Bawumia Faces Tsatsu

Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for NDC

Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for NDC

Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), will take his turn to cross-examine Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who has been in the witness box for almost 10 days running in the landmark election petition hearing at the Supreme Court, which has gripped the whole country.

Tsatsu would take over after counsel for the Electoral Commission (EC) James Quarshie-Idun winds up with his cross-examination of the witness.

However, there have been subtle calls for the EC to change its counsel because of what EC insiders describe as Quarshie-Idun’s lack of fire power to consume Dr Bawumia so far.

The EC insiders claim that Mr Quarshie-Idun has not been impressive in the handling of his brief, saying the earlier he is changed the better.

However, legal analysts are of the opinion that the EC’s lawyer is a perfect professional who knows how to handle his brief and that if he is not doing well it is not because he is not capable, but the case is a bad one.

“A bad case is a bad case,” a lawyer said.

Mr Quarshie-Idun is expected to continue his cross-examination of Dr Bawumia who has so far proved to be a hard nut to crack, before handing over the baton to Mr Tsikata.

Tsatsu Demystified

But even before Tsatsu takes his turn, there are those who believe that he might be a disaster for the NDC.

“There is every reason to say that the mystery surrounding the so called ‘legal luminary’ has shattered beyond recovery. His performance in court so far could be described at best as ordinary and at worst as abysmal.

“He has not demonstrated any extraordinary legal prowess that supports the unsustainable impression created by the NDC that he is a good lawyer. He is likely to hurt the NDC’s case in the long run,” according to a statement issued by Divine Nkrumah, Progressive People’s Party (PPP) National Youth Coordinator.

Mr Nkrumah said so far, Tsatsu’s objections are always on the heels of those raised by other counsels in the petition only for it to be overruled by the law lords.

“He has been incoherent and wandering when he is given an opportunity to simply explain his grounds of supporting objections raised by other lawyers paying attention,” he stated.

The NDC, the PPP man said, should spare “us this cacophony about Tsatsu Tsikata because he has not been impressive. What the NDC needs now is energetic brilliant lawyers and not the rusty-feeble ones who continue to wallow in their in appreciative past glories”.

NPP Map

Meanwhile the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has released what it terms as the “ Map of Irregularities” in the December 7 and 8, 2012 Presidential Elections.

 The map shows an extensive regional analysis of the various forms of irregularities that the NPP claims marred the outcome of the elections.

The map contains six categories of electoral irregularities from over 11,100 polling stations nationwide (constituting over four million votes out of the almost 12 million votes cast during the election).

The colour coded anomalies released for public scrutiny yesterday by the party headquarters shows the intensity of each irregularity per region.

The irregularities include over-voting, voting without biometric verification, duplicate serial numbers of ballot papers, unknown polling station, missing signature of presiding electoral officer and same polling station with different results.

For instance, in the Northern Region, the NPP claims over 80 percent of the irregularities there were same polling stations with different results.

In Greater Accra, the irregularities were evenly distributed across board except for same polling stations with different results which was almost non-existent in Accra.

Irregularities

The bulk of the irregularities were over-voting (at 25 percent) and about 20 percent of the irregularities constituted stuffing of ballot boxes with duplicate serial numbers.

The Electoral Commission and the National Democratic Congress has explained these irregularities and malpractices as ‘administrative errors, clerical errors and transpositional errors’ that must be swept away.

“A glance at the map indicates that indeed the elections of December 7th were affected hugely by the various irregularities and violations which occurred in various degrees all over the country.

Every single region and every one of the 275 constituencies was affected by the multiple forms of irregularities,” the NPP stated in the release from its national headquarters on Sunday which the party says forms a bulk of its evidence presented to the Supreme Court hearing the election petition filed by the three petitioners.

Indeed, from the NPP map, two regions (Northern and Ashanti) recorded significant incidence of the same polling stations recording different election results.

Overall, massive irregularities were recorded in five main regions- the Northern Region, Ashanti Region, Greater Accra Region, Central Region and Volta Region.

 In the Greater Accra region, all categories of the five major irregularities recorded an average of about 20 percent each.

The Volta Region recorded five main irregularities which averaged about 15 percent each.

In the Ashanti Region the main irregularities were voting conducted in unknown polling stations, different result for the same polling station and the failure of the Presiding Officer to endorse the result of polling stations.

The map shows, for example, that close to 30 percent of votes to be annulled as a result of over-voting comes from the Greater Accra Region.

The Volta and Northern regions follow with almost 15 percent of all votes to be annulled as a result of over-voting coming from each of the two regions.

The Upper East, Central and Western regions each account for fewer than 10 percent of the incidents of over-voting while the Eastern, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and the Upper West regions each account for under 5 percent of the incidents of over-voting.

Biometric Verification

On voting without biometric verification, almost 20 percent of the votes that would have to be annulled as a result of this infraction of the law emanate from the Greater Accra Region, whilst the Volta and Northern regions each account for under 15 percent of all the votes to be annulled due to voting without biometric verification.

Based on their conviction that these irregularities impacted seriously on the final outcome of the election results declared by the Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and two others from the party have stormed the Supreme Court with an election petition seeking to annul over 4 million votes from the election that saw the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as the winner.

The figure in contention is coming from over 11,100 polling stations where the electoral process was conducted in December 2012.

Consequently, the NPP has roped in the Electoral Commission, President Mahama (the beneficiary of the election), with the ruling NDC joining the landmark election petition which is being telecast live.

The Evidence

This map was contained in the power-point presentation presented in hardcopy to the justices of the Supreme Court as part of the NPP evidence for its election petition.

“As part of the evidence and exhibits presented to the Supreme Court of Ghana, the main witness of the petitioners, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia also presented to the Supreme Court in hard copy a geographic representation of the spread of the constitutional, statutory violations and irregularities that affected the conduct and outcome of the December 7, 2012 General Election,” the party stated.

The substantive case started on April 16, 2013 and for six continuous days, Dr. Bawumia has parried an intense barrage of questions from the lawyers of the respondents to the election.

The lawyers are essentially trying to discredit the basis of conclusions made by the NPP on its allegations of electoral irregularities.

The Supreme Court would be critically analysing these calculations to make their ruling, DAILY GUIDE can confirm.

By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran

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