General News of Sunday, 28 April 2013
Source: The Chronicle
The popular mantra in Ghanaian politics, “there are many ways of killing a cat”, attributable to National Democratic Congress (NDC) National Chairman Dr. Kwabena Adjei, was replayed before the Supreme Court (SC) hearing the election petition when the witness, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, re-echoed the phrase in driving home his point on padded votes during the 2012 presidential election.
Dr. Bawumia told the court presided over by Justice William Atuguba during cross-examination by Mr. James Quarshie-Idun, Lead Counsel for the Electoral Commission (EC), that even though the petitioners had backed down on two out of three polling stations where they have alleged padding of votes in favour of President John Mahama, there were other means that the malpractice was achieved during the conduct of the 2012 presidential election.
“There are many ways of killing a cat”, the witness intimated in his evidence, which threw the entire court room into uncontrollable laughter as he tersely assured the NDC National Chairman of paying some royalties to him.
Other panel members of the court are Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin-Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
The 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and party Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey are in court challenging the declaration of John Mahama as winner in the 2012 presidential election by the Electoral Commission (EC).
Expatiating on his evidence, Dr. Bawumia confirmed that the two polling stations, namely New Tafo Baptist JHS polling station and Nana Buabasa polling station in the Manhyia South Constituency, which they initially alleged out of three polling stations as being affected by vote padding to favour John Mahama, was wrong.
According to the witness, even though the allegation was in evidence in the form of pink sheets and an affidavit, the petitioners had abandoned proving the allegation on the two polling stations, and that he never included them in his updated analysis, which was made after swearing the affidavit.
The witness noted that the petitioners were withdrawing the two areas because they found out that they could not sustain the allegations made, further asserting that the remaining evidence could reliably sustain their request for an annulment of the results.
He was of the view that vote padding, in which President Mahama benefited, includes over-voting, voting without biometric verification and other irregularities, stressing that there were 11,138 discrepancies on the face of the pink sheets provided in evidence before the court.
“We produced 136 examples of padding and reducing of votes to favour John Mahama,” Dr. Bawumia emphasised.
Additionally, the witness confirmed that there had been a duplication of pink sheet evidence produced before the court, but noted that in his analysis there was no duplication of evidence. “Records show that there was over-voting, as more ballots were cast than issued,” the witness indicated, adding that the discrepancy in the election was one of the complaints made by the NPP executives when they met the peace council and the chairman of the EC.
He also noted that the EC chairman told the executives of the NPP that they did not have enough evidence to halt the declaration of the results since they could not produce all the results on pink sheets at all the polling stations of the areas they complained of discrepancies, which include Upper West Akyim, Kintampo South, Techiman North, Yilo Krob and Berekum among others.
Regarding the registration of voters abroad, the witness affirmed to the court that the EC informed the NPP when it would undertake the registration of voters abroad and additionally noted that his party subsequently received the list of names of registered voters abroad.
Dr. Bawumia also affirmed that the information on the photo identity card was the same as the information on the biometric register.
He noted that the law made provision for those who do not have fingers, and those whose fingerprints could not be captured by the biometric verification machine, and further confirmed that photos were also a form of verification available to some 3,993 people dotted across the country. “Verification is not limited to fingerprints only,” the witness stressed.
Dr. Bawumia also indicated that voting took place outside the country, apart from the 26,002 polling stations.
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 presidential poll.
However, the respondents have denied the assertions of the petitioners, noting that the results of the election as declared, were credible.