August 29, 2013: Judgment Day of Election Petition

Justice William Atuguba is President of the Nine-member panel hearing the 2012 election petitionJustice William Atuguba is President of the Nine-member panel hearing the 2012 election petitionThe Supreme Court has fixed August 29, 2013 as judgment day for the election petition which has been pending since December 2012.

Announcing the day after all parties have finished their oral addresses this morning, the president of the nine member panel, Justice William Atuguba said the court will sit on Wednesday August 14, 2013 to seek clarifications on the voluminous legal addresses which has been filed by all the parties.

He said judgment would then be given 15 days afterwards.

The Supreme Court’s sitting this morning provided the opportunity for all four lead counsel in the presidential election petition to provide oral submissions on additions or clarifications justifying why President John Dramani Mahama should or should not be maintained as President of the Republic.

Dubbed the “battle of legal wits” each counsel was allotted 30minutes to make their submission.

The respondents counsel, beginning with Mr Tony Lithur for President Mahama started the oral address followed by Mr James Quashie-Idun for the Electoral Commission, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata for the National Democratic Congress and Mr Philip Addison for the petitioners.

Apart from Mr Quashie-Idun who used 25minutes for his address, all the others exhausted their 30minutes.

The address of the petitioners counsel focused on protecting the interests of their clients who want President Mahama deposed on the strength of the 1992 Constitution and that of President Mahama, who was declared winner of the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential poll.

Lawyers for the conductor of the polls, the Electoral Commission (EC), and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) prayed the court to affirm the EC’s declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the presidential election, while counsel for President Mahama also sought to implore the court to maintain the status quo.

After the oral addresses, Justice William Atuguba announced the case was being adjourned to Wednesday August 14, 2013.

“You have addressed us and we (judges) also as it were will address you (lawyers) on that day because we haven’t had the chance to… you will notice that we were quite throughout,” Atuguba said.

“Because the material is voluminous, we have to make time and read and then we will have opportunity to ask questions or clarifications for our own benefit and then 15 days from there, mandatory judgment day”, Justice Atuguba added.

The case of the parties

The petitioners — Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey — have alleged gross and widespread irregularities at 10,119 polling stations across the country.

They have argued that Nana Akufo-Addo should have been validly declared President on December 9, 2012 because he obtained 4,0157,12 valid votes, representing 56.85 per cent, while President Mahama benefitted from 2,622,551 votes, representing 41.79 per cent of the valid votes cast in the 2012 election.

But the respondents have denied those claims.

To buttress their claims, the petitioners have filed a 176-page address to justify the annulment of votes at the 10,119 polling stations, while the President, the EC and the NDC have filed 84, 15 and 69-page addresses, respectively, to plead with the court to maintain the said votes on the grounds that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations.

The court sits next Wednesday August 14, 2013.

By Enoch Darfah Frimpong / / Ghana

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