General News of Wednesday, 9 January 2013
The opposition New Patriotic Party has described the Electoral Commission’s response to their petition to the Supreme Court challenging the outcome of the 2012 December elections, as nothing but grammar, which had nothing to say about the details of the case.
Addressing a news conference at the NPP’s Headquarters in Accra on Wednesday January 9, 2013, Party Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey said: “They spend more time and energy debating vocabulary by quoting definitions of adjectives from dictionaries than they spent defending to the Ghanaian people why, despite being funded by the taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions of cedis, they ran an election in which 1 in every 8 votes will have to be thrown out.” Read the full statement below :
9th January 2013 PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NEW PATRTIOTIC PARTY, JAKE OBETSEBI LAMPTEY, ON THE 9TH OF JANUARY 2012 AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE PARTY
We welcome you, ladies and gentlemen of the press, to our maiden press encounter in 2013. We wish you all a blessed and prosperous 2013 and hope that this New Year will see an even better partnership between us in helping to deepen our democracy.
Today, we’d like to provide you with an update on NPP’s recent activities in pursuit of justice and the status of the petition brought before the Supreme Court of Ghana by three distinguished members of our party.
We undertake this battle of justice – not merely for the more than 5 million people who voted for our party, and certainly not for the glory of our Presidential candidate – but on behalf of all Ghanaians, including those yet unborn, and indeed Africans from across the continent who are watching our case and looking to Ghana to pave the way forward. Our nation has always been at the forefront of democratic change and political progress, and we are confident that the wisdom and foresight of our justices will make our beacon of democracy shine even brighter.
It is very important that everyone understand that the election, the inauguration, and the Supreme Court case are linked together by our Constitution. And so long as we follow the letter of the law in our Constitution, these 3 events cannot be separated. They are linked together by the rule of law.
The 1992 Constitution, in its wisdom, fully envisioned the possibility of a disputed election. It foresaw a circumstance where those in power and desperate to hang on to it would conspire to violate the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people.
As such, the Constitution allows a provision to challenge that fraud in the Supreme Court of Ghana. Article 64 states that a challenge petition must be filed within 21 days of the electoral result being officially announced, and of course that is what we did at the end of last month. The next steps in the Constitutional process are the replies of the respondents; namely the EC and John Mahama, who was the beneficiary of the malpractices. The EC reply was entered on Monday afternoon and made public yesterday, and I shall discuss it shortly. We await the reply of the President today so that the Supreme Court can get down to business and begin hearing testimony and evaluating evidence.
The framers of the 1992 Constitution fully envisioned a President being declared the winner of an election, a challenge being entered 21 days later, and just a week after that, the inauguration taking place on the basis of the original declaration. Thus, the court case to determine the validity of the challenge, and therefore of the inauguration itself, takes place – in the evaluating of evidence, calling of witnesses, and deliberations of the justices – after the inauguration has taken place and the President sets about the business of state. However – and this is the most important point that all Ghanaians and in fact the world over must remember at all times – the inauguration is NOT a point of no return.
The specific language states: “A declaration by the Supreme Court that the election of the President is not valid shall be without prejudice to anything done by the President before the declaration. What this means is that the Court can declare, as we are confident that they will do in the interest of justice shortly, that the election of December 7 and 8, when corrected for invalid and fraudulent votes, actually resulted in the victory of Nana Akufo-Addo.
Therefore John Mahama must vacate the Castle and a new inauguration of the proper President must take place immediately. Once in office, President Akufo-Addo will respect whatever laws may have been enacted by his predecessor, no matter how short the duration of the invalidated mandate.
The Ghanaian people expect this constitutional transition to the validly elected president to be smooth, unencumbered and peaceful.
The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of all electoral disputes. And, thanks to the Almighty, they will be able to deliberate in a national environment of peace without any threat of violence whatsoever. Indeed, the many frustrated voters who feel that their sovereign will has been violated have been patient, because they are expecting justice to be done by the Supreme Court.
Essentially, there are 5 main categories that invalidate votes, all of which are drawn from the pinksheets. We have over 24,000 of them, on which we have conducted a painstaking analysis. The 5 categories are:
1. Overvoting 2. Voting w/o verification 3. Lack of EC signature 4. “Ghost” polling stations 5. Mismatching words and numbers
We contend that when all of these 5 categories are combined, over 1 million 342 thousand votes will be invalidated. That is a monstrous sum! Imagine: 1 in every 8 votes declared by the EC were invalid.
Consider that only 300,000 votes separated the 2 candidates in the EC announcement, yet that sum, plus 1,000,000 more, will be invalidated. That is the astonishing and devastating evidence on the pinksheets.
