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Election Petition: John Mahama presses EC to admit to errors made in the declaration

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John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress has amended his petition before the Supreme Court by further coaxing the Electoral Commission to admit to the errors its Chairperson made during her 9 December 2020 declaration of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as President-elect.

On Thursday, January 14, 2021, when the case was first heard, the Supreme Court granted leave to counsel for the petitioner up to 4 pm that same day to amend the petition.

The respondents were given up to close of business on Friday to file any amended responses if they so desired.

Consequently, the next hearing was scheduled for Tuesday 19 January.

However, GhanaWeb has sighted a document in which Mahama through his attorney Tony Lithur, is pressing the EC to admit: “That when the percentages of the valid votes cast and standing to the names of each of the Presidential Candidates as announced by Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, the Chairperson of 1st Respondent on December 9, 2020, are summed up, they would yield a total of 100.3%.”

The amended petition asked the EC to admit further: “That Mrs. Jean Mensa, Chairperson of 1st Respondent, in her purported declaration on December 9, 2020, stated that the results from Techiman South Constituency were not yet available.

Also, the amended petition asked the EC to admit further: “That Mrs. Jean Mensa, Chairperson of 1st Respondent, in her purported declaration on December 9, 2020, stated that even if the 128,018 votes of Techiman South Constituency were added to the votes standing to the name of [the] petitioner, that would not change the results.”

In that expected amendment submitted on Thursday 14 January, Mahama was expected to only amend the typographical error of labelling the “1st Respondent”, namely the Electoral Commission (EC) as “2nd Respondent”, being Nana Akufo-Addo and vice versa, a reason the justices withdrew into chambers and returned with a ruling granting the motion to amend, despite opposition from Akoto Ampaw, counsel for Akufo-Addo.

In the initial response by the first respondent, namely the EC, there was an admission that “computational and mathematical errors” were made but that those errors did not “materially affect” the results.

Mahama’s attorneys are apparently cashing in on this to coax the EC into further admissions under oath by rehashing and emphasising some key paragraphs in the original petition.

This will then more likely make it easier for the petitioner to convince the supreme court that the errors resulted in unfairness and must be corrected.

Mahama, who is contesting the election results of December 9, 2020, stated in the motion that, the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent “refused to accept a letter (Exhibit B) written by the NDC to her in which the NDC, through its authorised and accredited agents, raised concerns and notified her of material errors in her collation of the results of the 7th December 2020 Presidential Election”.

Mahama argues, “That a purported “correction” of figures in the declaration made by Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, the Chairperson of 1st Respondent, was by virtue of an unsigned Press Release of 1st Respondent on 10th December 2020.

Further, “That the purported ‘correction’ issued in an unsigned Press Release of 1st Respondent on 10th December 2020, stated that the total valid votes cast was now 13,119,460”.

Again, “That the purported ‘correction’ on 10th December 2020 changed the number of votes claimed to have been obtained by the other presidential candidates in the purported declaration of December 9, 2020”.

Read below the full motion by John Dramani Mahama

About the Election Petition

The former president is challenging the December 7 polls at the Supreme Court of Ghana.

In his petition, Mahama avers that neither him nor Nana Akufo-Addo, being the two leading candidates, obtained the constitutionally mandated “more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast” per the results declared by Jean Mensa, the EC’s Chairperson on 9 December.

Mahama argues further that if that 9 December 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.

In summary, Mahama, through his lawyers, is praying the Supreme Court to annul the declaration of 9 December as unconstitutional and further that all subsequent amendments by the EC, to the extent that those amendments were announced without a prior re-collation in the presence of the agents of the candidates as required by Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 127, but were thrust on the people of Ghana via unsigned press statements are null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.

Akufo-Addo in his initial response indicated that the evidence of vote padding produced by the petitioner amounted to just 6622 votes, which were insignificant since he was validly elected based on Article 64(1) by a margin of some 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, responded in paragraph 35 of his Answer 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 stated that the collation of results was “less transparent”.

CODEO, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers says it monitored the elections in only five per cent of polling stations and its computation of the presidential election results was based only on that sample.

The mainstream media has also admitted that they did not have the capacity to cover most of the polling stations, with some admitting that they were given figures by the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo’s political party, to announce.

The case is expected to end by 10 February.