General News of Monday, 31 December 2012
Source: Daily Guide
Details are emerging about the petition filed by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the Supreme Court to challenge the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as president-elect after the December 7 and 8 general elections.
The document has NPP presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and NPP Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey as the petitioners.
President John Dramani Mahama, in his personal capacity as presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Electoral Commission (EC), the body that supervised the December general elections have been cited as respondents in the suit.
The petitioners are praying the highest court of the land to declare that “John Dramani Mahama was not validly elected president of the Republic of Ghana.” They also want the court to declare that “Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the first petitioner herein, rather was validly elected President of the Republic of Ghana,” as well as “Consequential orders as this court may deem fit.”
But the filing of the court process at the Supreme Court which ordinarily could have been done by a law clerk, took three lawyers to do, to make sure that everything was in order.
Even before the three lawyers, Kwaku Asirifi, Godfred Yeboah Dame and Egbert Faibille Jnr. got to the court, national security operatives were all over the place and the lawyers had to devise a means to outwit them.
They also had to outsmart journalists who had besieged the court premises by setting up a decoy while they sneaked to the registry to file the process.
Fearing that some unknown persons might want to snatch the documents from them, they had to make four copies so that in the unexpected event of a commotion at the court, then other copies would be relied on.
The drama was further deepened when in the court’s registry, Victor Kojoga Adawudu, a member of the NDC’s legal team, stormed the room and insisted on witnessing the process being filed by the NPP lawyers.
Mr Adawudu had claimed that he was at the registry as an ‘interested party’ but the NPP lawyers requested that he left the room before they could complete the process.
After a few minutes of heated argument, he left the room reluctantly. The scene was captured on video and is now being circulated around town.
When journalists enquired from him why he entered the office, he said, “I went in because my party the NDC will definitely be an interested party. I wanted to see what the process was or what was going on.”
The grounds on which the NPP are basing their case are that “there were diverse and flagrant violations of the statutory provisions and regulations governing the conduct of the election which substantially and materially affected the results of the elections as declared by the Electoral Commission on December 9, 2012.”
The NPP claimed that the EC permitted voting to take place in many polling stations without prior biometric verification by the presiding officers of the election or their assistants contrary to regulation 30(2) of CI 75.
They said the irregularities were deliberate, well calculated and executed between John Mahama and the EC, leading to illegal votes of 1,342,845.
The petitioners averred that “at the conclusion of the election, the second respondent herein, acting through its chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, who was at all material times the Returning Officer for the December 2012 presidential elections, returned John Dramani Mahama, the first respondent herein, as having been validly elected president of the Republic of Ghana.
“Thereafter, on 11th December 2012, the Declaration of President-Elect Instrument, 2012 (C. I. 80) was published under the hand of Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the Chairman of the second Respondent.”
STL & Strong Room
According to the petitioners, “prior to the December 2012 elections, the second respondent, with the aim of assuring all stakeholders of the transparency and integrity of the process by which it received declaration of voting results from the constituencies, invited, on different occasions, regional executives of registered political parties to the ‘Strong Room’ of the 2nd Respondent, where such results were received; and it was further explained to them that all the results would all be received through the faxes installed in the ‘Strong Room’ directly from its officials from the regions or districts and that there could be no opportunity for tampering with the results before same were received in the ‘Strong Room’.”
Petitioners said “however, that on 8th December 2012, while provisional results of ballots cast in polling stations were being declared and voting was still underway in some polling stations, it came to the notice of some members of the public that the offices of Superlock Technologies Limited (STL), a security installation and Information Technology (IT) company, was receiving the results of the elections before transmitting same to 2nd Respondent in its ‘Strong Room’.”
According to the petitioners, a team of NPP leaders, led by Yaw Osafo Maafo, went to the premises of STL and confronted the officials of the company in the presence of the media and police officers, whereupon the STL officials said that 2nd Respondent was their client with whom they had an agreement to provide IT services by, among others, receiving all results of votes cast and faxed from the regional offices of the 2nd Respondent before transmitting same to the ‘Strong Room’ of 2nd Respondent.
“This encounter, including the said response of the said STL officials, was broadcast live by the electronic media to the general public,” the petitioners averred.
The petitioners said “this arrangement of 2nd Respondent with STL was made without the knowledge of either the petitioners’ party or the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), to which NPP belongs and where all matters concerning elections were discussed,” adding, “This secret arrangement and concealment provided opportunity for tampering with the results of the elections.”
According to the petitioners, some time before the December 2012 elections, the Chairman of 2nd Respondent informed Parliament when he appeared before it that 2nd Respondent had registered some one million (1, 000,000) voters, who had not been assigned to any polling station, even though the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012, (C. I. 72) required that registration of voters shall be carried out in designated polling stations, known for that purpose as registration centres.
They averred that after 2nd Respondent had conducted its biometric registration exercise, announced to the public that the provisional number of voters registered was a little less than thirteen million (13,000,000) and that after cleaning the provisional register and verifying same, it would publish the final number of registered voters.
Surprisingly and contrary to legitimate expectation, when 2nd Respondent posted the final total number of registered voters on its website, the number inexplicably increased by over one million (1,000,000).
The petitioners said that on or about 26th September 2012, that is some forty-two (42) days before the presidential election scheduled for 7th December 2012, the 2nd Respondent, acting through its Chairman, officially announced the total number of polling stations to be employed in conducting both the presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2012 as twenty-six thousand and two (26,002).
This was ostensibly to ensure transparency, fairness and integrity of the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, and to comply with Regulation 16 of C.I.74., which prohibited the establishment of a new polling station within forty-two (42) days of an election.
The petitioners further said that the total number of registered voters that the 2nd respondent furnished petitioners’ party, the NPP with, was fourteen million and thirty-one thousand, six hundred and eighty (14,031,680).
Subsequently, it came to the notice of the petitioners that the 2nd respondent had on Sunday, 9th December 2012, declared the total number of registered voters as 14,158,890.
Furthermore, on the same date, 2nd Respondent posted on its website the total number of registered voters as 14,031,793 showing a clear disparity of 127,097.
The petitioners said that “the 2nd respondent inordinately delayed in furnishing the petitioners’ party (NPP) with the final voters’ register until just a few days before the December 2012 elections, which conduct prevented the NPP from scrutinizing the said register and thereby contributed substantially to undermining the transparency, fairness and integrity of the December 2012 elections.
“Although a common register was compiled for both the presidential and parliamentary elections, it turned out, from the results declared by the 2nd respondent, that the total number of registered voters in respect of the presidential elections exceeded that of the registered voters for the parliamentary elections by one hundred and twenty-seven thousand, two hundred and ten (127,210) voters.”
According to the petitioners, they would contend that “the total number of registered voters ought to be the same for both the presidential and parliamentary elections and further that there could not lawfully be different total registered voters for the presidential and parliamentary elections.”
The petitioners stated that the EC recorded that President Mahama had 5,574,761 representing 50.70 percent while Nana Akufo-Addo had 5,248,896, representing 47.74.
“Petitioners say the invisible sleight of hand, which transmogrified the total number of registered voters from fourteen million and thirty-one thousand six hundred and eighty (14,031,680) as provided to the NPP by the 2nd Respondent to fourteen million one hundred and fifty-eight thousand eight hundred and ninety (14,158,890) remains completely inexplicable to date,” they averred.