The President, Nana Akufo-Addo and the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Mensah, appear to have combined their legal teams against the election petition filed by the 2020 presidential candidate of the NDC, John Dramani Mahama at the Supreme Court.
The two, who are respondents to the petition, have together made similar legal arguments against the petition, urging the Supreme Court to dismiss it because Mr Mahama, has not in the collective view suggested “any reasonable cause of action.”
This is in spite of the NDC leader’s demand on the Apex Court to annul the election results that saw Akufo-Addo declared president-elect.
Both President Akufo-Addo and Jean Mensa, will also raise preliminary objection against Mr Mahama’s petition for the Supreme Court to make pronouncement on.
What is missing in the response is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) 2020 Campaign Manager, Peter Mac Manu’s disclosure that his party also has issues with the figures the EC allocated to President John Mahama, and the promise to ensure that the Supreme Court is furnished with the facts, figures and the law to have that anomaly reversed.
Mr Mahama, argues that President Akufo-Addo benefitted from arithmetic errors and vote padding, but President Akufo-Addo’s lawyers responded, saying Mr Mahama’s petition is borne out of unfounded imagination.
Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co, a law firm owned by the President, in a 12-page response on his behalf, argued that the petition does not disclose any attack on the validity of the election held through the 38,622 polling stations across the country.
Lawyers of President Akufo-Addo led by Akoto Ampaw, argued that the claims made by John Mahama “are not supported by the facts pleaded in the Petition”, adding “that in the circumstance, the petition is incompetent, frivolous and vexatious and discloses no reasonable cause of action in terms of article 64(1) of the constitution.”
“2nd respondent accordingly invites this honourable court to determine that the petition is incompetent, frivolous and vexatious and discloses no reasonable cause of action in terms of 64(1) of the constitution and sets the issue down for legal arguments.”
Akufo-Addo’s lawyers, described the allegation of vote padding involving some 6622 votes as empty and insignificant to materially affect the outcome of the election.
The firm noted that Mr Mahama’s petition, failed to disclose how many votes he should have obtained, except pointing out that none of the candidates got more than 50percent of the votes cast.
The petition is then described as “merely conjectural and borne out of unfounded imagination”.
This, the President through the firm, said is because, Mr Mahama in his petition argues that if all votes from Techiman South Constituency are added to his votes, the NPP’s Akufo-Addo, will get less than 50percent plus 1 of the votes cast.
Mr Akufo-Addo in his response notes that the results from Techiman South were known to Mr Mahama at the time of filing his petition.
These votes, Mr Akufo-Addo, says if credited to each candidate, will reveal that he duly obtained more than 50percent of the votes cast.
Mr Akufo-Addo’s lawyers, have served notice of raising an initial objection to the petition.
This objection will be to argue that the petition does not meet the requirement of Article 64(1) of the constitution.
This article states, “The validity of the election of the President may be challenged only by a citizen of Ghana who may present a petition for the purpose to the Supreme Court within 21 days after the declaration of the result of the election in respect of which the petition is presented.”
The President concludes by describing the petition as incompetent, frivolous and vexatious.
On its part, the EC just like President Akufo-Addo, has also filed its preliminary objection to Mr Mahama’s petition, describing it as incompetent and not challenging the validity of the presidential election conducted on December 7, 2020.
The Commission, also says the court must dismiss Mahama’s petition, because he does not suggest “any reasonable cause of action.”
In its 10-page response, the EC indicated that despite its preparations and resources put in place, there is a possibility of discrepancies, especially with regard to mathematical errors during the collation of results, but those errors did not have any significant effect on the final election results that saw Nana Akufo-Addo emerging as the winner of the polls.
“There is a possibility of minor discrepancies as a result of computational and mathematical errors made in the course of the collation of the results, but these did not have a material effect on the overall results as declared,” the EC indicated.
On claims of vote-padding made by John Mahama in his petition against the EC, the Commission said nothing of that sort occurred.
The EC, said John Mahama in his petition erroneously depended on the total number of votes cast to make his case as being the total number of valid votes cast, an error which was inadvertently mentioned by the EC Chairperson during the declaration of the presidential result, but was later corrected in a press release.
The EC also said contrary to suggestions by Mr Mahama in his petition that the true and final presidential results are unknown, “the full results of the December 7, 2020 Presidential Election was known to the petitioner [Mahama]”.
“The claims in the petition are contrived, have no legal basis and ought to be dismissed.”
The EC further said it followed the due processes for the conduct of the election and ensured fairness to all candidates.
It further denied breaching the constitution in the declaration of the election results, saying it “did not breach the constitution and that the [Mahama’s] petition has no merit.”
The Commission through its lawyers denied any wrongdoing and asked the court to dismiss the petition “for not disclosing any reasonable cause of action”.
“The 1st Respondent adds that Petitioner has failed to indicate the exact number of votes and percentages that he or the other candidates ought to have obtained in comparison to the number of votes and percentages declared by 1st Respondent.”
“It [EC] complied with all the processes and procedures laid down by law for the conduct of the 7th December 2020 Presidential Election with fairness to every candidate and without malice, ill will or bias against anyone.
“1st Respondent [EC] maintains that in a bid to enhance transparency and public participation in the electoral process, it published all Regional Election Summary Sheets (Form 12) on its website. A simple tabulation of same would show that the 2nd Responded indeed won the election as declared.”