President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described the Supreme Court election petition judgment as one that was well reasoned and excellent.
The president said this with a contented smile at the judges seated in Parliament during his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday.
As an advice to those who were not excited about the final ruling, he said to look past the verdict and move on.
“The Supreme Court, for example, last week determined the challenge to the validity of the 2020 presidential election, and affirmed its validity in a unanimous decision.”
In a fashion reminiscent of a victorious John Mahama after the election petition of 2013, President Akufo-Addo blew his own trumpet about the legitimacy of his election.
“The Court has spoken. It is time for all of us to move on, and, in a united manner, confront the problems of post-COVID Ghana,” President Akufo-Addo said amidst boos and cheers from a divided house.
Supreme Court ruling
The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision dismissed the 2020 election petition filed by the NDC Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama.
The seven-member panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah, said the petition challenging the declaration of the NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo as the winner of the polls, failed to meet the legal threshold.
The ruling which is the longest yet in the Supreme Court took almost 2 hours to deliver.
The court pointed out that the petitioner, John Mahama, failed to provide any evidence to prove that the declaration by the EC boss Jean Mensa was rigged with errors.
The CJ was of the view that the petitioner’s team led by Tsatsu Tsikata has not presented any data to counter the figures announced by the EC Chairperson on December 9, 2020, as total valid votes.
In the judgement read, citing various authorities, the CJ said if the petitioner’s team had presented figures to prove that the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo did not meet the legal threshold, all the reliefs sought would have been granted.
The CJ added that the said unilateral errors made by the EC Chairperson Jean Mensa had no bearing on the matter before the court.
“We are however satisfied from the evidence on record that the figures announced as representing the valid votes obtained by the respective candidates were right and represented the will of the voters.
“We therefore hold that the error committed by the Chairperson of the first respondent cannot void the declaration, which actually announced the true wishes of the voters.
“To hold otherwise will mean that errors in statement and numbers committed by the Chairperson of the first respondent in an election, which do no impact on the outcome of the result, could nullify the actual result,” as contained in the unanimous decision.
The Chief Justice further said the testimonies of the three petition witnesses (NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, representatives in the EC strong room Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte and Robert Joseph Rojo Mettle-Nunoo) were of no relevance to the petition.
The three witnesses, according to the panel, failed to prove to the court the said illegalities that characterised the December 7 election.
According to the panel, the representatives of the NDC flagbearer in the EC strong room basically neglected their duties to oversee happenings in the National Collation Centre.
It was the view of the court that once the representatives signed the regional collation sheets, there was no basis for the complaints.
Justice Yeboah also mentioned that the evidence before the court confirms that the second respondent Nana Akufo-Addo indeed satisfied the 51 per cent threshold, as per the constitution, with the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South results.
In effect, the petitioner failed to provide evidence to show that the NPP candidate did not meet the 50 plus benchmark.
Why was the petition filed?
The petition filed by the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Dramani Mahama challenged the 2020 election results, which was declared in favour of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Akufo-Addo.
In the election petition filed on December 30, 2020, the first respondent (1st) was the Electoral Commission (EC), with the second respondent (2nd) being President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Former President Mahama said none of the 12 presidential candidates attained the 50 plus one mark for the Electoral Commission (EC) to declare a winner.
Although the EC said the NPP presidential candidate got 51.59 per cent of the votes against Mahama’s 47.37 per cent, the petitioner insists that was not a true reflection of the December 7 polls.
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