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Opinions of Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Columnist: Bomfeh, James

Ghana cannot be errors!

AS TONY LITO SUGGESTS

Finally, the petition challenging the validity of the election H.E John
Mahama as president in the 2012 presidential election is being heard.
Courtesy the administrative directive of the Her Ladyship Justice Theodora
Georgina Wood, the Chief Justice, we are following proceedings live in our
homes, offices and even in our cars. Kudos to Her Ladyship! Atleast she has
shown that she has a listening ear to public appeal in that regard.

The Petitioners took two days to state their case in court. We are on the
fourth day of cross examination from the first respondent awaiting the
cross examination from the second and third respondents. It is interesting
really how long this respondent alone is going to take to cross examine.
Well the dons of the Law are at post so all we can do is to watch events as
they unfold. No wonder, the Justices of the Supreme Court have themselves
time and again expressed worry over how long this respondent alone is going
to take to cross examine in view of the fact that this petition must be
expeditiously dealt with.

Watching proceedings on TV, two things have become clear of what Tony Lito
seeks to do in his attempt to throw off petitioners’ case. Tony Lito
suggests that the figures Bawumia and his team worked with are conjectures.
In cases where he does not suggest conjectures, he postulates the
acceptance of “Administrative Errors” to form the basis of determining the
true will and aspirations of the people of the Republic of Ghana.

Interestingly, one of the main reasons advanced by opponents of the
presidential petition even before it was filed was that the issues it
raises based on which Petitioners intended to go to court were not new to
us in Ghana. I was ashamed and felt scandalized as a Ghanaian when I heard
that argument from very senior people in political circles, the academia
and even religious leaders. Today I am even more outraged that the same
suggestion has found its way in the Supreme Court of Ghana falling from the
lips of an official of the Law.

Are we in Ghana ready to accept any suggestion, regardless its source that
we have been choosing our leaders politically resulting from administrative
errors? That we make Laws, flout them and accept whatever results from
flouting them as the norm? That we appoint an overseer of elections and yet
we must be held responsible for the irresponsibility(ies) of the appointed
overseer? Are we ERRORS to produce leaders by ERRORS?

As far as I am concerned, the must watch cross examination is that of the
Electoral Commission who has the challenge of responding to the gravamen of
the Presidential Petition before the Supreme Court today. The gravamens of
the issues are Constitutional and Statutory non compliance, electoral
malpractices and voting irregularities. So we patiently wait that day.

I maintain that this petition, if for nothing at all, has done or will do
the following; Demystify Afari Djan and EC as though what they say cannot
be challenged; When the EC attempts to or actually subverts the will of the
people, we do not need to pick up arms to reverse it. The Courts offer a
better platform for redress; Exposed the weakness in our Constitution in
dealing with the challenge of the validity of the election of the president
incongruous as it may be where the very CJ who swears the president in may
have to head the bench that hears the contest of his election. An amendment
is thus imperative in that regard with timelines clearly given; Alerted
Political Parties and Political Activists to the possibility of arm/figure
twisting, hence more carefulness needed, going forward; Deepening our
confidence in the Elections thereby enhancing the frontiers of the
Democratic path we chose to travel since 1992. 3. Exposed the weakness in
our Constitution in dealing with the challenge of the validity of the
election of the president incongruous as it may be where the very CJ who
swears the president in may have to head the bench that hears the contest
of his election. An amendment is thus imperative in that regard with
timelines clearly given.
4. Alerted Political Parties and Political Activists to the possibility of
changing hands and figures therefore more carefulness would be needed going
forward.
5. It is deepening our confidence in the Electoral System thereby enhancing
the frontiers of the Democratic path we chose to travel since 1992.