Mahama prays Supreme Court to stay proceedings in Election Petition

President John Dramani Mahama

The National Democratic Congress flagbearer John Dramani Mahama has filed a stay of proceedings in the ongoing Election 2020 Petition case at the Supreme Court.

The court has therefore fixed January 28 to hear the application for stay of execution.

The apex court of the land on January 19, this year unanimously dismissed an application for leave to serve interrogatories on the Electoral Commission.

The Supreme Court held that the interrogatories application was discretional and same must raise relevance.

Mr Mahama through his lawyers wanted the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mrs. Jean Mensa to answer about 12 interrogatories over the mode of transmission of December 7, 2020 Presidential elections.

Mr Mahama in his application for stay held that “the application for review is based on certain fundamental errors of law that the court made in its ruling, leading to a miscarriage of justice.”

According to Mr Mahama, there were exceptional circumstances of which he is seeking the orders of the court to stay proceedings until the final determination of the application for review.

“Not to stay proceedings would create the unfortunate impression that the review application has been pre-determined,” adding that “No prejudice will cause the respondents by the grant of such leave,” he said.

He said for hearing of the petition to proceed before the review was heard, would cause “irreparable harm” to the conduct of the case since he had been denied the benefit of “normal pre-trial processes”.

Mr Mahama said he had been advised by his lawyer that discovery processes such as interrogatories were normal pre-trial processes and the use of mechanisms of interrogatories would ensure a speedier trial.

In his petition, Mr Mahama contended that no candidate won the 2020 Presidential election and therefore the declaration of President Akufo Addo as the winner of the election by the EC chairperson was “Null and void,” unconstitutional, and of no legal effect.

He argued that as per the results as announced by Mrs. Mensa on December 9, 2020, no candidate garnered more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.

According to him, the EC Chairperson announced the total valid votes cast as 13, 434,574 minus the results of Techiman South with President Akufo Addo obtaining 6,730,413 of the votes representing 51.59 per cent of the votes, while he (Mahama) got 6,214,898 representing 47.366 per cent of the votes cast.

It is the case of Mr Mahama that per the figures, the actual percentage for President Akufo Addo minus Techiman South ought to be 50.098 per cent and not 51.595 per cent as announced by the EC Chair.

He also argued that his percentage minus Techiman South should be 46.26 per cent and not 47.366 per cent

Doing more calculations, Mr Mahama argued that Techiman South had a total voting population of 128,018 and if that was added to the total valid votes cast as declared by the EC, it would be 13,434,574 plus 128,018 (13,562,592)

Arguing further, Mr Mahama said it was erroneous for the EC to state that even all the votes in Techiman South were added to the petitioner’s votes President Akufo Addo votes will remain the same at 6,730,413 now yielding 49.625 per cent whiles the votes of the petitioner will increase to 6,324,907 now yielding 46,768 per cent.

Accordingly, the EC Boss claim in the purported declaration that adding all the 128,018 votes in Techiman South to the votes standing in the name of the petitioner will not change the results, was clearly wrong.

President Akufo Addo and EC in their respective responses, argued that the petition was incompetent, lacked merit and raised no reasonable cause of action.

They further contended that that petition, did not even meet the requirement of a Presidential Elections Petition as stated in Article 64(1) of the 1992 Constitution and same was therefore incompetent.

They held that because the petition made no allegations of infractions in the election at any of the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting centers.

The EC argued further that the petition was incompetent because, it did not contest “the lawfulness of votes,” obtained by any candidate in any polling station where the election was held.

The main crux of the petition is the declaration of the results of the election by Mrs. Mensa while former President Mahama in the petition argued that the figure declared by the EC backed his claim that no one had more than 50 per cent of the valid votes cast, the respondents disagreed.

The EC admits that Mrs. Mensa inadvertently read the figure representing the total number of votes cast as the one representing the total number of valid votes cast and also gave the percentage of the votes garnered by President Akufo Addo as 51.59 per cent instead of 51.295 per cent.

It however averred that the EC corrected the errors on December 10, 2020 and even stated that “the corrections and clarifications did not affect the overall results as declared”.

The EC therefore held that Mr Mahama’s “deliberate” reliance on the figures declared on December 9,2020 to make a case that President Akufo Addo did not obtain more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast was “misleading, untenable and misconceived.”

To President Akufo Addo the corrections by the EC to the declaration on December 9, were done within the powers of the EC and same did not breached the law.

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