sakumono Estate, Community 13, Tema, make oath and say as follows:
1. I am the General Secretary of the 3rd Respondent. I swear to this Affidavit for and on behalf of His Excellency the President, John Dramani Mahama, (the 1st Respondent), and the 3rd Respondent, I attach hereto, marked as Exhibit “JAN 1” a power of Attorney executed by the 1st Respondent empowering me to do so on his behalf.
2. By virtue of my position as the General Secretary of the 3rd Respondent, I was involved in the processes leading to the 7th and 8th December Elections. I attended the meetings held by 2nd Respondent with all political parties and was an integral part of the organization of the elections on behalf of 3rd Respondent and on behalf of 1st Respondent, our candidate for the Presidential Election.
3. Ist Respondent was declared duly elected as President by the 2nd Respondent at a Press Conference, held on December 9, 201, which was carried live by media houses throughout the country. Also, of the ten Regions of Ghana, 1st Respondent won eight. The announced results therefore demonstrated the will of the Ghanaian people.
4. 3rd Respondent won 148 out of 275 seats in Parliament, thus attaining a clear majority in Parliament, as against the NPP’s 123 seats. All the Members of Parliament, including those of the NPP, have taken their seats in Parliament and enjoying the benefits of their membership.
5. The election of the 1st Respondent was declared by both domestic and international observers to be free and fair. Attached to this affidavit and marked respectively as Exhibits “JAN 2”, “JAN 3” and “JAN 4” are the statements issued by the African Union Observer team led by His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, the ECOWAS observer team led by His Excellency Yaya Boni, President of the Republic of Benin and Chairman of ECOWAS, and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO).
6. Voting took place over two days because of challenges faced by 2nd Respondent in the use, for the first time, of fingerprint verification equipment, necessitating the postponement of voting at certain polling stations to the next day.
7. Prior to the election, 3rd Respondent appointed and trained two polling/counting agents for each polling station throughout the country, one designated for the Parliamentary Elections and the other for the Presidential Elections. They were however not
restricted to their respective designations in the performance of their duties on the actual polling days and monitored both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections at their designated polling stations. They were trained to organize their movements on the polling day to ensure that at any given time, at least one of them was present to observe voting.
8. In brief, voting involved a process of biometric identification of the voter by Presiding Officers at the various polling stations. Voter identification cards, visual observation and the biometric register, as well as fingerprint verification were all part of the identification process. The voter was then allowed to vote, first, for a presidential candidate of his choice, and then for a parliamentary candidate of his choice. The process of voting on the two days has been testified to by polling/counting agents representing 1st and 3rd Respondent who have testified from personal knowledge in affidavits which have been filed before this Honourable Court as to what took place in each polling station where Petitioners claim something went wrong.
9. The processes of voting, sorting and counting of ballots papers and the declaration of results were done openly and in the full glare of the public, observers and the polling/counting agents of the various parties.
10. There were procedures by which any party who was dissatisfied with the results or any of the processes of voting could, on the spot, lodge a written complaint. In most of the polling stations in respect of which the Petitioners have raised issues in this Petition, the 1st Petitioner’s polling/counting agents signed the pink sheets, documenting the declared results without raising any complaint.
11. The Petitioners claim they have identified six categories of violations, commissions, irregularities and malpractices in 11,842 polling stations, and have created various permutations and analysis around that figure based on which they invite this Honourable Court to annul as many as 4,637,305 votes validly cast by citizens of Ghana in exercise of their constitutional rights.
12. Upon counting and examination of the pink sheets submitted by the Petitioners in proof of their claim we have found the following:
a. That the total number of pink sheets submitted by the Petitioners as exhibits in proof of the various permutations of alleged violations, irregularities, omissions and malpractices is 8,621 and not the 11,842 alleged in the affidavit filed by 2nd Petitioner nor the 11.916 polling stations as alleged in the 2nd Amended Petition of Petitioners and confirmed by Counsel for Petitioners in open court;
b. Of the 8,621 pink sheets, 115 have absolutely no data on the basis of which any of the Petitioners allegations the subject matter of this Petition, can be supported;
c. A further 373 were duplicated;
d. Petitioners have used at least one sheet relating to a Parliamentary result in proof of their claim of irregularity in the Presidential Elections.
