COUNSELS IN ELECTION PETITION HAVE A DUTY TO EDUCATE, NOT CONFUSE THE PUBLIC

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Chief Justice Anin Yeboah

That the Supreme Court hearing the election petition of former President John Mahama permitted a live broadcast of the proceedings, even before the petitioner would apply for it, indicates how magnanimous the apex court has been.

Considering the fact that in 2012 it initiated those processes, based on the dynamics of the time, we have every reason to assume that, that act of magnanimity has come to stay, particularly when our Law Lords and Ladies themselves have exhibited the commitment that matters of law and justice no longer need to remain mystifying.

Trend

Unfortunately, while the eminent Justices at the Supreme Court themselves are playing to the rules in laying bare the issues in terms of applications, running dates, case management and all the reviewed instruments, counsels have generally sought to use the space granted them by the processes to push their cases in the court of public opinion.

Again, while the media strives to perform its duties to the best of its knowledge, inviting the experts for their views in most cases, counsels involved in the case appear to the general public to be playing to the gallery by addressing and assuring their constituents that they are winning their case and the opponent losing because of ‘A, B, C and D’.

Since the commencement of proceedings, the disease has afflicted the two parties in the case, with the phrase ‘court of public opinion’ instead of ‘evidence’ and truth taking centre stage.

NDC

The result is that ordinary citizens, caught in the political antics inherent in the ongoing political war between the New Patriotic Party as a respondent and the National Democratic Congress as petitioners, are losing out on the real issues of why the NDC went to court and whether it is true that it won; or that none of the litigants won the 2020 presidential elections, or that the NDC is only baying after the blood of the Electoral Commissioner, who is an accomplished citizen by any stretch of the word, even before she entered the position.

They must also prove that if they have problems with the figures, they owe it a duty to the public and the Supreme Court to fill in that lack by way of evidence to show that they know what ought to be the figures that they are contesting.

 NPP

Lawyers fighting the case for the respondent and lawyers of the Electoral Commission, in our opinion, also owe the nation a duty to affirm that they truly conducted themselves fairly and responsibly in declaring or being declared victors in the crucial elections. And here, we believe they appear to be doing so convincingly.

Any attempt or plot, therefore, to speak to the condition of the hearts of their supporters or constituents must not be seen more as satisfying the court of public opinion than the sacred dictates of the Supreme Court.

That is where a commitment to put Ghana first becomes necessary than any other consideration. And that is also why they must be forthright and honest with their constituents and sympathizers in pointing out to them that while they have elected to slug it out in court, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to sift the wheat from the chaff and give Ghana – not one political party – the verdict, based on the facts and evidence before the court.

We believe this is important in getting the hoodlums off our streets after the verdict that will certainly not favour one party. Simply put, counsels for both parties owe it a duty to the nation not to send the wrong messages to their supporters.

 

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