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General News of Thursday, 2 May 2013

Source: NPP Communications Directorate

NPP case stronger after 9 days of pointless cross-examination

The petition of Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, who are seeking to invalidate the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the December 7th Presidential election, seems to have gained more potency after nine days of the cross-examination of the main witness of the petitioners, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

Before the start of the substantive case, there were various indications from the respondents that the petitioners had no case and were only bad losers who could not come to terms with the declaration of John Mahama as the winner of the December elections.

These statements rubbishing the claims of the NPP were not only severally made by elements in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) but were also reinforced by Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari – Djan who is quoted to have told the BBC in an interview in December “they have made only allegations without any substantive evidence…they can go to court, that is part of the electoral law, at this stage that is the only avenue open to them.”

However, after nine days of tireless cross-examination by lawyers of the three respondents in the ongoing case, what has become apparent is that; indeed, the petitioners have a watertight case on the numerous irregularities which affected the conduct and outcome of the December 7th elections.

The petitioners have also backed up their case with several thousand of pink sheets, which are the primary records of the election at the polling stations, detailing various irregularities as is evident on the face of such pink sheets.

With the statements that had been made prior to trial, it was expected by all that the cross-examination of the Petitioners’ main witness was going to expose the frivolity of the petition and as a result, crush the hopes of the petitioners of having the outcome of the elections as declared overturned.

However, instead of destroying the case of the petitioners, what the lawyers of the respondents have ended up doing is accepting variously that the elections were fraught with errors, which they have given many descriptions.

The Counsel for the 1st Respondents began the justifications by suggesting to the court that the irregularities and violations as were evident on the face of the pink sheets were administrative errors. Counsel for the Electoral Commission, James Quarshie-Idun also justified the irregularities by suggesting that they were trans-positional and clerical errors with Counsel for the NDC, Tsatsu Tsikata also going down the same path.

Indeed, with respect to voting without biometric verification, the respondents have fallen over themselves in attempting to justify why it happened, whilst at the same time some of the respondents, particularly the EC, have tried find convenient routes to suggest that there was no incident of voting without biometric verification.

While the Electoral Commission earlier maintained that no voter voted without going through biometric verification, Counsel for the NDC, Tsatsu Tsikata tried to suggest that; indeed people voted without being biometrically verified because such voters were disabled or people without fingers.

Counsel for John Mahama and Counsel for the NDC both also attempted to justify voting without being biometrically verified by indicating that it would be against the constitution to deny registered voters their right to vote because they couldn’t be verified, whilst suggesting in other instances that once the voters were on the voters’ register and once there was no protest at the polling stations, it was right for people to have voted without going through verification.

What is now evident after the examination in chief of the main witness of the petitioner and after the nine days of cross-examination is that indeed on the face of the several thousand pink sheets which are the record of the elections, there were several cases of irregularities in the December 7th Polls.

The respondents by the selection of duplicate pink sheets in the exhibits and attempt to question the work of the Commissioner of oaths with respect to certain exhibits seem to be, therefore, finding appropriate avenues to decrease the numbers in order to prevent the Court from determining that the irregularities materially affected the outcome of the elections.

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