13. There is no logical, arithmetical or other basis upon which the Petitioners come to the conclusion that 4,637,305 votes cast in the 7 and 8th December Presidential Election should be annulled. The Petitioners’ claims are not supported by the documents they have submitted in support of their case. Also, their statements about the malpractices, irregularities, omissions they allege have not been consistent with each other.
14. The various permutations of the alleged malpractices, irregularities, commissions and violations are also flawed in very material respects, as I demonstrate below, and therefore cannot form the basis of the reliefs being sought by the Petitioners.
15. Regarding each of the heads of claim, I say as follows:
i. In respect of all the pink sheets exhibited on over-?voting, in no instance are the Petitioners alleging that the valid votes cast exceed number of registered voters at the polling station.
ii. What the Petitioners are alleging to be instances of over-? voting are in reality patent clerical, and sometimes, arithmetic errors in recording, which have no material effect on the actual votes publicly cast, sorted, counted and recorded.
iii. A number of the pink sheets do not support in any manner the allegation of over-?voting.
15B. VOTING WITHOUT PRIOR FINGERPRINT BIOMETRIC VERIFICATION
i. For the first time during elections, the 2nd Respondent used fingerprint biometric verification machines as well as a biometrically compiled register. The fingerprint verification machines in certain instances were found not to be functioning and as a result of delays occasioned by having to remedy faults in these machines during the voting exercise 2nd Respondent adjourned the polls to the next day to enable it to deal with the problems on the fingerprint verification machines. To the best of my knowledge, based on accounts of our agents at the polling stations, no voter voted without prior biometric verification.
ii. My attention has been drawn to paragraph 31 of the affidavit of the 2nd Petitioner alleging that certain votes were annulled at a collation center in the Northern Region. I have been advised by Counsel and believe that that, if indeed it did happen, that annulment was unlawful. In any event, as this is not an issue arising from the pleadings in this case, I am advised and verily believe that this is not an issue before this Honourable Court.
iii. The affidavits sworn to by our polling agents and filed before this Honourable Court confirm that in all the polling stations in respect of which they swore their respective affidavits, voters were biometrically verified before they were permitted to vote.
iv. I have also been advised by counsel and believe that biometric verification cannot be restricted to fingerprint verification and that if as a result of equipment failure, any voting occurred without a voter having undergone fingerprint verification but the voter was otherwise verified in terms of the biometric register this was not wrongful.
v. The 1st Respondent’s statement referred to by the Petitioners that where there were still challenges with the fingerprint verification machines voters be allowed to vote without prior fingerprint verification, reflected his view of the constitutional rights of Ghanaian citizens, which I am advised by Counsel and verily believe is the correct statement. In any event the statement of 1st Respondent was not the basis of any decision of officers of 2nd Respondent in conducting the elections.
15C. ABSENCE OF SIGNATURES OF PRESIDING OFFICERS ON PINK SHEETS.
i. In all instances in which the Petitioners allege that the Presiding Officers did not sign pink sheets, the Petitioners do not challenge the results documented on the said pink sheets. Indeed, their own polling agents had, in most cases, signed the declared results without having raised any complaints.
ii. I am advised by Counsel and verily believe that the neglect or failure of Presiding Officers to sign the pink sheets, whether by oversight or for any other reason, cannot be a basis for annulling lawfully cast votes. Otherwise Presiding Officers would be able, by design, to
disenfranchise voters by failing or refusing to sign declaration forms.
15D. PINK SHEETS WITH THE SAME SERIAL NUMBERS HAVING DIFFERENT RESULTS.
