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Akufo-Addo's petition lacks merit - Prez Mahama
From: Ghana | Daily Graphic          Published On: February 28, 2013, 04:57 GMT
 
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Akufo-Addo's petition lacks merit - Prez Mahama

The petitioners, Nana Akufo-Addo and running mate Dr Mahamud Bawumia


President John Dramani Mahama says the petitioners challenging his declaration as winner of the 2012 presidential election have failed to provide evidence of how election results were tampered with.

He said that on February 5, 2013, the Supreme Court ordered the petitioners to provide him with particulars of the nature of the alleged tampering but that they have "refused to do so".

In a response to the amended petition dated February 26, 2013, President Mahama denied any electoral irregularities and accordingly prayed the court to dismiss the entire petition "since it lacks merit."

In a response filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Tony Lithur, the president said that all observers, domestic and international, had acknowledged that, "the conduct of the elections had been generally free, fair, as well as transparent."

In their December 28, 2013 petition, New Patriotic Party (NPP) 2012 flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and party Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey called for the annulment of votes cast in 4,709 polling stations. They amended their petition on January 31, 2013 to allege fraud at 11,916 polling places.

They had initially called for the cancellation of 1,342,845 valid votes cast during the election, citing what they termed, "gross and widespread irregularities" recorded during the elections, but are now praying the Supreme Court to declare an additional 3,327,659 votes invalid.

On January 5, 2013, the Supreme Court granted the petitioners' prayer of amendment, thereby making 11,916 polling stations the official figure in the court's records.

The President's response


According to President Mahama, to the knowledge of the petitioners and their polling agents, results were declared at the various polling stations after "painstaking public and transparent sorting and counting and/or collation (and sometimes recounting) at the various polling stations and collation centres, with the full participation of first petitioner's accredited agents, who did not protest the declared results at the time of their declaration".

He said the "petitioners' allegations are brazen with attempts to find excuses for losing the 2012 presidential election", adding that it was also not true his votes were illegally padded, while those of Nana Akufo-Addo were unlawfully reduced.

The answer to the amended petition also stated that the results declared at all polling stations across the country, as reflected in the pink sheets, were the product of "properly supervised elections in which the petitioners and the NPP, their political party, their polling/or counting agents participated and that in all cases voting was done on the basis of biometric voters register, made available to all political parties prior to the elections".

In response to claims that the EC failed to provide the NPP with the provisional register of voters in accordance with Regulation 21 (2) of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters), Regulation 2012 (C.I. 72), thereby disabling the petitioners and their party from effectively verifying the names on the list to ascertain their authenticity, President Mahama said the EC made available copies of the voters register to the NDC and the NPP.

He accordingly held that, "there was no unequal treatment" on him, the NDC, the NPP as well as the petitioners and other political parties, "regarding the materials that were made available to them by the second respondent prior to, during or after the elections."

On allegations that, although, a common register was compiled for both the presidential and parliamentary elections, the total number of registered voters in respect of the presidential election exceeded that of the registered voters for the parliamentary elections by 127,210 voters; the President said to the best of his knowledge and belief, a common register was used for both elections," and accordingly described the allegations as "clearly false and disingenuous".

President Mahama refuted allegations that Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) allegedly harboured him, while intercepting faxed results of the elections.

Describing the accusations as "completely false," he said the attack on the STL offices was "one of the many instances of wanton violence and destruction by NPP supporters during the election and the period after the declaration of the results."

"Upon receiving information of the attack on the offices of STL, a combined team of representatives of political parties including the NPP, led by Honourable Osafo-Maafo, with their respective information technology experts and the National Peace Council went round and inspected the premises of STL during which visit, it was found that the allegation that the STL was receiving and/or intercepting results of elections before transmitting them to second respondent's strong room was completely false," the President's answer to the amended petition stated.

On the petitioners' claim that the EC on December 9,2012 declared the total number of registered voters as 14,158,890 instead of the 14,031,680, the EC had originally furnished political parties with, thereby, showing a disparity of 127,097; the President said that was not true, adding that in any case that had no bearing on the total number of votes cast as well as "wholly irrelevant" to the outcome of the election and present petition.

The answer to the amended petition further contended that the suggestion by petitioners that there were some veiled reasons for the difference between 13,917,366 and the final number of registered voters smacked of utmost "bad faith".

It said, "assuming without admitting" that some polling stations had the same code numbers, that fact alone would not invalidate the declared results of supervised elections in those polling stations and the votes validly cast.

President Mahama refuted the assertion that 4,670,504 votes had been rendered invalid and must, therefore, be annulled by the Supreme Court on the grounds that, "the statements and calculations contained therein completely lack any basis in law/or fact and should be wholly rejected by the Honourable Court."

"Anyhow, the results of the presidential elections declared by the second respondent were based on the exercise of the fundamental rights of Ghanaian eligible voters under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution," the President said.

In any case, the President stated that quite apart from fingerprint verification, there were other methods of verification permissible under the law and, therefore, the inability of some eligible voters to undergo fingerprint verification, through no fault of theirs, could, therefore, not form the basis for depriving such voters of their fundamental rights under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution.

The President affirmed that any electoral laws and/or directives, the effect of which would be to invalidate the votes of such persons, who had properly presented themselves at polling stations to vote, and had been duly identified as registered voters in the biometric electoral register, would be inconsistent with Article 42 of the Constitution, and therefore, unconstitutional."

