We can’t rise and wait for Tsatsu Tsikata – CJ fumes over lateness
The Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah has expressed his displeasure over the lateness of the lead counsel of the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, in the ongoing election petition hearing.
Tuesday’s hearing makes it the second time counsel for the NDC Flagbearer John Dramani Mahama has appeared late for a court proceeding, which was scheduled for 9:30 am.
The first time, which was January 19, 2021, none of the lawyers were in court when the Chief Justice inquired about the legal representation of the petitioner.
It was the NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia who jumped to their rescue and explained that they were at the registry filing for a review of the interrogatories ruling.
This time, Mr Tsikata’s lateness was attributed to Accra’s sometimes disturbing traffic situation. One of the petitioner’s lawyers, Tony Lithur informed the apex court of the development.
But Justice Anin Yeboah refused to make an exception this time.
“The official time is 9:30 am, and your lead counsel is not here. We can’t rise and wait for him to come before we start proceedings,” the CJ said sternly.
After a back-and-forth, the Chief Justice asked the petitioner’s lawyer Tony Lithur to go ahead with his submission for the day (Tuesday).
Mr Tsatsu, however, arrived at 9:55 am when the judges rose to take a decision on the various processes filed by his team.
The seven-member panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, however, adjourned the case, giving the petitioner’s another grace period to file their witness statements.
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.
The case is set to continue on January 28, 2021.
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
4. A stay of proceedings on an ongoing election petition on January 21, 2021
5. A review of the interrogatories ruling by the Supreme Court on January 25, 2021
The NDC presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, on December 30, last year, filed a petition against the Electoral Commission and the New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo over the December 7 elections.
The NDC Flagbearer had argued that the results that saw the NPP Flagbearer being declared as winner of the polls was characterised with a number of illegalities.
Fast forward, the NDC later realised an error in the petition filed at the apex court and asked for an amendment.
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.