It would appear that the allegation under this head of claim is based on a lack of appreciation of the nature and role of serial numbers on pink sheets. It is polling station codes, and not serial numbers, that are used in identifying polling stations. 2nd Respondent has given sufficient explanation to this head of claim in its Amended Answer to the 2nd Amended Petition. We note that the Petitioners do not allege that voting did not take place at any of the polling stations that they claim are affected by the allegation. I note also that, at those polling stations, the polling/counting agents of the 1st Petitioner duly signed the pink sheets, which are the products of lawfully supervised elections.
15E. DIFFEERENT RESULTS ON PINK SHEETS HAVING THE SAME POLLING STATION CODE
i. I note that that the Petitioners do not allege that voting did not take place at those polling stations. In addition to the unique codes, polling stations can also be partially identified by their name; so that assuming that the Petitioners were correct (which I deny), the names of the polling station would have provided sufficient distinguishing point for the particular polling station.
2nd Respondent has explained that where polling stations have been used for special voting which preceded the general voting, two separate results would appear on the pink sheets with the same polling station code, one representing the results of the special voting, and the other those of the general voting. Anyhow, I maintain that each pink sheet represents the genuine results of supervised election, and the polling/counting agents of the 1st Petitioner duly signed them
15F. UNKNOWN POLLING STATIONS
i. I was in court when the Counsel for the Petitioners indicated that they were restricting this allegation to the 22 polling stations they identified on the basis of the orders of the court to supply further and better particulars. Counsel for the Petitioners confirmed they no longer were making claims in respect of 28 polling stations as they originally alleged. The Affidavit of 2nd Petitioner now refers to 23 polling stations meaning there is one polling station in respect of which further and better particulars have not been supplied as ordered by the court.
ii. We have also checked the details of the polling stations provided by the Petitioners, and have found that their confusion arose, in some instances, out of the wrong spelling of the names of the polling stations and, in others, they misquoted the polling station codes. In some cases, the polling stations were used for special voting. All the polling stations exist and were all part of the 26,002 polling stations that were created by 2nd Respondent for the conduct of the December 2012 elections. Anyhow, the pink sheets exhibited by the Petitioners in respect thereto reflect the genuine results of supervised elections, signed by the Petitioners’ and 1st Respondent’s polling/counting agents.
iii. I attach to this affidavit, marked Exhibit “JAN 5”, an analysis of the details relating to the Petitioners’ allegation. The 2nd and 3rd columns show the details provided by the Petitioners in their allegation. The 4th and 5th columns show the correct details of the polling stations. The 6th column shows the Constituencies under which the polling stations fall.
16. In general response to the various allegations made by the Petitioners, I say that, in most of the polling stations in respect of which the Petitioners have made claims, their own polling/counting agents signed without complaint the pink
sheets and the current complaints are merely the afterthought of bad losers clutching at straws. The Petitioners only started complaining long after the results had been declared at the various polling stations, and when the overall trend nationwide began to show that 1st Petitioner would lose the elections. Indeed on December 8, 2012, after the President had said that voting should be allowed without prior fingerprint biometric verification, Boakye Agyarko, the Campaign Manager of the 1st Petitioner, gave a press conference to inform the country about the NPP’s impression of the conduct of the elections so far. He stated that the elections were the most transparent credible transparent, and peaceful elections ever held in Ghana, and that the 3rd Respondent and I, should not attempt to challenge the results.
17. This Petition is an act of bad faith and a brazen attempt by the Petitioners to find some reason to question the validity of the December 7 and 8 Presidential Elections after they lost.
18. Throughout the period after the close of polls, media houses throughout the country announced results as they were declared and reported tallies, which were consistent with the final results declared by 2nd Respondent. Indeed on December 9, 2013, prior to the declaration of the results by 2nd respondent, one media house, Multimedia Broadcasting Company Limited, called the elections in favour of 1st Respondent. The reaction of supporters of 1st Petitioner and NPP was to violently attack the personnel, not only of that media house, but also those of TV 3 and Metro TV. The attacks were captured on television, and are matters of public knowledge.