According to the President, the results of the election were publicly declared at the various polling stations and constituencies and were matters of public knowledge, adding, "the results were the product of painstaking, public and transparent sorting and counting and/or collation (and sometimes re-counting) at the various polling stations and collation centres with the full participation of the petitioner's accredited polling and/or counting agents, and those of other contesting political parties, who certified such results by appending signatures to the declaration forms."

On allegations that all irregularities and electoral malpractices were a deliberate, well-> calculated and executed ploy to unlawfully assist the President to win the elections and thus subvert the sovereign will of the people, the President said, it was rather the petitioners who were by the present petition, seeking to subvert the constitution, undermine the integrity of the EC and the whole electoral system and the "sovereign will of the people of Ghana by demanding from the Honourable Court an order annulling the results of the exercise of their fundamental rights under the Constitution."

The President intends to cite the reported cases including Tehn Addy v Electoral Commission [1996-97] SCGLR 589; Apaloo v Electoral Commission 11996-97] SCGLR 253; Election of the First President, In Re: Appiah v Attorney General [ 1969] 2G&G 530; Tuffuor v Attorney General (1980) GLR 637; Fenuku v John Teye [2001-2002] SCGLR 985; Buhari v Obasanjo 9 2005) 2NWLR (pt. 910) 214; Re Agyepong (Deed): Poku v Abosi and Another [1982-83] 2GLR 475 to prove his innocence.

The President also plans to rely on the 1992 Constitution and other statutes including: The Presidential Elections Act, 1992, PNDCL285; The Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2012, (C. I. 72); The Public Elections Regulations, 2012, C. I. 75; The Supreme Court Amendment Rules, 2012, (C. I. 74) and The Evidence Act, 1975 (NRCD 323) and to affirm his position that he was the truly elected candidate in the December 7, 2012 elections.
NDC's response to amended petition
Akufo-Addo's petition lacks merit - Prez Mahama

Counsel for President Mahama, Tsatsu Tsikata


In another development, the NDC has also responded to the amended petition filed on February 26, 2013 at the Supreme Court registry.

In its response, the NDC argued that the "particulars of the categories of alleged irregularities set out by the petitioners clearly overlap, and, therefore, adding the votes in these categories as the petitioners have done, amounts to double/multiple counting and is part of a pattern of obfuscation resorted to by petitioners to create an appearance of a real issue when there is none."

It said it won the elections in eight out of 10 regions in the country and further argued that, "in bringing this petition before the honourable court, petitioners are acting in bad faith and that the petition is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the this honourable court."

"The results of the parliamentary elections that were also held on the same days were announced by officials of second respondent in the various constituencies and showed that the third respondent won 148 out of 275 seats in Parliament, thus attaining a clear majority, and that the NPP won 123 seats," the NDC said in its response filed on its behalf by Law Trust Company.

"Members of Parliament, including those who stood on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party, have taken up their seats in Parliament," the NDC's response pointed out adding, "petitioners cannot consistently claim that the presidential elections were conducted irregularly, in respect of voter verification, for instance, while acknowledging the validity of the parliamentary elections on the basis of which members of parliament from their party have taken their seats in Parliament."

The NDC, on whose ticket President Mahama stood for the elections held that polling agents representing the various presidential candidates including Nana Akufo-Addo "were present at the various polling stations and participated fully in all aspects of the process with a view to ensuring that the elections were free, fair and transparent".

"Petitioners, through the acts of their polling agents at the various polling stations as well as acts of other representatives, clearly acknowledged that the presidential elections were validly conducted and claims to the contrary now by petitioners are an afterthought and in bad faith and cannot be countenanced," the party held.

According to the NDC, the only point the petitioners began contesting the results of the election was long after vote counting at polling stations throughout the country in the presence of their polling agents when the tallies in the presidential election began to show that Nana Akufo-Addo had lost the election.

The NDC maintained that voters went through a process of verification, and had their identity checked before Casting their votes, adding, "the agents of the first petitioner who were present at all polling stations including the 11,916 polling stations were satisfied with the verification process and is belated."

It said the unclear and unsubstantiated allegations of illegal votes in the petition, were an "attempt by the petitioners to deny certain Ghanaians of their constitutional right without any justification".

It further buttressed its point by stating that the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) which represented various professional bodies in the country used its well-established methodology for verification of results and thus confirmed the tally of the EC which declared President Mahama as the winner of the polls.

The party also cited media houses as keeping regular tally cards from various polling stations around the country and "reported tallies consistent with that of the second respondent."

The party further indicated that prior to the declaration of the results on December 9,2012, the EC gave the petitioners' party the opportunity to prove allegations of irregularities in the presence of members of the Peace Council "and after consideration, the second respondent found no reason to defer announcement of the election results and proceeded with the said announcement."

According to the NDC, spokespersons of the petitioners and those of the NPP had given different figures by which they claimed the votes of President Mahama had been illegally inflated "without ever giving a meaningful account of how this occurred."

The NDC applied for a joinder three days after the filing of the petition and after legal battle between the lawyers for the NDC and the petitioners, the Supreme Court on January 22, 2013 gave the NDC the nod to join the petition.

Legal authorities

The party intends to rely on the Evidence Act, 1975 (NRCD 323); the 1992 Constitution; the Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574); the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2012 (C.I. 72); the Supreme Court, Amendment Rules, 2012 (C.I. 74); the Presidential Elections Act, 1992, PNDCL 285 and the Elections Regulations, 2012 (C.I. 75) to make its case.

The party also intends to cite three reported cases to uphold its position that its candidate won the December 7, 2012 presidential elections.

The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, swore an affidavit in verification of the NDC's answer to the amended petition.


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