Counsel for the petitioners in the ongoing election petition, Mr Philip Addison, Monday questioned the purpose for which the petitioners have brought the respondents before the highest court of jurisdiction to challenge results of the December 7, 2012 presidential votes won by President John Dramani Mahama.
Mr Addison sounded frustrated by the responses being given by the second respondent, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission in his attempt to find out the relevance of serial numbers on the ballot papers, pink sheets and ballot boxes.
In Mr Addison’s opinion, apart from the ballot papers, pink sheets and ballot boxes were assigned serial numbers for specific purposes, but Dr Afari-Gyan thought otherwise, explaining that the numbers were not necessarily serial numbers, thus they were not unique in themselves to any polling station.
Dr Afari-Gyan told the court that the pink sheet numbers were for the purposes of counting how many pink sheets had been printed.
Mr Addison then sought further clarifications asking, “So, now in the case of ballot papers which is in the region of fifteen million five hundred thousand, are you telling this court that the number on those ballot papers amounts to numbers printed?”
“No, my lord, no. if you want to print ballot papers, ballot papers are sensitive materials, not just critical, they are sensitive materials. Sensitive materials in the sense that if they fall into the wrong hand they will corrupt the outcome of the election,” Dr Afari Gyan explained.
According to him, “a ballot paper by its very nature is a sensitive item and it must be treated differently from other things.”
“Dr Afari-Gyan you are telling this court that the pink sheet on which any result can be written on to determine the presidency of this country is not sensitive. Is that what you are telling this court, that the pink sheet is not sensitive? Anybody at all can have it, it is not sensitive,” an irritated Mr Addison queried.
“No, that is not what I mean by not sensitive. A ballot box for example, is not a sensitive material. A ballot box is sensitive only when it is in use. Otherwise, it is a simple receptacle but it becomes sensitive when it is being used for an election. Ballot papers from the time of production are sensitive in themselves,” Dr Afari-Gyan added.
“In the way that pink sheets are not?”
“There are different degrees of sensitivity. My Lords what I’m saying is that a pink sheet until it is used is not sensitive.”
At this point, Mr Addison looked peeved by Dr Afari-Gyan’s refusal to accept that the numbers on the pink sheet served more than the purpose of giving information about the number of pink sheets which were printed.
In a very harsh tone, Mr Addison questioned the purpose for which both the petitioners and respondents were in court, saying, “So what are we doing here? We are not talking about empty ballot boxes; we are not talking about empty pink sheets. We are talking about the pink sheets and what they are supposed to do just like the ballot papers.”
In a disproof, Dr Afari- Gyan told the court, “my Lords we are talking about pink sheets with something written on them.”
By Jasmine Arku/Graphic.com.gh