19. The Petitioners and the NPP had attempted to halt the declaration of the results of the Presidential Elections. I personally attended, with other representatives of 1st and 3rd Respondents, a meeting held on December 9, 2012 at the Ridge Head Office of 2nd Respondent, at the instance of the Petitioners and the NPP, and under the auspices of the National Peace Council, a civil society group of religious and other leaders established to ensure peace in the country before, during and after the general elections. 3rd Petitioner also
attended the meeting on behalf of 1st Petitioner and the NPP. It was at the meeting that those of us representing the 1st and 3rd Respondents heard for the first time that the NPP had earlier written a Petition to the 2nd Respondent making some allegations of voting malpractice.
20. At the meeting, the NPP, speaking through the 3rd Petitioner and Kwabena Agyepong, one of its representatives, alleged that they had proof of voting irregularities and malpractices in five constituencies, and that 2nd Respondent should postpone the declaration of results for at least 24 hours to enable them provide proof of the alleged voting malpractices. The Chairman of 2nd Respondent stated that “evidence was the name of the game”, and that he would declare the results in the absence of any proof of such irregularities and malpractices, whereupon the NPP furnished 2nd Respondent with pink sheets from the 5 constituencies.
21. The Chairman of 2nd Respondent retired with his staff for about one hour to evaluate the pink sheets and returned with the following findings:
(a) That the pink sheets provided did not represent the complete results of any of the five constituencies.
(b) That in the absence of complete results of the said constituencies, it was not possible to verify the allegations made on behalf of 1st Petitioner and the NPP;
(c) That the pink sheets provided, anyhow, did not support any allegations of irregularity; (d) That the request to postpone the results was not justified. He wondered how in the absence of complete results allegations of malpractice or irregularity would be made against any person, party or institution. He then notified the meeting that he intended to announce the results which he eventually did that same evening.
22. After the declaration of the results, representatives of the NPP have made changing allegations about the alleged irregularities and malpractices, which they claim accounted for their defeat, including the following:
(a) That results declared in favour of 1st Petitioner had been swapped with those declared in favour of 1st Respondent; (b) That results declared in favour of 1st Respondent had been unlawfully increased between the collation centres and the strong-?room and that the results that came to the strong-?room and declared by 2ND Respondent did not reflect those recorded at the various constituency collation centres;
(c) That at certain polling stations the declared results in words were different from those in figures in a manner that favoured 1st Respondent;
(d) that 1st Respondent had conspired with 2nd Respondent to steal votes for 1st Respondent.
(e) That results being transmitted from the various regions to 2nd Respondent’s “strong room” had been somehow captured at certain locations and changed to favour 1st Respondent. This wild allegation was made by various officials of the NPP and led to supporters of the NPP massing up around the offices of Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) with claims that the company was harbouring 1st Respondent in its premises, and, with the assistance of some Israelis and Chinese, was intercepting results from the various regions intended for 2nd Respondent’s strong-?room in Accra, and altering them in favour of 1st Respondent, before transmitting them to the 2ND Respondent’s strong-?room at its headquarters at Ridge, Accra. To date, despite the orders for further and better particulars, the Petitioners have not supplied any particulars of the allegation of “tampering with the results of the elections” in Paragraph 10 of the original Petition. Paragraphs 5 and 6 of 1st Respondent’s Amended
Answer to 2nd Petition filed on February 26, 2013 expose the falsehood of Petitioners’ claims.
23. The violence by the Petitioners’ supporters was not restricted to the period of the election. After the declaration of the results, their supporters massed around the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Accra, beating up passersby who they suspected of being sympathizers of 3rd Respondent.
24. I have been advised by Counsel and verily believe that this Petition is wholly unmeritorious and lacks any substance whatsoever.
Sworn in Accra this ] …………………………………… Day of April, 2012 ] DEPONENT
COMMISSIONER OF OATHS
THE REGISTRAR SUPREME COURT ACCRA
1. THE PETITIONERS OR THEIR SOLICITOR, AKUFO-?ADDO PREMPEH & CO., KOJO THOMPSON ROAD, ADABRAKA, ACCRA
2. THE 2ND RESPONDENT OR ITS SOLICITORS, LYNES QUASHIE-? IDUN & CO., KOJO THOMPSON ROAD, ADABRAKA