A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Anim Yeboah, a Supreme Court judge has unanimously struck out the 2020 election petition brought before it by the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress in the 2020 December elections, Mr John Dramani Mahama. This according to the apex court was because the case brought before it lacked merit.
Former president John Mahama, the presidential candidate who contested on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress in the 2020 December elections dragged the Electoral Commision, led by its chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa, and the presidential candidate on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo before the apex court of the country, challenging the validity of the results declared by the chairperson of the Electoral Commission and the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner.
In reading the ruling of the court Chief Justice Kwasi Anim Yeboah said the petitioner did not satisfy all the 5 issues outlined in his petition, stating that, “The petitioner has not provided any evidence to rebut the evidence created by the presumption CI135, for which his action must fail”
“We therefore have no reason to order a re-run as pleaded by the petitioner. We accordingly dismiss the petition as having no merit,” the Chief Justice concluded.
The 5 issues brought before the Supreme court for determination by the petitioner were that:
1. Whether or not the petition discloses any reasonable cause of action
2. Whether or not based on the data contained in the declaration of the 1st Respondent (EC), no candidate obtained more than 50% of the valid votes cast as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 constitution
3. Whether or not the 2nd Respondent still met article 63 (3) of the 1992 constitution threshold by the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South constituency Presidential Election Results of election 2020
4. Whether or not the declaration by the 1st Respondent dated the 9th of December was in violation of Article 63 (3) of the 1992 constitution
5. Whether or not the alleged vote padding and other errors complained of by the petitioner affected the outcome of the Presidential Election results of 2020.
Final verdict by the Apex Court
On Issue 1, the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah said the court is convinced that the petitioner raised a reasonable cause of action. He averred that the argument by the 1st and 2nd Respondents that the petitioner had a weak case was not enough grounds for the petition to be dismissed.
On Issue 2, the Chief Justice said that there was no doubt that the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission made a mistake by announcing 13,434,74 instead of 13,121,111 to be total valid votes cast.
According to him, the threshold to declare a president should be based on the total valid votes cast and not the total vote cast, and since that was rectified by the Chairperson, it was wrong for the petitioner to hold the EC to the error made.
He said the that apex court was of the opinion that the Chairperson had a right to correct the mistake when it was noticed.
In view of this, the 2nd Respondent had more than 50% of the valid votes cast.
In conclusion, the petitioner’s submission on that did not meet the court’s approval for determination.
On Issue 3, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah said, at the time the petition was filed, the results of the Techiman South Constituency election had been added and therefore was known to the petitioner.
According to him, the cross-examination of the NDC’s Asiedu Nketia established that the 2nd Respondent had more than the 50% plus one vote threshold.
Again, even if all registered voters in Techiman South of 128,018 were added to the petitioner, the second respondent will still make the more than 50% threshold (50.79%).
The apex court therefore established that President Nana Akufo-Addo crossed the 50%+1 vote requirement even without the results from Techiman South constituency prior to the declaration of the presidential results on December 9, 2020.
On Issue 4, the Chief Justice said it is the opinion of the apex court that the error made by the EC Chair did not affect the result and was not in violation of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
According to him, there is no denying the fact that the EC Chairperson made an error, however, based on available evidence it was corrected..
He said to hold otherwise will mean that errors made in statements and figures are enough to nullify an election result.
Again, the court was of the view that the petition also failed to back his claim that the declaration by the EC Chairperson was wrong.
On Issue 5, the Chief Justice said although the court finds the accusation of vote padding very serious it observed that this allegation was not proven by the petitioner.
According to him, the judges are therefore settled in their minds that even if there was vote padding, it did not in any way affect the outcome of the election results.
“The Petitioner did not adduce cogent evidence to back this claim. The court expected the pink sheets to be exhibited to prove the claims. Allegations of wrong aggregations of votes were not proved. Even if the vote padding was accepted, it will not impact the validity of the votes of Nana Akufo-Addo,” Justice Anin Yeboah read.
In summary, the Chief Justice said the apex court therefore finds no reason to order a re-run of the 2020 elections.