Supreme Court ruling will enhance investor confidence

Professor Peter Quartey, Director of Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)

Ghana’s economy will reap benefits from the conclusion of the election petition as the Supreme Court has delivered its verdict, the Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Professor Peter Quartey has said.

With uncertainties settled, he is confident that the international investor community would respond positively.

Investors know that “our judicial system is robust”.

They know we are “matured in our democracy, so we don’t fight election on the streets but rather the court system”.

He told theghanareport.com after the Supreme Court ruling that the verdict would “confirm what the business and international community think about Ghana”.

“We are a democratic country and therefore it will enhance confidence in the economy and they can take medium to long-term investment decisions,” he underscored.

Impact of the petition

The Economist pointed out that the petition had no significant impact on the economy during the hearing which lasted more than the 42 days targeted but significantly less than the almost eight months of the 2012 petition.

The government at the time said it had a “monumental” effect on the economy but that is not the case in the recent one, according to the economist.

Political instability hampers investor confidence. Risk-averse foreign investors resort to capital flight or safer opportunities in times of uncertainties.

Consequently, it increases the depreciation of the local currency, revenues are affected, prices of imported commodities rise, amidst other challenges.

Why was the petition filed?

The petition filed by the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Dramani Mahama challenged the 2020 election results, which was declared in favour of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Akufo-Addo.

In the election petition filed on December 30, 2020, the first respondent (1st) was the Electoral Commission (EC), with the second respondent (2nd) being President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Former President Mahama said none of the 12 presidential candidates attained the 50 plus one mark for the Electoral Commission (EC) to declare a winner.

Although the EC said the NPP presidential candidate got 51.59 per cent of the votes against Mahama’s 47.37 per cent, the petitioner insists that was not a true reflection of the December 7 polls.

What did the court say?

The seven-member panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah, said the petition failed to meet the legal threshold.

The ruling which is the longest yet in the Supreme Court took almost 2 hours to deliver.

The court pointed out that the petitioner, John Mahama, failed to provide any evidence to prove that the declaration by the EC boss Jean Mensa was rigged with errors.

The CJ was of the view that the petitioner’s team led by Tsatsu Tsikata had not presented any data to counter the figures announced by the EC Chairperson on December 9, 2020, as total valid votes.

In the judgement read, citing various authorities, the CJ said if the petitioner’s team had presented figures to prove that the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo did not meet the legal threshold, all the reliefs sought would have been granted.

The CJ added that the said unilateral errors made by EC Chairperson Jean Mensa had no bearing on the matter before the court.

“We are however satisfied from the evidence on record that the figures announced as representing the valid votes obtained by the respective candidates were right and represented the will of the voters.

“We, therefore, hold that the error committed by the Chairperson of the first respondent cannot void the declaration, which actually announced the true wishes of the voters.

“To hold otherwise will mean that errors in statement and numbers committed by the Chairperson of the first respondent in an election, which do no impact on the outcome of the result, could nullify the actual result,” as contained in the unanimous decision.

The Chief Justice further said the testimonies of the three petition witnesses (NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, representatives in the EC strong room Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte and Robert Joseph Rojo Mettle-Nunoo) were of no relevance to the petition.

The three witnesses, according to the panel, failed to prove to the court the said illegalities that characterised the December 7 election.

According to the panel, the representatives of the NDC flagbearer in the EC strong room basically neglected their duties to oversee happenings in the National Collation Centre.

It was the view of the court that once the representatives signed the regional collation sheets, there was no basis for the complaints.

Justice Yeboah also mentioned that the evidence before the court confirms that the second respondent Nana Akufo-Addo indeed satisfied the 51 per cent threshold, as per the constitution, with the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South results.

In effect, the petitioner failed to provide evidence to show that the NPP candidate did not meet the 50 plus benchmark.

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