President Akufo-Addo says Mahama’s electoral petition, incompetent, frivolous and vexatious

Nana Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described the Petition filed by Mr John Mahama, seeking a re-run of the presidential polls, as incompetent, frivolous and vexatious.

He said the Petition disclosed no reasonable cause of action, and did not meet the threshold for invoking the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Former President John Mahama on December 30, 2020 filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking an annulment of the Presidential election results and a re-run of the election between him and President Akufo-Addo.

On January 9, 2021, the President also filed his response on the election petition filed at the Supreme Court.

The President, who is the Second Respondent, in his 12-page response, denied each and every allegation of material fact contained in the Petition, save as expressly admitted, as if same were set out in extenso herein and denied seriatim.

President Akufo-Addo in his general answer to the Petition said that same was incompetent, devoid of substance and did not measure up to the legal criteria for an action invoking the Court’s jurisdiction under article 64(1) of the Constitution.

The President said upon the declaration of results, copies were posted at the various polling stations in accordance with the law governing the elections.

The Second Respondent said the Petition did 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 the paragraphs 3 and 4 (supra).

He said in point of fact, Petitioner only devoted an overwhelming portion of the Petition (30 out of 35 paragraphs) to weak and inconsistent complaints about the “declaration of the winner” of the election by Election Commission (First Respondent), and the remaining five paragraphs to empty allegations of “wrong aggregation of votes” and “vote padding,” which collectively involve about 6.622 votes an amount patently insignificant to materially affect the outcome of an election in which Second Respondent defeated Petitioner by well over 500,000 votes.

That even though the Petitioner, from reliefs sought, claims that no candidate obtained more than 50 per cent of valid votes cast in the election, and therefore seeks a ” second election with Petitioner and First Respondent as the candidates Petitioner does not indicate the number of valid votes or percentage thereof that he should have obtained in the election, or the number of votes or percentage thereof that the
Second Respondent should have obtained in the election to support the allegations and request for the so-called “second election with Petitioner and the EC as the candidates.”

The President further averred that the failure to plead this supremely material allegation of fact and provide particulars thereof in the Petition completely divested Petitioner of a cause of action.

The Second Respondent, in the circumstance, said the Petition was merely conjectural and borne out of Petitioner’s unfounded imagination, and further that the material facts in the Petition did not support the reliefs sought and, therefore, same should be dismissed as incompetent.

He also contended that the attack mounted by Petitioner on parts of the “declaration of the results” of the election rather than the validity of the election itself, renders the instant action incompetent in terms of article 64(1) of the 1992 Constitution because an alleged inaccuracy with the declaration of election results on December 9, 2020 did not mean that the election of Second Respondent as President on December 7, 2020 was invalid.

The Second Respondent said the Petitioner’s deliberate failure or calculated refusal to recognise these simple, logical and self-evident matters has led the Petitioner erroneously to seek a “second election” based on mere suppositions such as those contained in paragraphs 10, 15 and 16 of the Petition.

In specific answer to paragraphs 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Petition, the Second Respondent said the Petitioner had no reasonable cause of action based on the statement annexed by Petitioner as Exhibit “A” , as same is not an instrument made by EC under article 63(9) of the Constitution.

The Second Respondent added that corrections of the errors by First Respondent in his statement on December 9, 2020, annexed by the Petitioner as Exhibit A, were made within the authority of EC and did not infringe any law.

He further said the correction effected by the EC on December 10, 2020, provided a proper reckoning of the percentage of votes obtained by President Akufo-Addo using the “valid votes cast” rather than ” total votes cast” and shows the Second Respondent obtained more than 50 per cent of valid votes cast, as required under article 63(3) of the Constitution.

The Second Respondent added that the persistent reliance by the Petitioner on errors contained in the December 9, 2020 statement by EC further confirmed the lack of any cause of action in the Petition.

He also contended that, in any event, the statement of December 9, 2020 not being an instrument cognisable under article 63(9) of the Constitution, alleged inaccuracies contained therein cannot give rise to a reasonable cause of action.

President Akufo-Addo further said the evidence of the election is the declaration of results at all the 38,622 polling stations and the 311 special voting cenfres, used for the conduct of the election, which Petitioner, unmistakably, did not question in the Petition.

The Second Respondent denied paragraph 13 of the Petition and said the bold assertion that “a total of one hundred point three percent (100.3 0/0)” was yielded from the percentages announced by First Respondent on December 9, 2020, was doggedly based on the error the First Respondent made in inadvertently reading the percentage of votes secured by the Second Respondent as 51.595 per cent instead of 51.295 per cent and that, when a proper reckoning is done based on the correct percentage of “51.295 per cent” secured by Second Respondent, the total percentage is 100 per cent.

The President vehemently denied paragraphs 15, 16 and 17 of the Petition, saying that Petitioner’s claims therein were mischievously anchored on an innocuous mistake by 1st Respondent in interchanging “total votes cast” for “total valid votes”, when announcing the various percentages obtained by each candidate on December 9, 2020.

The Second Respondent adds that Petitioner therefore cannot legitimately make any extrapolations from all the votes in Techiman South, because the Petition ought to be based on facts and not extrapolations and suppositions.

He said the Petitioner’s persistent and strange claim to being entitled to all the votes of registered voters in Techiman South, contrary to Petitioner’s knowledge that the actual results from that Constituency were declared shortly after 1st Respondent’s statement in Exhibit A, was not only mischievous but a deliberate attempt to mislead the Apex Court.

He denied the allegations of violation of articles 23 and 296 of the Constitution contained in paragraphs 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 of the Petition as misconceived, and said First Respondent conducted the elections in compliance with provisions of the Constitution and relevant law.

The Second Respondent said that the instant action was a ruse and a facesaving gimmick by Petitioner, after Petitioner and many senior members of his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party had prematurely claimed outright victory in the election, only to be badly exposed by results of First Respondent, corroborated by all media houses of note in the country as well as many independent local and international observers.

The Second Respondent said that Petitioner’s conduct and that of other leading members of the NDC in proclaiming outright victory with an alleged percentage of over 51 0/0, only to now come to the Supreme Court and prayed for “a second election with Petitioner and First Respondent as the candidates”, was contrived to deceive the people of Ghana, and shows that from the outset, the Petitioner and his party leaders knew that they had lost the presidential election.

He also asserted that, assuming without admitting that Petitioner’s allegation concerning the supposed abuse of discretionary power by First Respondent could properly be adjudicated by the forum, Second Respondent contended that the Petition did not disclose any specific provisions of the Public Elections Regulations, 2020 (C.I. 127), the statutory framework governing the discretionary powers of First Respondent that had been breached by 1st Respondent.

President Akufo-Addo denied paragraphs 25, 26 and 27 of the Petition, and said in further answer thereto that the averments therein were misconceived since an alleged unconstitutionality of a declaration or gazette notification of an election did not constitute a challenge of the validity of an election of a person as President, a point the Court had already decided.

He repeated emphatically that Petitioner had neither challenged the conduct of the election itself nor the validity of the election. The instant action was not an election petition properly socalled and same ought to be dismissed in limine.

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