We are not superhumans – Tsatsu responds to CJ incessant calls for expedient election petition hearing
Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for John Mahama, the NDC Flagbearer, has urged the Supreme Court not to be in haste to bring finality to the election petition as justice has its own cause.
With the court insisting that it would strictly apply the 42-day duration to adjudicate the case in which Mr Mahama wants to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election,” the visibly dissatisfied Mr Tsikata said, “Justice must not be sacrificed for expedition.”
Mr Tsikata was reacting to the apex court’s ruling for the petitioners to file their witness statements by 12 noon on Thursday 21, 2021. According to him, it was unfair for the court to give such timelines.
“We have to file witness statements by noon Thursday, January 21, 2021, my Lord with the greatest of respect, we are human or unless there are superhumans,” he said before slouching in his chair.
But the apex court was of the view that the witness statements should have been prepared already since Mr Mahama’s legal team were the petitioners.
As much as the court appears to be pressed for time, he maintained that the timeline to file their witness statement was too short and could not be justified by law.
“We have filed this morning (Wednesday, January 20, 2021) an application for review of the ruling that you (Reference to the Chief Justice) delivered on Tuesday, there are consequences to that.
“We also have an outstanding request to admit facts which are due within three days from when they were served on the respondents. The number of outstanding issues have all not been discussed,” Mr Tsikata added.
The wheels of justice have long been established to grind slowly, but in this case, the apex court is being guided by the new constitutional instrument (CI) 99, that gives the court 42 days to hear the election petition.
The seven-member panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah ignored the petitioner’s plea and adjourned the case to January 26, 2021.
Aside from the CJ, the other panel members are Yaw Apau, Samuel K. Marful Sau, Nene Amegathcher, Professor Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu and Gertrude Torkornoo.
This is not the first time the revered lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata had a verbal brawl with a member of the panel.
On January 19, 2021, the legal ‘blow’ was between Mr Tsikata and a Supreme Court Judge, Nene Amegatcher. It was when he moved the motion for interrogatories, which the judge thought could have been dealt with using a different approach.
Processes filed by the petitioners
1. Application for interrogatories, which allows them to ask the first respondent (Electoral Commission) a number of questions that will determine the course of the case
2. A request to inspect documents:
- The originals of the constituency presidential election results collation forms for all the constituencies in the country
- The originals of the constituency presidential election results summary sheets (Form 10) for all constituencies
- The originals of the constituency presidential election results collation forms (Form 11) for all regions
- The original of the regional presidential election results summary sheets (Form 12) for all regions
- The original of the declaration of the presidential results form (Form 13)
- The records of the alleged update to the purported declaration of presidential election results on December 9, 2020, of the results of four constituencies in the country’s capital, Accra.
3. A review of the Chief Justice ruling delivered on January 19, 2021
On January 8, 2021, the former President John Dramani Mahama filed a motion for the Supreme Court to allow him correct errors in the election petition he filed challenging the presidential results declared in President Akufo-Addo’s favour.
The motion for amendment sought the permission of the apex court to correct a mistake in relief (f) of the election petition.
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.
However, relief (f) wants the court to order a rerun between Mahama and the first respondent, which as stated in the petition turns out to be the EC.
Relief (f) is seeking “an order of mandatory injunction directing the first respondent to proceed to conduct a second election with petitioner and first respondent as the candidates as required under Articles 63(4) and (5) of the 1992 Constitution.”
It is this mistake that the NDC Flagbearer wants to correct.
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This is the second time in Ghana’s Fourth Republican history that an election is being challenged. In 2012, the NPP challenged the result of that year’s election, claiming it was fraught with abnormalities that should have it nullified.
But the court disagreed and affirmed the election of John Dramani Mahama as the duly elected President.
However, eight years later, it is a reverse fortune for Mr Mahama as also goes to the Supreme Court seeking to torpedo the results announced by the Electoral Commission on December 9, 2020.