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General News of Thursday, 18 April 2013

Source: The Al-Hajj

John Mahama is president, says Bawumia

In what appears to be a marked departure from their previous stands, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the second petitioner challenging the legitimacy of the President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who is also 2012 running mate of the biggest opposition party, have conceded in open court that President John Dramani Mahama was the duly elected president in the December 7 and 8 elections.

Dr. Bawumia stated categorically in open court yesterday that “I know the first respondent as John Dramani Mahama, who was duly elected and declared president by the second respondent, the Electoral Commission (EC)".

The 2012 running mate of the NPP made this profound and revealing statement when he took the witness box to lead evidence on the election petition challenging the legitimacy of President John Mahama.

Interestingly, prior to Dr Bawumia’s pronouncement on the legitimacy of the president, the legal team of the NPP, led by Philip Addison, raised objections on why the lead counsel for President Mahama consistently referred to the first respondent as President.

According to Philip Addison, the petitioners, of which Dr. Bawumia is part, sued the first respondent in his capacity as Mr. John Dramani Mahama, a candidate in the elections and not as President John Dramani Mahama and as such referring to him as President was an affront to the law.

But making nonsense of his own lead counsel’s claim, Dr Bawumia made it clear that the first respondent is indeed the legitimate president, a position that was given more legal strength by the lead counsel to the President, Tony Lithur.

Reacting to an open remark by Philip Addison, which many astute legal luminaries have considered as needless and an attempt to delay court proceedings, Tony Lithur, adducing sections of the 1992 Constitution to educate his learned colleague stated that as of the time the first respondent was sued, he was the president of the republic of Ghana and was duly sworn in as president.

Quoting articles 63 and 64 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, the President’s lead counsel explained, he has not breached any law for referring to his client as President Mahama, especially when it has been explicitly stated in the 1992 Constitution the procedures and parties to be sued in an electoral petition.

Whilst many were in anticipation that the teeming number of NPP lawyers will challenge the President’s lawyer on his position; as has been the practice of the legal team of the petitioners since the hearing of the petition started, they coolly threw in the towel, an indication that they were well schooled on the objection they raised and had taken good lessons from Dr. Bawumia’s wise counsel that President Mahama was the duly elected President.

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