Supreme Court unanimously dismisses Mahama’s Election Petition
Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the Election 2020 Petition action brought by former President John Dramani Mahama, saying it was without merit.
The Court said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo indeed obtained the 50 per cent plus one threshold.
The Court said the Petitioner, Mr John Dramani Mahama, could not demonstrate how the alleged errors made by the Electoral Commission affected the declaration of the presidential election results by Mrs Jean A. Mensa.
Former President Mahama wanted the apex court of the land to declare that the declaration made by the EC boss on December 9, 2020 breached the 1992 Constitution.
As such, he was praying the court to annul the results of the 2020 presidential election and order a re-run between him and the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo because of the errors associated with the computation of the EC.
The Court however affirmed that Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo indeed obtained the 50 per cent plus one threshold as stated in the constitution and same was confirmed by the petitioner’s witness in the person of Johnson Asiedu Nketia, NDC General Secretary, during cross examination.
According to the seven-member panel, the EC Chairperson’s errors could also not take away the will of the people.
The two-hour long verbal delivery of the judgement by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah held that the figures announced clearly gave 2nd Respondent (President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo) 6,730,413 votes, representing 51.295 per cent of total valid votes cast.
The apex court ruled that the declaration by the EC did not violate Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
The court noted that the issue of alleged vote padding was a serious one, adding that the Petitioner failed to prove the alleged vote padding with credible evidence.
The Court was of the opinion that even if the impact of vote padding was proven, same would not affect results announced by the EC on December 9, 2020.
“Petitioner did not demonstrate how errors affected declaration and there is no reason to order re-run of the 2020 Presidential Election, the court held.
The Court held that the Petitioner failed to adduce evidence to the effect that none of the presidential candidates including him had more than the 50 percent threshold for the court to call for a run –off between and the petitioner.
It held that even with the inclusion of the Techiman South results of over 128,000, the second respondent (Nana Akufo Addo) still passed the 50 percent threshold plus one.
The Court indicated that corrections effected by the EC were within its mandate and the Chairperson had the right to make changes when the error occurred.
On the issue of witnesses presented by the petitioner, the court described Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia as the star witness in the matter who admitted that they had come to court to judge the EC boss by her own data.
The Court said Mr Johnson Ashiedu Nketia admitted that indeed he did not bring any data of the party to challenge that of the EC when he was subjected to cross-examination.
On the two other witnesses provided by the Petitioner namely Dr Micheal Kpessa Whyte and Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, the court described them as “fanciful” saying “the least said about them the better.”
It said their evidence were of no relevance as their testimonies was based on what transpired in the strong room of the EC and they should have themselves to blamed for leaving the EC strong room.
It noted that no one compelled them to leave the strong room and that they did not let the Flag bearer of their party down but failed Ghana’s democracy.
The Court affirmed one out of the five issues set for trial. That is whether or not the petition discloses any reasonable cause of action.
The SC however rejected four of the issues set out for trial. They include whether or not based on the data of the EC, no candidate obtained more than 50 per cent of the valid votes cast as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
Whether or not the EC still met the Article 63 (30 of the 1992 Constitution threshold by the excluding or including the Techiman South Constituency 2020 Presidential Election results.
Whether or not the vote padding and other errors alleged by the Petitioner affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential polls.
Former President Mahama proceeded to court on the basis that no candidate won the 2020 Presidential Election and, therefore, the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner by the EC Chairperson was “null and void,” unconstitutional and of no legal effect.
He argued that, per the results, no candidate obtained more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
He said the EC Chairperson announced the total valid votes cast as 13,434,574 minus the results of Techiman South, with President Akufo-Addo obtaining 6,730,413, representing 51.59 percent, while he (Mahama) got 6,214,898 representing 47.366 percent.
Mr Mahama said per the figures, the actual percentage for President Akufo-Addo minus Techiman South ought to be 50.098 per cent and not 51.595 per cent as announced by the EC Chair.
He argued that his percentage minus Techiman South should be 46.26 per cent and not 47.366 percent.
Techiman South had a total voting population of 128,018 and if that was added to the total valid votes cast it would be 13,434,574 plus 128,018 (13,562,592), he said.
Mr Mahama said it was erroneous for the EC to state that even if all the votes in Techiman South were added to the Petitioner’s votes, President Akufo-Addo’s votes would still remain the same at 6,730,413, now yielding 49.625 percent whiles his (Petitioner) would increase to 6,324,907, now yielding 46,768 percent.
Accordingly, the EC Boss’s claimed that adding all the 128,018 votes in Techiman South to the votes standing in the name of the Petitioner would not change the results was clearly wrong.
President Akufo-Addo and the EC, in their respective responses, argued that the petition was incompetent, lacked merit and raised no reasonable cause of action.
They contended that the petition did not meet the requirement of a Presidential Elections Petition as stated in Article 64(1) of the 1992 Constitution and same was, therefore, incompetent.
They held that was because the petition made no allegations of infractions in the election at any of the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting centres.
The EC argued further that the petition was incompetent because it did not contest “the lawfulness of votes,” obtained by any candidate at any polling station where the election was held.
It admitted that Mrs Mensa inadvertently read the figure representing the total number of votes cast as the one representing the total valid votes cast and also gave the percentage of the votes garnered by President Akufo-Addo as 51.59 percent instead of 51.295 percent.
It, however, averred that the EC corrected the errors on December 10, 2020, and even stated that “the corrections and clarifications did not affect the overall results as declared.”
The EC, therefore, held that: “Mr Mahama’s deliberate reliance on the figures declared on December 9,2020 to make a case that President Akufo-Addo did not obtain more than 50 per cent of the valid votes cast was misleading, untenable and misconceived.”
President Akufo-Addo said the corrections by the EC on December 9 were done within the powers of the EC and same did not breach any law or statute.
Today’s judgement saw a number of party big wigs from the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party.
Former President Mahama who had abstained from court proceeding, today emerged at the court room.
Soon after delivery of the judgement, second respondent’s lawyers and some NPP big wigs sung in jubilation amidst the waving of white handkerchiefs.
In the case of the petitioner, Mr Abraham Amaliba, a member of the communication team, said Mr Mahama would address the press at 5:00pm at his residence.
Other members of the Supreme Court panel are: Justice Yaw Appau, Justice Samuel Marful-Sau, Prof. Ashie Kotey, Justice Gertrude Torkornu, Justice Mariama Owusu and Nene Amegatcher