The Presidential Election Petition, after almost seven months of arguments, discussions, pink sheets and various applications, came to an end on Wednesday 17th July, 2013. It has undoubtedly been a period of rich history and landmark events which we would obviously keep talking about for a long time.
On December 7th, 2012 Ghanaians went to the polls to elect a President and 275 Members of Parliament. As usual there was excitement in the air.
For those of us in the NPP, December 7th had finally come after 4 years of hard work which had seen our Presidential candidate almost relentless in his efforts to sell the message of the NPP in every single community in our country.
The NPP was coming on the back of a bitter defeat in the 2008 General elections, having lost the Presidency by less than 40,000 votes after two rounds of voting and there was an obvious determination on all sides within the party to do everything humanely possible to reclaim the Presidency.
From where I stand, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia had undertaken a vigorous eight month campaign across the length and breadth of the country. Starting from his famous state of the economy speech in which he tackled the basics of the Ghanaian economy and how low the NDC administration had sunk it despite the very favourable economic conditions it had inherited and prevailing favourable external sector conditions.
He had undertaken to take the bull by the horns and battle for every single vote, he could possibly win for the New Patriotic Party and Nana Akufo-Addo, his Presidential Candidate who had demonstrated utmost confidence in this young and well recognized brilliant economist and thinker.
Not a single region went untouched in the eight months, though it is evident that the most concentration was in the three Northern Regions and to an extent, the Brong Ahafo Region.
Then fast forward to December. After a well fought campaign, Dr. Afari Gyan, like he had done in 2008, announced the NDC as winners despite strong complaints from Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP and rather ordered the NPP to go to court if indeed we had any case.
In 2012 though, Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP decided to take the challenge serious. A team was immediately assembled to meticulously gather and analyze the records of the election and identify if any, the irregularities that bogged the election and indeed it didn’t take long for it to be very obvious that the election had been choked with unprecedented irregularities and violations from head to toe. No region or district or constituency had been spared.
But the systematic and widespread nature of the irregularities made the work more difficult and not less easy.
This team of mainly young men and women of various backgrounds, led by the Vice Presidential candidate of the party, had to first of all try as much as possible to gather all the primary records, the Pink sheets, from over 26,000 polling stations and then enter these records one by one into soft formats (simply computers for those who dread the word ‘soft’) after which various tests and analysis had to be constantly made to find the full scale of what happened on Friday, December 7th, 2012.
But outside the real work, was also the work of political propagandists who sang to the high heavens, the frivolousness of the NPPs intent to go to court. “The to be petitioners had no case,” “they just couldn’t come to terms with defeat,” “they would end up being thrown out of the courts” etc.
Some even went as short as saying that no petition would be submitted.
All the talk about going to court was going to end on radio and in the other media forms. Others professed more love for the NPP than the leaders of the party by asking the party to forget about seeking justice and to do what they called “reorganization” as that was much more important.
But for the millions who believed their mandate had rightfully been stolen, it was a relentless contribution in terms of ideas, prayers and support for the task the National Council had ordained; they could not wait for the petition to be filed and every day that went past without filing only increased anxiety.
Finally, however, on the morning of December 28th, the petition was filed but that was really, just the beginning. It was months of sleepless nights and indeed continued to be throughout the hearings, for those who were involved. It was months of hard work and months of getting ‘pinked’ and months of getting to learn things about the electoral system and how it was compromised in 2012.
But on the road from the filing of the petition to the commencement of the substantive case, there was one difficult spot to forget, where easily all the hard work could have ended for the man who later became the star witness for the petitioners.
March 17th Bole – Bamboi
That was a weekend. The party had arranged a series of regional stopovers during which party executives and leading members had to be informed of the progress of the case and had to be informed, in part, about the real evidence supporting the petition.
The day before was a Saturday. Party faithfuls had been informed in Bolga and Tamale of the work that had so far been done and they were visibly excited.
But this particular day was a Sunday. A normal bright Sunday which happened to have fallen on a 17th of March. On the plains between Bole and Bamboi, returning from the installation of the new Bole-wura, with the National Chairman of the Party’s vehicle as the lead car, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s vehicle as second and the security vehicle as third car in the convoy.
A few minutes after 1pm (I’m sure), a loud blast is heard. Two tires on the same side of Dr. Bawumia’s vehicle get burst simultaneously.
The vehicle skids of the road, three or four somersaults and then a very heavy landing – a car damaged beyond repair, four shocked occupants who have just stared death in the eyes and who cannot believe how merciful God has been to them this particular afternoon.
There were wailing occupants of the other vehicles in the convoy who instantly believed lives have been lost in the accident vehicle – is was an unforgettable sight.
Miraculously, and on the face value, all that was suffered was some bruises, dislocated bones and serious body pains. What followed is a drive to Kumasi and an uncertainty of what internal damage might have been caused by the near fatal accident, but thankfully everybody escapes without major injuries and to only God would glory and honour forever be.
The recovery had to take less than 2 weeks because after all recovery or not, there was still unfinished business to be done. The petition and the evidence had to be rounded up soon to commence unprecedented and landmark Presidential Election Petition.
Within the space of two weeks after March 17th, the Supreme Court of Ghana, faced with potentially its biggest case in its existence, settled all the brouhaha on the issues to be determined by the court and limits it to two: a. were there irregularities and b. if there were, did they affect the outcome of the elections?
No one could have simplified the whole petition better than what our nine eminent Justices did. Most importantly too, the date for the commencement of the substantive case was announced. April 16th!!!!
For whatever my hausa is worth, I know “Doole Doole” means “surely surely” and surely the 16th of April was upon us. But before the 16th was the 15th. Monday 15th April, when everybody had given up and accepted their fates of having to be at the mercy of propaganda PHD holders and world acknowledged grand masters, the nation was pleasantly surprised.
The Chief Justice and the Judiciary had finally agreed and sanctioned the live broadcast of the Presidential Election Petition and indeed to borrow one of the most cheapened phrases – plans were far advanced to give us the live telecast just the next day.
So the 16th came, the lawyers were in court, the judges were fully present, the petitioners were there and so were the respondents and their representatives including till then, the much sought after Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, the man who kept daring political operatives to go to court.
That day, he also came to court and has been there ever since.
But the Electoral Commission, the constitutionally mandated body to organize the election, the body which had had all the documents relating to the election in their custody for many months were not ready with their response, so the court adjourned till the next day for ‘proper action’ to begin.