The institution of democracy and resultant need sometimes to transfer power has been a critical issue in Africa. Recently, several countries have imploded and descended into chaos and violence as their leaders have refused to step down or accept electoral defeat. They connive with their respective Electoral Commissions to engage in electoral coup d’état. Electoral fraud inevitably infuriates people whose votes have been stolen from them and have provoked them to pour into the streets to protest, usually resulting in violence and mayhem.
Ghana has so far managed to avoid this catastrophe, evidenced by the fact that when confronted with similar electoral situation that could have provoked mayhem in last December General Elections, leaders of the dissatisfied political group chose to go to the Supreme Court to seek redress. This goes to show the respect and faith the nation maintains in its judicial institutions irrespective of the fact that since independence, the Nkrumah regime subjected Ghanaians to suffer situations where the executive arm of the government wantonly controlled the judiciary.
Ghanaians recall the atrocities of the Thursday 1st July 1982 when some members of the ruling P/NDC murdered three high court judges in cold blood for passing reasoned objective judgement to their chagrin. This act of murder and intimidation was intended for the judiciary to cringe to the dictates of the executive arm of the then ruling PNDC regime.
In regard to what transpired in the December 2012 elections, it is clear that Ghana’s Electoral Commission has verged on descending into executive manipulation; a situation that can only be saved by the Supreme Court and the Judiciary as a whole. This dire situation requires honesty, steadfastness and truthfulness of the Supreme Court judges to withstand any executive pressure and deliver true justice in accordance with the Court’s rules and the laws of the land.
Evidence so far adduced before the court for the last 46 days of sitting suggests that over 3million votes were contaminated with various electoral infractions including over votes, voting without biometric verification, duplicate serial numbers and lack of presiding officers’ signatures, all of which contravene the dictates of Ghana’s Constitution as well as the provisions of the Public Elections Regulations 2012 (CI75) and therefore cannot be considered for valid votes cast for purposes of declaring a winner of a publicly and internationally funded general and Presidential election.
However in a run up to this point of the hearing, a number of statements have been made by the government and its functionaries, which could be considered to be either contemptuous or manipulative of the court and its judges. We consider those statements as highly intimidating, inflammatory and as serious attempts to influence the minds of the judges and ultimately incite the public towards a certain outcome irrespective of the evidence adduced in court.
Under this present government, Executive control has reached into the Ghana Police who have banned all forms of demonstration in Ghana in contravention of the citizen’s Constitutional rights. This unsavoury relationship between our citizens and Police sends ominous signals that can negatively influence the judicial determination of the electoral petition before the Supreme Court. The National Peace Council formed in 2011 by this government and controlled it, together with some chiefs, who have been heavily influenced, have also been going around the country telling Ghanaians to accept whatever verdict the Supreme Court Judges would deliver without calling on all stakeholders to look forward for the prevalence of justice, which is the ultimate importer of peace.
While we do not have the capacity to judge the merits of the case, we are only praying for justice to prevail because history tells us that all over the world, when a country’s political future reaches a stage of compromise, it is always the neutrality and impartiality of the Judiciary which intervenes to restore the true will of the people and ultimately prevents any unwholesome situation from emerging.
Our cause therefore is to be in solidarity with the nine Supreme Court Judges who are sitting on the petition hearing as well as their colleagues to be bold, to stand firm by their Judicial Oath and deliver a well-reasoned out verdict in truth and honesty to Ghana and Ghanaians and in sincerity to their capacity as Judges in the highest Court of the land. We exhort the Judges and all other powerful international institutions across the world who matter in Ghana’s development and for maintaining peace and tranquillity in the world that, for peace to prevail, justice must first be born and nurtured into maturity.
We, the Ghanaian community in the UK under the banner of Concerned Ghanaians Against Electoral Fraud (COGEF), having observed the 2012 elections and its post-election petition hearing as well as all evidence adduced in conjunction with the legal arguments from the petitioners and their respondents and Court deliberations hereby present the following petition:
The Supreme Court of Ghana:
• That we support the Judges and the judiciary as the last bastion of our democracy; therefore Ghanaians expect nothing short of protection of our democracy from them.
• That the Judges remain strong, infrangible and focussed on the matter before them by not succumbing to the intimidations of the government for the sake of Ghana’s future.
• That the Supreme Court as an institution of relevance and august importance should so assert itself by so contributing to evincing peace in Ghana through the birth of justice
• That the expectation of the Ghanaian people is that the Supreme Court will act accordingly in an honest and independent manner by applying law to the facts and evidence before it without fear or favour
The Ghana Government
We petition the government in transition in Ghana
• To cease and desist from all acts of intimidation and threats of civil war if the decision does not go its way
• To cease hiding behind the Ghana Police who are denying Ghanaians their inalienable right to demonstrate as well as insinuations of threats of other kind.
• To entrench democracy in Ghana by not interfering with the smooth running of the Supreme Court in its judicious deliberations and the decisions of the judiciary as a whole
The Ghanaian community
We exhort the Ghanaian community:
• To exercise their right under all circumstance without any fear of intimidation
• To be strong, resistant and vigilant in order to protect Ghana’s infant democracy, the rule of law and the Republic.
The International Community
We petition the International Community to support the legal process by the following actions:
• Support judicial independence in Ghana by strengthening the hand of justice and support to the 9 judges whilst Ghanaians wait final judgement.
• To support an outcome that is aimed at producing justice and ultimately lasting peace and stability, not necessarily the status quo, as this may backfire in future into mayhem.
• Support the path taken by Ghana in using the Court process rather than resorting to civil strife for a determination of electoral dispute as has been happening in other countries in Africa.
Finally, we wish to reaffirm our confidence in Ghana’s Judiciary. Ghanaians expect nothing but the truth and justice from the Nine Eminent Judges of the Supreme Court who are adjudicating the petition. The future survival of this great country of ours depends on their arriving at a fair decision which will be acceptable to all including the international community. It is therefore, our prayer that you support them, embolden them and encourage them to arrive at a decision guided by the principle of fairness, transparency and the fear of God.
Signed on behalf of Concerned Ghanaians against Electoral Fraud (COGEF) UK:
DR. NII ASHONG
Email contact: [email protected]
• THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF GHANA
• GHANA HIGH COMMISSION-UK
• NO 10 DOWNING STREET- UK
• COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT–UK
• EU REPRESENTATIVE IN UK
• MEDIA HOUSES