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Akufo-Addo takes second oath Thursday

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

The stage is now set for the swearing in and inauguration of the President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with preparations towards the event, set to take place on the precincts of Parliament House.

The inauguration is without recourse and prejudice to the Supreme Court hearing of a petition against the President-elect filed by the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 election, former President John Dramani Mahama.

The former President, who was a respondent in a similar petition in 2013, filed the petition at the Supreme Court on December 30, 2020, challenging the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the December 7, 2020 presidential election.

Inauguration programme

The ceremony is expected to attract a large number of leaders from West Africa among other world leaders.

Over 15 African Heads of State attended the January 7, 2017 ceremony, including President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, who was also the Special Guest of Honour.

Before the swearing in of the President-elect on January 7, the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic, which began on Sunday, January 7, 2017, will stand dissolved, in line with provisions in the Presidential Transition Act, 2012 (Act 845) and the 1992 Constitution.

Parliament will undertake a number of programmes to mark the dissolution of the Seventh Parliament and inaugurate the Eighth Parliament, which will have the responsibility of presiding over the swearing-in ceremony.

A statement issued by the Public Affairs Director of Parliament, Ms Kate Addo, said the dissolution would facilitate the swearing in of the President-elect on the precincts of the Legislature, following his re-election in the December 7, 2020 presidential poll.

President Akufo-Addo would deliver his final State of the Nation Address in Parliament at 10 a.m. tomorrow, it said.

The event, which is in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, is one of the major events preceeding the dissolution of the Seventh Parliament at midnight of January 6, 2021.

Swearing in 

The statement said at 12 a.m. on January 7, 2021, the elected members of the Eighth Parliament would convene in the Chamber of Parliament to elect a Speaker and two Deputy Speakers, in accordance with articles 95, 96 and 100(2) of the 1992 Constitution.

After that, the elected MPs would be sworn in by the Speaker at the Chamber of Parliament, as per Article 100(1) of the Constitution.

“The President-elect will then be sworn in before the Eighth Parliament, in accordance with Article 57(3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana,” it said.

Soon after the election of the Speaker, he or she will be sworn-in by the Chief Justice, after which the Speaker will swear-in MPs-elect and oversee the election of the deputy speakers at dawn on January 7.

The Speaker will then suspend the House and announce where it will congregate and resume sitting at 10 a.m. for the purpose of swearing-in the President-elect.

It will be the second time in the Fourth Republic that a President-elect will be sworn in on the precincts of Parliament. All other Presidents had been sworn in at the Black Star Square. The first was President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2001.

The statement informed the media and the public that attendance of the events would strictly be by invitation, and that all COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols would be strictly adhered to.

Election petition

The election petition is pursuant to Article 64 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, which allows a petition challenging the results of a presidential election to be filed within 21 days after the declaration of the results.

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, announced the results on December 9, 2020, and Mr Mahama filed his petition on the last day of the 21-day window.

2012 petition

The first presidential election petition was filed in 2012 and it challenged the 2012 presidential election results.

The actors in the two petitions are basically the same, but their roles will now change.

Again, although the two petitions seek the same end result, which is the annulment of presidential election results, their forms and substances are completely different.

Substance 

In terms of substance, the 2012 petition, apart from seeking an annulment of the declaration of then President Mahama as the President-elect, also wanted the Supreme Court to declare then candidate Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as the validly elected President of Ghana.

This is completely different from the 2020 petition, in which the petitioner (former President Mahama) is seeking an annulment of the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the President-elect and an order from the apex court directed at the EC to organise a run-off between him and President Akufo-Addo.

This is captured in Relief (f) of former President Mahama’s petition, which is “an order of mandatory injunction directed at the first respondent (EC) to proceed to conduct a second election with the petitioner (Mahama) and second respondent (Akufo-Addo) as the candidates”.

What this means is that whereas then candidate Akufo-Addo, in the 2012 petition, had contended that he had won the 2012 elections, former President Mahama is arguing that none of the candidates got the constitutionally required more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast in the 2020 presidential poll to be declared the winner.

Petitioners/respondents

In the 2012 petition, there were three petitioners — then candidate Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and the then National Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

The respondents were then President Mahama, the presidential candidate of the NDC; the EC and the NDC, which was later allowed by the Supreme Court to join as a respondent following an application for joinder by the party.

The tables have turned in the 2020 petition, with former President Mahama now the only petitioner and President Akufo-Addo and the EC being the only respondents.

The changes in the 2020 petition is as a result of the new Supreme Court rules known as the Supreme Court (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules, 2016, C.I. 99, which stipulate that only a candidate in the presidential election can file a petition challenging the results, while only the candidate declared as the President-elect and the EC can be the respondents.

This means only those with first-hand interest in the election (winner, loser and organiser) can be parties in the petition.

Different issues 

It must be noted that the issues raised in the two petitions are also totally different.

In the 2012 petition, then candidate Akufo-Addo raised issues concerning the whole electoral process — voting, counting, collation and ultimately the declaration.

His case was based on six categories of infractions: over-voting, absence of signatures of the presiding officers on the pink sheets, duplicate serial numbers on the pink sheets, unknown polling stations, duplicate polling station codes and voting without biometric verification.

On the other hand, former President Mahama, in his petition, is raising issues with only the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the President-elect, as announced by the Chairperson of the EC on December 9, 2020.

It is his case that the EC Chairperson breached Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution when she declared President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the December 7 presidential poll because, according to him, the figures declared on December 9 by the EC Chairperson did not give any candidate the more than 50 per cent threshold required to win the election.

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 51.595 per cent of the votes, while he (Mahama) got 6,214,889, representing 47.366 per cent of the votes.

He argued that it was false for the EC Chairperson to have announced that even if all the votes in Techiman South were added to his (Mahama’s), it would still not change the results

“Consequently, if all the votes of Techiman South were added to the petitioner’s (Mahama’s) votes, the 2nd respondent’s (President Akufo-Addo’s) votes will remain the same at 6,730,413, now yielding 49.625 per cent, while the votes of the petitioner will increase to 6,342,907, now yielding 46.768 per cent,” he said.

It is based on this argument that the former President is urging the Supreme Court to order the EC to conduct a run-off between him and President Akufo-Addo, since, in his estimation, no candidate met the more than the 50 per cent threshold as required under Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution.

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