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Opinions of Friday, 2 August 2013

Columnist: Sayibu, Akilu

Are we in court for justice or peace?

I have been monitoring comments and programmes since “The battle of evidence” on the Presidential election came to an end some weeks ago. Some individuals and organisations have fast-forwarded the discourse of the election petition to peace.
I have no problem at all with the incessant calls for peace but we need to come to the realisation quickly that the current election petition is about Justice. The petitioners are in Court to prove that Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo won the 2012 elections and is therefore asking for the right thing to be done.
It is left with the Justices to determine whether the voluminous and convincing evidence that the petitioners presented to the Supreme Court is enough to turn the verdict.We all watched the live telecast of the case and saw what transpired. We sure will have to leave the Justices to determine a winner.
It is however interesting that whilst the petitioners were able to submit substantial evidence in the form of pink sheets, the primary document of the elections they are disputing, none of the respondents submitted any evidence to dispute any pink sheet.
All they did was talk about alleged mislabelling and duplications as well as triplications of pink sheets which the petitioners submitted to back their claims of over-voting, non-signing of pink sheets by Presiding Officers, voting without biometric verification and triplicate as well as quadruplicate serial numbers.
Whilst the respondents claim they did not receive the number of pink sheets which the petitioners filed at the registry of the Supreme Court and called for an independent auditing, they still, even failed to go for the rest of the pink sheets when the KPMG count proved the petitioners filed over 13,000 pink sheets in the Court.
The irony strangely is that even up to the time of typing this article, nobody in Ghana knows how many pink sheets the respondents received!
It is good that the President, whose presidency is an issue at the Supreme Court, and the Petitioners have all made public comments to the effect that they will accept any outcome that the Supreme Court will give in the coming days.
If those who are the main players in the case are saying they will accept the verdict, the rest of us should not have any option than to remain calm when any verdict is given to enlist justice for all in the country.
I know the importance and the need for peace for development and will vouch for it any day. I also know what the absence of justice can do to any society and will equally opt for it any day.
Our current cross-road situation should be appreciated and understood very well. Managing peace and justice is a delicate issue but history has shown all of us that it is the absence of justice that usually mars the peace of a society.
Whilst we continue to talk to our people to remain calm and accept the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling, my suggestion is that we should educate the people on the essence of justice and the threat its absence can pose to all of us.
May I conclude by thanking the petitioners, especially Nana Akuffo Addo, for choosing the option of going to Court rather than inciting the over 5million voters who voted for him to cause mayhem in Ghana.
He has demonstrated beyond doubt that he is a man of peace. I agree with suggestions that he should be given a Nobel Peace Award for keeping Ghana together at a time a single negative word from him would have landed Ghana into devastating chaos.
Let’s all be proud to be Ghanaians. I wish you the very best in all you are doing now. Bye.
Akilu Sayibu

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