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Opinions of Saturday, 19 January 2013

Columnist: Allotey, Henry Kpakpo

How The Supreme Court Shall Decide NPP Case!

1. First, the Court must determine if indeed, there was an error in the election results announced by the EC. That is whether NPP has any evidence of inaccuracy in the results from the polling stations and the results that were transmitted to the EC headquarters.

2. If the Court finds that there was no error, the case must be dismissed. If any error is found (meaning NPP was able to present some evidence of inaccuracy in the results), the Court must determine if the evidence is credible. In doing this, the Court must take into account that the NDC also won the parliamentary elections, and overwhelmingly and decisively too without challenge by the NPP. CLEARLY, the NPP is not challenging the parliamentary results because they were declared right at the constituency collation centres before any results were transmitted to the EC headquarters, when they were supposedly altered in favour of John Mahama and NDC.

3. In examining the credibility of the evidence, the Court may also consider whatever might be the incentives for the whole of the EC, especially, its chairman to connive with the NDC. The Court may invite the returning officers from the constituencies where NPP is alleging results were tampered to give evidence. CREDIBILITY OF WHATEVER EVIDENCE NPP MAY HAVE IS CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT IN THIS MATTER.

4. If there is evidence, but it is not credible, the case must be dismissed. If the evidence is found to be credible, the Court must evaluate the error to determine if it is significant enough to change the EC’s announcement that John Mahama has been elected as President of Ghana. In law, there is something called “harmless error.” Their determination later doesn’t change the decisions that were previously made upon them. THERE IS NOT A CLEAR OR AN UNDISPUTABLE CASE THAT GHANAIANS DECIDED TO ELECT A PRESIDENT BUT NOT GIVE HIMMAJORITY SEATS IN PARLIAMENT. It is most likely that Ghanaians are electing a President with majority of members in Parliament and this situation is only being disputed only because NPP is challenging the part of the results that is challengeable. AS EXPLAINED EARLIER, THERE IS NO CHANCE AT ALL FOR THEM TO CHALLENGE THE PARLIAMENTARY RESULTS. THEY WERE DECLARED THERE AND THEN IN FRONT OF ALL THE CANDIDATES.

5. If the Court finds that there was, or were some error(s), and they are credible, but harmless, the case must be dismissed. If the error or errors are found to be significant and could have changed the results somehow, the Court must find if the right figures could have tilted the results in favour of Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP. The Court must at this stage consider the parliamentary results as well and consider if NPP is challenging them as well.

6. Assuming the Court finds all the above in favour of NPP, which I DOUBT VERY MUCH WILL HAPPEN (that NPP has adduced sufficient, credible, and harmful errors that although NDC has won the parliamentary elections overwhelmingly and decisively, they did not win the presidential elections as announced by the EC and confirmed by various local and international independent observers and the private media), the Court will still have to contend with issues such as the mood of Ghanaians in terms of maintaining or disturbing the peace.

7. If by adding all the accurate figures, the Court thinks Nana Akufo Addo and NPP have won the elections, the Court must consider whether an order to declare Nana Addo as the President elect and subsequently swear him in would make Ghana governable for the next 4 years in light of NPP’s minority in Parliament and the public perception that the judiciary is heavily leaning towards the NPP.

8. If the Court finds that the figures could only push the two contending parties into a second round, the Court must take into account the monetary cost and destabilization of the country in ordering for a run-off which is most likely to be won by the person that has already been declared by the EC and confirmed by all observers except NPPists. IT SHALL BE A MIRACLE FOR GHANAIANS TO ELECT NANA ADDO IN ANY RUN-OFF THAT MAY BE ORDERED BY A COURT IN GHANA IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE ARE PRESENTLY IN, AND ALSO BECAUSE NDC ALREADY HAS AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT. Except to a section of NPP supporters, the rest of Ghanaians are seeing NPP as arrogant and pushing this matter too hard. I AM NOT AGAINST THE COURT ACTION, THOUGH.

9. The Supreme Court may also consider that the congratulatory messages from some of the most powerful nations to President Mahama and Ghana may have come after thorough consultations with their missions in Ghana. Perhaps, the missions told their home countries that there is always this kind problem in Ghana if NPP loses elections. Though the purpose for the messages could also have been that they do not wish to see Ghana break into violence and mayhem, I DOUBT VERY MUCH IF THESE COUNTRIES HAVE NOT FOLLOWED THE 2012 ELECTIONS CLOSELY. It seems to me that they have followed the elections and they have full confidence in the electoral system and the EC. So the Supreme Court will have to contend with this matter as well in deciding the matter.

10. FINALLY for now, the Supreme Court’s own credibility is at stake. Over the years, there is heavy public perception both in Ghana and abroad that the judiciary is leaning towards NPP and the NPP could manipulate the courts anyhow to their advantage. In an election, which the EC has declared a winner, who has been acclaimed by all observers as the winner; who is affable and respectful; who most Ghanaians are comfortable with, and who leaders of the world have accepted and congratulating, only NPP is contesting because the result was very close. Prior to the elections, NPP had indicated in several ways that the party could not lose the elections unless the election is flawed. In the middle of the elections, they had declared themselves as the winner but were stopped by civil society led by the National Peace Council. Then they attempted to stop the EC from declaring the results when it was all over. BUT AFTER they had been ignored, they somehow, have created the impression that they are allies with the judiciary and the Supreme Court will overturn the EC’s decision. THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SUPREME COURT IS ALSO VERY MUCH AN ISSUE IN THIS CASE.

Henry Kpakpo Allotey

kpakpogh@yahoo.com 0243370764