Election petition: No time-wasting Supreme Court warns, as it announces roadmap
The Supreme Court on Wednesday announced the roadmap for the election petition hearing that will determine if President Nana Akufo-Addo was duly elected.
In setting out the timeliness, it said it would not tolerate time-wasting as it took a cue from the 2012 election petition which travelled for more than eight months.
The roadmap announced will see parties making their case to determine if indeed there were some anomalies with the results that saw the NPP presidential candidate emerging winner of the 2020 polls.
The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, on December 30, challenged the results of last year’s elections.
According to Mr Mahama, the results were flawed and fictional, he is seeking to reverse it and ultimately want the court to order a rerun as his figures indicated that the two front runners did not get the constitutionally required 50% +1 votes to be winners.
After asking Mahama to correct errors in his petition on January 14, 2021, the court again dealt with an application for interrogatories filed by the petitioners on January 19.
A day later, the court pinned down the timelines for the hearing which it said it wants to dispatch expeditiously.
The apex court took the decision looking at the strict timelines guiding the election adjudication dispute as contained in the constitutional instrument (C.I) 99.
The court is expected to hear this case within 42 days.
A seven-member panel presided over by the Chief Justice Anin Yeboah took the decision after parties involved submitted their memorandum of issues.
Below is the roadmap
- Mode of trial – The petitioner and their witnesses shall file witness statements with exhibits if any, by 12 noon of Thursday, January 21, 2021.
- The witness statements shall be filed on the counsel for the respondents by close of day on Thursday, January 21.
- The respondents and their witnesses if any, shall file their witness statements with exhibits, if any by close of day on Friday, January 22, 2021.
- The first and second respondents shall file their submissions on the preliminary objections raised to the petition by 12 noon on Friday, January 22, 2021.
- The registrar shall ensure service of the preliminary objections by close of day, Friday, January 22, 2021.
- The petitioner shall file any response to the submission of the preliminary objections by noon on Monday, January 25, 2021.
- The registrar shall ensure service of the petitioner’s response by close of day on Monday, January 25, 2021.
- The ruling on the preliminary objections would be incorporated in the judgement of the court.
- Timelines – The court shall sit on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, for the hearing of this petition.
With the timeline set, the court will deal with certain key issues that will determine whether or not the petition before them has any merit.
The key issues include: whether or not the petition discloses any cause of action and whether or not the second respondent met the Article 63 threshold of the constitution.
Earlier, Mr Mahama’s team filed an application for the review of the court’s ruling on its interrogatories which the court dismissed on Tuesday.
With the court dismissing Mr Mahama’s first shot at the interrogatories on Tuesday, his lawyers returned on Monday to demand a review of the apex court’s decision.
The review was filed on Wednesday on the morning – a day on which the court had ordered the parties to the table for a case management conference where the issues for the hearing would be narrowed down to specifics and with timelines for adjudication.
But Mr Mahama’s lawyers, led by Mr Tsikata, asked for another bout in the ring of interrogatories.
Unlike him, Mr Tsikata turned up for his legal duties late, forcing the Supreme Court judges to ask the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, where his lawyer was, as the huddle of lawyers in the courtroom introduced themselves.
“He is in the registry,” was the terse response.
When he turned up, Mr Tsikata apologised to the seven-member panel saying “My Lord, we have filed for a review of your yesterday’s ruling.
Chief Justice Kwasi Annin Yeboah took the cue and asked for time for the seven to deliberate on the issue.
But when the court resumed sitting, the court said it would incorporate its ruling on the review application in the final judgement of the petition.