Consider that only 150,000 invalid Mahama votes are required to push him below 50% and therefore force a runoff, yet nearly 6 times that amount have been identified as invalid Mahama votes.
Consider that only 520,000 invalid Mahama votes are required to give Nana Akufo-Addo a 1-touch victory outright, yet nearly double that amount have been identified.
I want all Ghanaians to remember the following numbers: 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 127.
? Let me tell you why they are important:
• 2 – for the over 200,000 invalid votes as a result of no EC signature on the pinksheet • 4 – for the over 400,000 invalid votes cast without verification • 6 – for the over 600,000 invalid votes cast due to overvoting – more votes were recorded than ballots were distributed in a polling station • 8 – 1 in every 8 votes that the EC declared will have to be invalidated • 12 – 12% of the votes were invalid! • 127 – 127,000 voters that the EC says are a “mistake”
Of course, we have based our case on this solid evidence of arithmetic and we will stick to the evidence.
So, how did the EC respond to that evidence? What did they have to say about our numbers: 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 127?
Well, they had nothing to say about the details of the case. They spend more time and energy debating vocabulary by quoting definitions of adjectives from dictionaries than they spent defending to the Ghanaian people why, despite being funded by the taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions of cedis, they ran an election in which 1 in every 8 votes will have to be thrown out. Their document was full of arrogance and irreverence, and offered no justification for the flaws, other than pathetic excuses about signatures not passing through 3 sheets of carbon paper and suggesting that there were nearly a ¼ million voters added to the rolls late because they were foreign service or NGO officials, students abroad on government scholarships, or international peacekeepers.
The EC certainly did not explain why they chose to annul the results of certain polling stations with minor violations of verification or overvoting, yet over 1.3 million were declared valid without any problem.
We look forward to facing the EC in court, backed by 24,000 of their very own pinksheets.
Elections, we insist, are about those who cast the votes and not those who count, record or declare. This case is necessary for renewing public confidence in our elections, hence, our democracy. We have presented before the court what we believe to be incontrovertible evidence that John Mahama did not win the 2012 presidential election and rather that Nana Akufo-Addo won.
We will prove, just from documented evidence from the EC itself, that over 12% (1.34 million) of votes counted were in fact illegal and ought not have been included in the declared total, and that over 2/3 of this sum, numbering some 916,000, wrongly went to John Mahama for an election in which he crossed the mandatory 50% mark by less than 154,000.
We have noticed that the NDC has spent the last few days since we filed our petition attacking not the substance of evidence we have presented in court, but raising by-the-way issues citing the irregularities present in every election. Granted there are minor irregularities in every election what the people of Ghana are saying, by supporting our petition is that, a manipulated total in which 1 in every 8 votes should not have been included cannot be whitewashed with the term “irregularity” and implied to have been simple, isolated, innocent errors. The EC cannot substitute your vote, our votes, with that of an illegal voter called “irregularity”. We don't accept that and cannot accept that.
Elections in Ghana must not be determined by who has the capacity to rig or buy the vote with connivance from some corrupted elements within the body tasked to supervise a clean and fair process. We hope that at the end of this case the Supreme Court will give a ruling that will not only declare Nana Akufo-Addo the rightful winner but will also set in place a process that will lead to reforming the electoral process and secure the fate of our democracy forever.
The evidence is on our side and we believe that when considered by the justices of the Supreme Court, it will be so pronounced.
In conclusion, I would like to state once again that this is not about Nana Akufo-Addo and his Presidential aspiration; it's about our country and its future generations. On behalf of them, we trust the court to do what’s right and we will remain patient and peaceful in anticipation of that justice.
Choosing to petition the Supreme Court in line with our Constitution’s provisions actually reinforces the rule of law and seeks to let justice underpin our peace. It is this path that will bring justice to bear on any grievance. If a grievance festers in the absence of justice, that is the surest way to lead to a disturbance of the status quo and a breach of the peace.
Very often on the African continent, electoral disputes have resulted in armed conflicts and violence. The NPP, coming from one of Africa's oldest democratic traditions, has been committed since its inception to peace and democracy and has chosen to rely on the rule of law and appeal for justice in its action at the Supreme Court. The party should therefore be commended and upheld as a shining example. This case will make or break our democracy, and all of Africa and indeed the world is watching us.
Soon the party leadership will embark on a national tour to thank its supporters for their peaceful conduct and for their patience in anticipation of justice, and for coming out in their numbers to vote for transformation, education, health and jobs and against corruption, incompetence, lies and propaganda. And, Insha Allah, we are very confident that sooner than later the true impact of their vote shall manifest.