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Election Petition: Asiedu Nketia takes over baton
From: Ghana/Daily Graphic          Published On: May 23, 2013, 05:36 GMT
 
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Election Petition: Asiedu Nketia takes over baton
The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, will, today, May 23, 2013, testify in the petition challenging the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the 2012 presidential election at the Supreme Court.

General Mosquito, as he is popularly called, is expected to give his evidence-in-chief to affirm his party’s position that President Mahama was legitimately elected in the December 2012 presidential poll.

He takes his turn after Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, the star witness for the petitioners, had completed his evidence-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination which spanned the period April 17, 2013 to May 22, 2013.

General Mosquito has been given the power of attorney by the President to testify on his (President’s) behalf.

Mr Asiedu Nketia, who is the star witness for President Mahama and the NDC, on April 15, 2013 deposed to an affidavit in the form of evidence.

He is expected to rely on his affidavit during his examination-in-chief and cross-examination by counsel for the petitioners.

The power of attorney from President Mahama is dated April 15, 2013 and is currently among the exhibits presented to the court by the president and the NDC.

The affidavit, dated April 15, 2013 and filed at the Supreme Court registry, stated that President Mahama was the duly elected President of Ghana and won in eight out of 10 regions in the country and for that reason “the announced results demonstrated the will of the Ghanaian people”.

The NDC’s affidavit in support

The affidavit went on to state that the NDC won 148 out of 275 seats in parliament, thereby attaining a clear majority in parliament, as against the NPP’s 123 seats.

It said the process of voting on the two days had been testified to by polling/counting agents representing the president and the NDC, who had testified from personal knowledge in affidavits which had been filed before the court as to what took place in each polling station where petitioners had claimed something went wrong.

The processes of voting, sorting and counting of ballot papers and the declaration of results were done openly and in the full glare of the public, observers and the polling/counting agents of the various parties, the affidavit said.

“There were procedures by which any party who was dissatisfied with the results or any of the processes of voting could, on the spot, lodge a written complaint. In most of the polling stations in respect of which the petitioners have raised issues in this petition, the 1st petitioner’s polling/counting agents signed the pink sheets, documenting the declared results without raising any complaint,” it said.

The Petition

The petitioners — the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey — filed the petition on December 28, 2012.

They are alleging that the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election was fraught with malpractices of over-voting, non-signing of pink sheets by presiding officers or their assistants, voting without biometric verification and duplicated serial numbers of pink sheets.

However, President Mahama, the EC and the NDC have denied that any such irregularities occurred during the election.

Reaction to annulment of votes

Reacting to the petitioners’ call for the annulment of 4,670,504 votes, the affidavit said upon counting and examining the pink sheets submitted by the petitioners in proof of their claim, the president and the NDC found the total number of pink sheets submitted by the petitioners “is 8,621 and not the 11,842 alleged in the affidavit filed by 2nd petitioner nor the 11,916 polling stations as alleged in the 2nd amended petition of petitioners and confirmed by counsel for petitioners in open court”.

It said out of the 8,621 pink sheets, 115 had absolutely no data on the basis of which any of the petitioners’ allegations, the subject matter of the petition, could be supported.

According to the affidavit, “further 373 were duplicated, adding that there was no logical, arithmetical or other basis upon which the petitioners came to the conclusion that 4.6 million votes cast in the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election should be annulled”.

“The petitioners’ claims are not supported by the documents they have submitted in support of their case. Also, their statements about the malpractices, irregularities and omissions they alleged have not been consistent with each other,” it stated.

On the various forms of irregularities cited by the petitioners, the President and the NDC have responded to each allegation as follows:

Over-voting

It said in respect of all the pink sheets exhibited on over-voting, in no instance did the petitioners allege that the valid votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters at the polling station, adding, “What the petitioners are alleging to be instances of over-voting are in reality patent clerical, and sometimes, arithmetic errors in recording, which have no material effect on the actual votes publicly cast, sorted, counted and recorded.”

According to the two respondents, a number of the pink sheets did not support in any manner the allegation of over-voting.

Biometric verification

According to the affidavit, based on accounts of the NDC’s agents at the polling stations, no voter voted without prior verification.

“The affidavits sworn to by our polling agents and filed before this Honourable Court confirm that in all the polling stations in respect of which they swore their respective affidavits, voters were biometrically verified before they were permitted to vote,” it stated.

On the President’s statement referred to by the petitioners that where there were still challenges with the fingerprint verification machines, voters be allowed to vote without prior fingerprint verification, the affidavit explained that the President’s statement was a reflection of his recognition of the constitutional rights of Ghanaian citizens.

“In any event, the statement of 1st respondent (President) was not the basis of any decision of officers of 2nd respondent (EC) in conducting the elections,” it held.

Different results on pink sheets having the same polling station code

The affidavit said the EC had explained that where polling stations had been used for special voting which preceded the general voting, two separate results would appear on the pink sheets with the same polling station code, one representing the results of the special voting, the other those of the general voting.

Unknown polling stations

On the issue of voting taking place in 23 polling stations outside the recognised 26,002 polling stations, the respondents held that all the said polling stations existed and were all part of the 26,002 that were created by the EC for the conduct of the December 2012 elections.

According to the affidavit, the petition was an act of bad faith and brazen attempt by the petitioners to find some reason to question the validity of the December 7 and 8 presidential elections after they had lost.

“Throughout the period after the close of polls, media houses throughout the country announced results as they were declared and reported tallies, which were consistent with the final results declared by 2nd respondent,” it pointed out.

7,000 plus witnesses for NDC and president

Per the April 2, 2013 order of the Supreme Court which ordered the parties in the petition to file sworn affidavits, more than 7,000 witnesses have given evidence in the form of sworn affidavits to back the legitimacy of President Mahama.

The evidence of the witnesses is also in support of the NDC’s claim that its candidate, President Mahama, won the elections fairly.

The witnesses are mostly voting and counting agents who were on duty at the various polling stations cited by the petitioners as among the places irregularities took place.

A total of 250 boxes containing affidavits from the 7,000 witnesses who were drawn from the regions, constituencies and polling stations where alleged electoral malpractices took place are currently in the custody of the Supreme Court Registry.



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