General News of Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Nana Vrs Mahama: NPP Fight Begins

The Supreme Court will tomorrow begin a hearing into whether or not the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) should be joined in the petition filed by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), challenging the validity of the just-ended general elections which the Electoral Commission (EC) said President John Dramani Mahama won.

The court is to hear whether NDC’s application to join the case should be upheld or thrown out.

The landmark case will attract the attention of Ghanaians with the court trying to regulate traffic in the courtroom during the hearing.

Owing to this, a process of accreditation has been put in place, with journalists being asked to come for accreditation to avoid congestion and proper identification.

The court action was initiated on December 28, 2012 by the NPP presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the party’s Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey as the petitioners.

President Mahama, in his personal capacity as presidential candidate of the NDC, and the EC, the body that supervised the December general elections, have been cited as respondents in the case.

The Petitioners are praying the highest court of the land to declare that “John Dramani Mahama was not validly elected president of the Republic of Ghana.”

They also want the court to declare that “Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 1st petitioner herein, rather was validly elected President of the Republic of Ghana,” as well as “Consequential orders this court may deem fit.”

The petitioners said Nana Akufo-Addo’s votes were unlawfully reduced while President Mahama’s were illegally padded.

As the highest court of the land was preparing itself to hear the petition, the NDC filed an application for a ‘joinder’, asking the court to admit them as respondents in the case because they are an interested party.

But the petitioners, on January 4, 2013, responded vehemently to the NDC’s move, urging the court not to allow the ruling party to be part of the matter.

An affidavit in opposition, sworn to by one of the petitioners, Nana Akufo-Addo, said that “following the filing of the petition, the petitioners were on 2nd January 2013 served with an application by the NDC to be joined as a respondent to this suit and the petitioners are opposed to same.”

The petitioners averred that the purported basis preferred by the applicant (NDC) for the ‘joinder’ is that it was the party on whose ticket the first respondent (President Mahama) contested the presidential elections and was declared elected, and that it had a direct interest and stake in the matter and would be affected by any decision of the court.

Nana Akufo-Addo averred that in the petition they filed, they are not seeking any reliefs against the applicant (NDC) nor are they making any allegation against the NDC in the petition.

“That I further say the applicant is not a citizen of Ghana and does not qualify to contest the presidential election under the constitution and further that the applicant did not take part in the election, the outcome of which is being challenged.

“That I further say that even though the 1st respondent (President Mahama) contested the election on the ticket of the applicant (NDC), he nonetheless did so as an individual and as citizen of Ghana,” Nana Akufo-Addo averred further.

He said, “I am advised by counsel and verily believe same to be true that by virtue of Article 64 (1), it is the validity of the election of the 1st respondent (President Mahama) that is being challenged.”

He averred that by virtue of Rule 71 B, the ‘respondent’ in an election petition includes the person whose election is being challenged and the EC whose conduct the petitioner complains, and accordingly any person seeking to be joined must demonstrate that it is a necessary party for the determination of the petition.

“That I say that though the first respondent contested the presidential election and was declared elected President on the ticket of the applicant, the applicant is not a necessary party for the determination of this petition and further that applicant may choose to be a witness for first respondent.”

He averred that Ghanaians who voted in the December 2012 presidential elections have a direct interest and stake in the outcome of the petition but are not entitled any more than the applicant to be joined as a party to the petition.

“That I am advised, in the circumstance, and verily believe same to be true that this application for joinder is without merit and brought in bad faith, with the sole purpose of causing undue delay to the determination of this petition, which is of both national and international interest and which the rules of this court require to be heard expeditiously.”