The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the Declaration of President-Elect Instrument is the proper method ‘at law’ for declaring a winner of a Presidential Election and not the initial announcement by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission which has no basis in law.
This was contained in his Response dated 8 January 2021 to John Dramani Mahama’s Election Petition.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the second Respondent in the 2020 Presidential Election says therefore that the Supreme Court should dismiss the petition brought before it by Mahama because it was not based on Article 64(1) of the Constitution which makes “the validity” of an election the basis of a Presidential Election Petition.
John Dramani Mahama meanwhile argues that the Declaration of President-Elect Instrument was based on the public Declaration by Jean Mensa on 9 December 2020.
Akufo-Addo acknowledges that but says those errors notwithstanding, the validity of the election itself has not been challenged by the Petitioner.
He intends to use the 2013 Supreme Court Presidential Election involving himself and John Dramani Mahama as his reference points.
In a 12-page response by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with his own law firm advising him, the President argues that the petition does not disclose any attack on the validity of the elections held in the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting centres, and therefore, the petition is borne out of unfounded imagination.
Akufo-Addo added that the allegation by the Petitioner of “vote padding” which involves some 6622 votes is empty and does not materially affect the outcome of the 2020 general election.
Akufo-Addo’s response partly reads:
“2nd Respondent says that the election was conducted across 38,622 polling stations in Ghana and 311 special voting centres and that in each polling station and special voting centre, the votes were counted and the results declared in the presence of representatives of the candidates, counting agents, voters, the general public and in most instances, the media and local and international observers.”
It continued: “Upon the declaration of results, copies are posted at the various polling stations in accordance with the law governing the elections.
“2nd Respondent states that the Petition does not disclose any attack on the validity of the election held throughout the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting centres or any of the processes set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 (supra).”
Akufo-Addo further indicated that Mahama’s petition failed to disclose how many votes he should have obtained except pointing out that none of the candidates got more than 50% of the total valid votes cast.
“2nd Respondent, in the circumstance, says the petition is merely conjectural and borne out of petitioner’s unfounded imagination and further that the material facts in the petition do not support the reliefs sought and, therefore, same should be dismissed in limine as incompetent.”
Akufo-Addo further indicated that Mahama in his petition stated that if all votes from Techiman South Constituency are added to his votes, the NPP’s Akufo-Addo will get less than 50% of the total valid votes cast noting that the results from Techiman South were known to John Dramani Mahama at the time of filing his petition.
If the total valid votes cast are credited to each candidate correctly, Akufo-Addo avers that he will duly obtain more than 50% of the votes cast.
Akufo-Addo, therefore, prayed the Supreme Court to “determine that the petition is incompetent, frivolous and vexatious, and discloses no reasonable cause of action in terms of article 64(1) of the Constitution and set the issue down for legal arguments.”
Article 64(1) reads: “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 twenty-one days after the declaration of the result of the election in respect of which the petition is presented.”
John Dramani Mahama has filed a petition at the Apex Court challenging the 9 December 2020 Declaration by Jean Mensa, that Nana Akufo-Addo is the winner of the 2020 Presidential election and is praying that the court should annul that Declaration.
Mahama avers that if that Declaration which was based on wrong results and a wrong calculation of the then outstanding Techiman South Results were considered, then there was no winner, thereby necessitating a rerun.
Akufo-Addo had indicated that the evidence of vote padding produced by the Petition amounts to just 6622 votes, which are insignificant since he was validly elected based on Article 64(1) by a margin of 500 thousand votes.
He stated that more than 38 thousand polling station results witnessed by the general public and international observers attest to his win.
He, however, entered into quicksand in paragraph 35 when he stated that the results were “corroborated by all media houses of note in the country as well as many local and international observers”.
The EU Observer Mission has, however, stated that the collation of results was “less transparent”.
John Mahama, the immediate past head of state, has filed an amendment to his petition which is correct the error of referring to Akufo-Addo as 1st Respondent instead of the second Respondent – an error Akufo-Addo repeated throughout his response – all is set for the legal arguments beginning 14 January.
Judgement should be delivered by 10 February according to the rules governing the case.