Explanations from the governing New Patriotic Party appear to suggest that former President John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress have tacitly endorsed the validity of the declaration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the winner of the December 7 presidential election.
According to Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, a former Minister of Information and one of the spokespersons of President Akufo-Addo’s legal team for the ongoing election petition, the petition filed by the 2020 flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress, John Mahama, only focused on errors committed by the Electoral Commission (EC).
The petition, he insists, is not challenging the validity of the election of President Akufo-Addo. “It does not attack the validity of the election as a proper election petition should do. It merely complains about errors in the formal declaration,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah said yesterday.
Speaking in an interview on Accra based Citi FM, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said Mr Mahama’s petition focused on errors such as “instead of saying total votes cast she (Jean Mensa)said total valid votes; errors such as instead of saying 51.29 per cent, she said 51.59 per cent”.
“When you do an election petition, and you want to attack the validity of the election, you make the case that the election was defective in this number of polling stations or this number of places.
“Mr Mahama was only complaining about the error… in the formal declaration. Even the official results, which they have signed, they are not complaining about it,” he noted.
Petition can’t overturn results
Meanwhile, the Deputy Communications Director at the Presidency, Fatimatu Abubakar, has noted that the NDC’s petition cannot overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.
According to her, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ado has selected competent lawyers, including Akoto Ampaw and Frank Davies, to face the NDC in court, adding that the NPP will win the court case.
Speaking to the media, Fatimatu, who is also a legal practitioner, said: “I am optimistic that the NPP will win the court case. President Akufo-Addo believes in the lawyers and so at the end of the day everything will be fine and the NPP will come out victorious.”
Fatimatu Abubakar also said the NPP encouraged the NDC to resort to the court over the election result, which they claim was flawed, to prevent violence from its followers.
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has filed a response to the petition by Mr Mahama, praying the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition on grounds that it lacks substance, and is rather a “face saving gimmick” by the former President.
In a 12-page response, 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, adding that the petition is borne out of “unfounded imagination”.
“The instant action is a ruse and face-saving gimmick by the petitioner, after the petitioner and many senior members of the NDC party had prematurely claimed outright victory in the election, only to be badly exposed by results of the 1st respondent (EC), corroborated by all media houses of note in the country as well as many independent local and international observers,” President Akufo-Addo argues.
According to President Akufo-Addo, Mr Mahama devotes an enormous portion of the petition (30 out of 35 paragraphs) to weak and inconsistent complaints about the declaration of the winner of the election by the Electoral Commission (1st Respondent), with the remaining five paragraphs devoted to empty allegations of wrong aggregation of votes padding.
Also, the Electoral Commission, which is the first respondent in the case, has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition, describing it as ‘incompetent’.
“The 1st respondent prays that the petition and all the grounds in support thereof be summarily dismissed by this Honorable Court for not disclosing any reasonable cause of action,” the EC stated in its response to the apex court.
In a preliminary objection to the petition, the EC said the petition is incompetent, saying it does not meet the requirement of Article 64(1) of the Constitution and Rule 68(1) of the Supreme Court rules 1996 (C I 16) as amended, used in challenging the validity of the presidential election conducted by the first respondent (EC) on December 7, 2020.
The EC added that the petitioner failed to indicate the exact number of votes and percentages that he or other candidates ought to have obtained in comparison to the number of votes and percentages declared by the first respondent.
President Akufo-Addo garnered 51.59 per cent of the valid votes while Mr Mahama got 47.37 per cent.
Mr Mahama wants the court to annul President Nana Akufo-Addo’s re-election, claiming that neither he nor the incumbent got the required number of votes to be declared the winner.
He said this is because of the omission of the Techiman South constituency from the provisional declaration of results.
The Supreme Court is expected to empanel this week to hear the case.