Working out simple arithmetics was at the heart of the decision by the Supreme Court to dismiss the 2020 presidential election petition.
With the calculations based on additions and subtractions, the apex court was able to determine that President Akufo-Addo indeed won the December 7, 2020 presidential election by obtaining more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
These calculations were based on the figures used by the Electoral Commission (EC) in the declaration of the presidential results on December 9, 2020.
In dismissing the petition filed by former President John Dramani Mahama, the court held that the petitioner did not provide any evidence to challenge the figures announced by the EC.
In fact, the court opined that the petitioner relied on the figures declared by the EC as the basis for his claim that no candidate won the 2020 presidential elections, but no matter how the petitioner stretched it, the figures in the declaration clearly showed that President Akufo Addo met the more than 50 per cent threshold.
On December 9, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, announced the 2020 presidential election results.
At the time the declaration was made, the presidential election results from Techiman South were outstanding.
Per the declaration by the EC boss, President Akufo Addo had 6,730,413 of the total valid votes cast, former President Mahama garnered 6,214,889, Christian Kwabena Andrews got 105,565, Ivor Kobina Greenstreet had 12,215, Akua Donkor -
5,575, Henry Herbert Lartey - 3,574, Hassan Ayariga - 7,690, Kofi Percival Akpaloo - 7,690, David Apasera - 10,887, Brigitte Dzogbenuku - 6,848, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings - 6,612 and Alfred Kwame Asiedu Walker - 9,703.
The EC chairperson said the total valid votes were 13,434,574 and declared President Akufo-Addo as the President-elect with 51.595 per cent of the total valid votes cast.
Mr Mahama filed the petition with a case that no candidate got more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes per the declaration made by Mrs Mensa.
He said the actual total valid votes should be 13,121,111 (a summation of the valid votes garnered by all the 12 candidates) and not the 13,434,574 as declared by Mrs Mensa.
According to the petitioner, a calculation of what President Akufo-Addo got (6,730,413) as a percentage of the total valid votes announced by the EC Chairperson (13,434,574) would be 50.098 per cent and not the 51.595 per cent as stated by Mrs Mensa.
Even with this calculation, one would think that the petitioner had clearly admitted that President Akufo-Addo still crossed the more than 50 per cent mark.
But that is not the case because the results from Techiman South were still outstanding at the time the Chairperson of the EC made the declaration on December 9, 2020.
While making the declaration, Mrs Mensa said if all the votes in Techiman South (128,018) were added to former President Mahama’s votes, President Akufo-Addo would still meet the more than 50 per cent threshold.
Mr Mahama disagreed in his petition and did a calculation that in his estimation would clearly show that President Akufo-Addo fell below the more than 50 per cent mark.
He added the total valid votes of 13,434,574 as announced by Mrs Mensa to 128,018 (total registered voters in Techiman South). The resulting figure was 13,562,595 which in the petitioner’s view should be the new total valid votes cast.
Going by Mrs Mensa’s statement, Mr Mahama added all the 128,018 votes to his votes as announced by Mrs Mensa (6,214,889) and arrived at 6,342,907 votes.
Using his new total valid votes of 13,562,595, Mr Mahama argued that a percentage of President Akufo-Addo’s votes of 6,730,413 expressed as a percentage of the 13,562,595 should have been 49.625 per cent.
It was based on this analysis that the petitioner argued that no candidate in the 2020 presidential election garnered more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes and, therefore, the Supreme Court should order a run-off between him (Mahama) and President Akufo-Addo.
However, in its unanimous decision, the apex court held that it was clear that the chairperson of the EC inadvertently used 13,434,574 which was actually the total votes cast (total valid votes plus rejected ballots) as the total valid votes.
The total valid votes, the court said, should be 13,121,111 (summation of the actual valid votes all the candidates got).
It was the considered view of the court that the petitioner even acknowledged the total valid votes to be 13,121,111 and not 13,434,574.
Also, the court held that during cross-examination, the first witness of the petitioner, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, admitted that the total valid votes should be 13,121,111.
Again, it said Mr Asiedu Nketiah admitted that a percentage of President Akufo-Addo’s total valid votes (6,730,413) against the total valid votes (13,121,111) would be 51.295 per cent.
In view of these admissions by both the petitioner and his witness, and the fact that the calculations would lead to the same figures, the court concluded that President Akufo-Addo got 51.295 per cent of the total valid votes cast per the declaration made by the Chairperson of the EC on December 9, 2020.
Techiman South permutations
It was now time for the court to factor in the results from Techiman South, and analyse whether or not the Chairperson of the EC was right in saying that President Akufo-Addo would still meet the more than 50 per cent threshold even if all the votes in the constituency were given to Mr Mahama.
Doing the calculation, the court added the total valid votes of 13,121,111 to that of the total registered voters in Techiman South (128,018) and arrived at 13,249,129, which will be the total valid votes for the calculation. The court then added the 128,018 to Mr Mahama‘s votes (6,214,889) which led to 6,342,907.
Since the assumption is that President Akufo-Addo will not get any votes in Techiman South, his total valid votes will still be 6,730,413.
The court then calculated the total valid votes of President Akufo-Addo (6,730,413) as a percentage of new total valid votes (13,249,129) and got 50.7989 per cent.
This made the court to uphold the statement by the EC chairperson during the declaration that President Akufo-Addo would still meet the more than 50 per cent threshold if all the votes in Techiman South were given to former President Mahama.
It was also the considered view of the court that at the time the petition was filed, the results of the presidential election in Techiman South had been announced, a fact that was even acknowledged by the petitioner in the petition.
Per the results, out of the registered voters of 128,018, the valid votes cast were 99,438, out of which President Akufo-Addo got 46,379, with former President Mahama obtaining 52,034.
When the results are factored into what was declared on December 9, the court said the new national total valid votes would now be 13,220,547 (13,121,111 plus 99,438), while the total valid votes for President Akufo-Addo would be 6,776,792 (6,730,413 plus 46,379), that of Mr Mahama would be 6,266,923 (6,214, 899 plus 52,034).
The court held that a percentage of President Akufo-Addo’s total valid votes (6,776,792) over the new total valid votes (13,220,547) would be 51.259 per cent.
In conclusion, the court held that President Akufo-Addo met the more than 50 per cent criterion in Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution per the declaration made by the EC chairperson on December 9, 2020.
It further held that with or without the inclusion of the results from Techiman South, President Akufo-Addo still met the threshold to become the constitutionally elected President of the Republic of Ghana.