“This Is A Courtroom; Not A Rally Ground” – Atuguba Warns Bawumia

The President of the nine-member panel hearing the election petition at the Supreme Court, Justice William Atuguba on Monday April 22, 2013 warned the key witness, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to refrain from hurling political jibes at the Respondents’ Counsel while he testified in the witness box.

The warning followed a retort from Dr Bawumia-the Second Petitioner in the case-to the President’s Lawyer, Tony Lithur, during cross-examination of the 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) as far as some duplicated election records (pink sheets), tendered in evidence by the witness was concerned.

In one of his answers during the cross-examination, Dr Bawumia dared Mr Lithur to scrutinize the analysis he had made of the over 11,000 pink sheets from polling stations where the NPP claimed numerous statutory violations, irregularities and omissions occurred during the December 7 and 8 elections of 2012, to ascertain if any of the pink sheets were used more than once in his analysis.

He said: “The analysis is here Counsel…if you are not afraid to look at it, then I’d ask you to look at it and you will search till [thy] Kingdom come and you will not find one repeated”.

However Justice Atuguba warned Dr Bawumia that: “The procedure here should be decoupled from a rally ground procedure”, adding that: “This is a courtroom”.

The Court room burst into laughter following Justice Atuguba’s caution to Dr Bawumia.

The President’s lawyer however prayed the Bench to excuse Dr Bawumia’s political comment.

“My Lord he can be excused; I don’t mind; He’s just speaking his mind”, Tony Lithur pleaded.

The NPP’s 2012 Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo (First Respondent), together with Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the Party’s National Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey is in court challenging the validity of the election results as declared by the country’s electoral commission after the December 7 and 8 general elections.

The petitioners argue that the elections were fraught with unpardonable flaws which must not be left uninvestigated.

They accuse the incumbent party, National Democratic Congress of conspiring with the EC to steal the elections for President John Mahama.

They therefore, are praying the Court to set aside and nullify the EC’s results which declared President Mahama as winner of the presidential poll.

They want the court to annul 4,670,504 of the valid votes cast during the election at 11,916 polling stations where they claim a lot of anomalies occurred.

The Court whittled the case down to two issues.

They included whether or not there were statutory violations, irregularities, omissions and malpractices in the 2012 general elections and if same impacted the final results.