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General News of Wednesday, 10 February 2021


Rundown of Mettle-Nunoo's feisty encounter with Supreme Court justices, EC lawyer

Rojo Mettle-Nunoo is a witness in the 2020 election petition play videoRojo Mettle-Nunoo is a witness in the 2020 election petition

If Jean Mensa’s “impending” cross-examination is the grand finale then Mettle-Nunoo’s was the perfect curtain-raiser. It was explosive, feisty and from a journalist, perspective loaded with interesting soundbites.

Prior to its commencement, it was anticipated that drama will unfold during the cross-examination of Asiedu Nketia and Jean Mensa but the General’s exercise ended with little to laugh or be excited about owing to the insistence by the counsels for the first and second respondents and the judges for him to stick by the rules whenever he attempted to release one his trademark cheeky responses.

As if by divine intervention, Mettle-Nunoo who was initially not on the list of witnesses came in at the eleventh hour and gave Ghanaians a stimulating experience.

His seemingly abrasive approach did not go unnoticed as lawyer for the Electoral Commission, Justin Amenuvor after series of preliminary questions ‘put it’ to him that he had temperamental issues and that’s what he exhibited at the EC office and before the seven-member panel.

His preference for long and detailed responses to questions drew the ire of the one of the judges who accused him of ‘talking too much’ and asked Tsatsu Tsikata, the counsel for the petitioner to coach him on how he should answer the questions.

In case you missed the showdown, below is a list of the major issues that emanated from Mettle-Nunoo’s cross-examination.

You talk too much

The word summary appeared not to exist in Nunoo-Mettle’s dictionary as he offered lengthy responses to almost every question he was asked.

Justice Apau, a member of the panel, who could no longer stomach Mettle-Nunoo’s penchant for long explanations scolded him that: "at times you talk too much."

Allow me to answer the questions

The first exchange that ensued between Mettle-Nunoo and Lawyer Amenuvor – counsel of the EC – was over the former’s certification of the Ashanti Regional collation sheet.

Lawyer Amenuvor quizzed Mettle-Nunoo on whether he conceded to making a mistake by signing the sheet.

Mettle Nunoo replied: “My Lords, I have indicated that I made a mistake on the Ashanti summary sheet declaration in the EC’s strong room for very specific reasons.”

Mr. Amenuvor came in again with another question saying “When did you…?” but Rojo interjected saying “I haven’t finished answering the question please…Am I not permitted to elaborate on that?

“I am not arguing with you, I am not arguing with my Lords, I am saying you have to give me a fair opportunity to answer the question as the witness, I must be given a fair opportunity to answer the question.”

You’re not the chief examiner here

Unlike the two earlier witnesses who were comparatively calm and did not give Lawyer Amenuvor much headache, Mettle-Nunoo proved a hard nut to crack for the EC lawyer.

Whereas Asiedu Nketia or Kpessa Whyte would have said ‘yes my Lord’ and answer with a tone of politeness, Mettle-Nunoo appeared to have always have a justification for his actions.

In one instance, Lawyer Amenuvor accused Mettle-Nunoo of failing at his job of securing Mahama’s figures from the regional collation centres and he sharply rejected it.

“Your witness statement and evidence that you have given is a bad explanation for the bad job that you did for the petitioner,” Amenuvor stated

Mettle-Nunoo replied “You’re being judgmental. I was performing a function and I’m supposed to protect the interest of my candidate, my presidential candidate and I did it based on my knowledge…”

The lawyer still insisted, arguing that the witness failed at his job and had to lie to the petitioner and party faithfuls to cover his shortcomings. The witness did not seem to take kindly to the lawyer’s insistence and insinuations.

He thus retorted, “that’s not correct, you’re not the chief examiner here.”

I have no temperament issues

After connecting some incidents in previous elections involving Mettle-Nunoo and some happenings at the EC strongroom in the 2020 elections, Lawyer Amenuvor sought to push Mettle-Nunoo into admitting that he is quick-tempered.

Mettle-Nunoo responded: “I have a temperament for fairness, a temperament for wanting to tell the truth and fighting for what is right.”

I was sacked from EC’s strongroom

For what is known, Mettle-Nunoo and his compatriot, Kpessa Whyte were instructed by the EC chair to have a word with petitioner John Dramani Mahama on the day of the declaration of the result.

But before that, there was a sacking. Mettle-Nunoo told the court that he left the EC’s strongroom on three occasions.

The first was an axing by the EC chair. Second was to have a meeting with her in her office and the third is the one already in the public space.

“I left the strong room when the EC sacked me from the strong room. That was the first time I left the room. The EC sacked me from the strong room. It has never happened before. In previous elections, I stayed there for 72 hours.

“I left the strongroom the second time to seek an audience with the electoral commissioner. It was somewhere between 3 o’clock and 4 o’clock,” he added.

I was offered tea without biscuit

Mettle-Nunoo in recounting why he left the room for the second time, disclosed in a response to a question by lawyer Amenuvor that he was served with just tea.

Lawyer Amenuvor had sought to establish if he was given tea and biscuit. To which replied “I was offered tea, I wasn’t offered any biscuit.”

That reply has since become the biggest highlight of his testimony for those who have analysed it with a sense of humour.

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