Politics of Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Ahafo Ano North in the Ashanti Region, Mr Richard Akuoko-Adiyia, has filed a petition at the Kumasi High Court challenging the declaration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Mr Akwasi Adusei, as winner of the 2012 parliamentary election in the constituency.
This is the first legal challenge to the 2012 parliamentary elections to be mounted from the camp of the NPP.
Last Saturday, the NPP Communications Director, Nana Akomea, hinted on Joy FM that the party would challenge the parliamentary results in 38 constituencies alongside the presidential election, which is already before the Supreme Court.
Chief State Attorney in charge of the Ashanti Region, Mr William Kpobi, confirmed in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday that his outfit had been served with the petition.
The respondents in the case are the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney General's Department, Kumasi.
Mr Akuoko-Adiyia, through his lawyers, Owusu Bempah Law Chambers, is seeking a declaration that the irregularities practised by the EC officials who were in charge of elections in the constituency affected the authenticity of the elections and therefore rendered the outcome null and void.
The petitioner is also praying the court for any other reliefs that it would deem fit.
In his statement of claim, Mr Akuoko-Adiyia said the elections were regulated by the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 and the Representation of the People Law, 1992 (PNDCL 284).
Besides, C.I. 75, among other things, set the rules by which the elections were to be conducted.
According to the statement, to ensure free arid fair elections, various pre-designed sheets were issued out by the EC to gather data for verification and authentication of results from each polling station where elections were held.
The returning officer in the constituency was to fill and sign the sheets which would be countersigned by candidates contesting the election or their agents.
"The purpose of the sheets was principally to serve as accounting and auditing mechanisms in order to ensure compliance with electoral rules and fairness to all the candidates," the statement said. It said the EC officials in the constituency in "flagrant disregard for the rules, regulations and guidelines governing the election, either by deliberate conduct or circumstances that can best be explained by them, did not properly account for ballots issued to various polling stations, thus occasioning a serious irregularity."
The statement further indicated that 835 ballots were not accounted for in 17 polling stations in the constituency because of the widespread irregularities.
It said the elections were also held without biometric verification in three polling stations in contravention of electoral laws as contained in C.1. 75.
The irregularities, according to the statement, affected the authenticity and credibility of the declared results, which gave Mr Adusei 18,841 votes as against 18,418 by the petitioner.