Rule for a re-run of the 2020 elections – Mahama urges Supreme Court

Lawyers for the petitioner in the on-going election petition have charged the Supreme Court to rule in favour of John Mahama who wants a re-run of the Presidential elections.

The petitioner’s legal team led by Tsatsu Tsikata pointed out that once the first respondent (Electoral Commission) has failed to testify, the court should not shudder to dismiss the account of the commission.

According to them, there is no evidence from the EC to show that it did not give contradictory figures in the December 7 elections, as has been tabled out by the petitioner.

The team, in a 41-page closing address insist that none of the contradictory figures for which the EC Chairperson based her declaration can be accepted as truth.

Mr Tsikata mentioned the EC Chairperson Jean Mensa was given a fair opportunity to mount the witness box and tell the world what the actual total valid votes were, but she declined.

“First respondent (Electoral Commission) has not discharged the burden of proof on it to show the error allegedly made by the EC on December 9, and the purported correction on December 10 or any other figure derived from results it has published. No basis exists for any Trier of fact to consider that EC has even discharged the burden of producing evidence under section 11 of the Evidence Act.

“The obligation of the EC to introduce sufficient evidence to avoid a ruling against him has not been simply met because EC decided not to have anyone testify on their behalf. No evidence is therefore, available for the first respondent to avoid a ruling against it,” as captured in the closing address filed on February 23, 2021.

The petitioner has maintained that the non-compliance by the Chairperson is a serious infraction of a constitutional instrument, for which she wields her power.

Also, the petitioner said the EC’s lawyers failed to provide evidence to contradict the testimony of their first witness, NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia with regards to the percentage of votes obtained by each candidate.

They, again, argued that the petitioner does not need to lead evidence to show that no candidate obtained more than 50% of the votes.

Mr Tsikata said the petitioner need not come to court with his own figures, as they were not in court “to take the job of the Returning Officer”.

On January 29, this year, counsel for the petitioner Tsatsu Tsikata accused Ghana’s Electoral Commission of cooking up figures in the 2020 elections.

According to him, the commission collated figures in favour of the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the detriment of the other candidates.

Mr Tsikata was reacting to an objection raised by the legal team of President Akufo-Addo, urging the court to reject the witness statement of the NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia.

“The figures were simply being cooked to obtain its already pre-determined outcome. The point we are making is that there has been sufficient basis made in the pleadings for there to be evidence that figures were just being cooked.

“The figures were coming from nowhere and without reference to anybody. They did not also follow due process of allowing each candidate’s party agent to be in the know of the figures put out there.

“My Lord, with the greatest respect I find it very difficult to see how any objective observer of the ever changing figures that has been put forward fail to see that we are not justified that the figures were indeed being cooked,” Mr Tsikata mounted a spirited defence urging the court to submit the witness statement in evidence.

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Reliefs sought by Mr Mahama

(a) A declaration that Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, Chairperson of first respondent and the Returning Officer for the Presidential Elections held on December 7, 2020 was in breach of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution in the declaration she made on December 9, 2020 in respect of the Presidential Election that was held on December 7, 2020

(b) A declaration that based on the data contained in the declaration made by Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, Chairperson of first respondent and the Returning Officer for the Presidential Elections held on December 7, 2020, no candidate satisfied the requirement of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution to be declared President-elect

(c) A declaration that the purported declaration made on December 9, 2020 ‘of the results of the Presidential Election by Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, Chairperson of first Respondent and the Returning Officer for the Presidential Elections held on December 7, 2020 is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever

(d) An order annulling the Declaration of President-Elect Instrument, 2020 (C.1. 135) dated December 9, 2020, issued under the hand of Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, Chairperson of first respondent and the Returning Officer for the Presidential Elections held December 7, 2020 and gazetted on December 10, 2020

(e) An order of injunction restraining the second respondent from holding himself out as President-elect

f) An order of mandatory injunction directing the first respondent to proceed to conduct a second election with Petitioner and second respondent as the candidates as required under Articles 63(4) and (5) of the 1992 Constitution

At the last sitting of the court, the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah indicated that the court will give its ruling on March 4, 2021.

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