General News of Saturday, 28 September 2013
Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Kweku Baako Jr., says he has some difficulty accepting former President of the Ghana Bar Association, Sam Okudzeto’s analysis of the election petition verdict, which “validated” President John Mahama’s election.
“…My real position is this, see, when the Justices sat there and one of them read the verdict on that fateful day, I doubt if the other 8 did not understand what the presiding Judge had done”, Mr. Baako surmised.
He said when Justice William Atuguba said: “The overall effect was in favour of the first respondent, are we suggesting for a moment that the other 8 did not understand or appreciate what had happened?” He wondered.
Mr. Baako said even though he has his own reservations with the verdict, “…I believe that those 8 other Supreme Court Justices definitely understood what the presiding Judge had read out and definitely had no disagreement with the net effect of what Justice Atuguba had done”.
“…So to be honest with you, I still, am trying very hard to study and appreciate the Okudzeto theory”, Kweku Baako confessed on Saturday.
Sam Okudzeto's Theory
Mr. Okudzeto, at a symposium organised by policy think tank, Danquah Institute on Wednesday September 25, 2013, said his analysis of the 588 pages of the judgment showed the decision went 5-4 in favour of the petitioners.
He, therefore, expressed surprise that the Court ruled in favour of the respondents in the case and validated President John Mahama’s election.
The former GBA President who has been at the bar for over 50 years, said he believes the Presiding Judge, Justice William Atuguba, gave a “wrong” analysis of the judgment.
He explained further that before the commencement of the substantive case, the Supreme Court set out only two issues for determination which were (1) Whether or not there are statutory violations in the nature of omissions, irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of the Presidential Elections held on the 7th and 8th December 2012; and (2) Whether or not the said statutory violations, if any, affected the results of the elections.
According to him, Justices Atuguba, Adinyirah, Gbadegbe and Akoto-Bamfo, dismissed, unanimously, all the six grounds of infractions filed by the petitioners in the court and as such, decided to sustain President Mahama as the duly elected president.
He noted, however, that Justices Ansah, Owusu and Anin-Yeboah were of the opinion that President Mahama wasn’t duly elected, as contained in their judgments.
This, according to him, meant that 4 judges had ruled for John Mahama, whilst 3 had ruled that John Mahama wasn’t duly elected.
“What happened to the other two? This is where the issue becomes dicey,” he noted.
Sam Okudzeto stated that Justice Dotse, in page 405 of the judgment, dismissed the claims of the petitioners with regards to the use duplicate serial numbers, voting without biometric verification, unknown polling stations and duplicate polling station results.
However, Justice Dotse, Sam Okudzeto noted, upheld the claims of the petitioners in the categories of no signatures of presiding officers as well as in over-voting and ordered a re-run of the elections in the affected polling stations.
Touching on Justice Baffoe-Bonnie’s judgment where he dismissed all the claims of the petitioners, Sam Okudzeto stated that Justice Baffoe-Bonnie upheld the petitioners’ claims of voting without biometric verification, and ordered a re-run of the election in the affected polling stations.
Thus, as per the issues set out by the court, Sam Okudzeto noted that it was clear from the judgment that 5 of the Supreme Court judges determined that the irregularities affected the elections whereas 4 of the judges noted that the irregularities did not.
This, in his opinion, established the fact that the judgment handed down by the Supreme Court judges went 5-4 in favour of the petitioners.
Mr. Okudzeto, in a subsequent interview with XYZ News on Thursday September 26, 2013, accused the presiding judge of the nine-member Supreme Court panel that heard the case, Justice William Atuguba, of “misreading" the judgment of his other colleague Justices.
He has come under a lot of flak from the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) for his analysis.
Speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newsfile, on Saturday September 28, 2013, however, Kweku Baako Jr said: “…as of now, I think that this country should live with the verdict that was delivered by the Supreme Court, particularly, when the NPP has accepted it [and] the Petitioners have also accepted it”.
He however noted that it is not strange for academicians to continue “masturbating” on the judgment as an intellectual exercise.