Documentary on 2012 election petition premiers in Accra

Author: Victor Kwawukume
Documentary on 2012 election petition premiers in Accra

A documentary on the historic election petition in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election premiered in Accra last Wednesday.

The film, titled: 'Election Petition', and produced by SOAS and Spurs, traces the epic outcome of the 2012 presidential election and the subsequent processes leading to the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court on the validity of the results of that election.

Among the patrons who graced the event, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, were President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was the Special Guest of Honour, and other high-ranking officials of state.

Also well represented were top-ranking officials of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Ghana received a landmark ruling in 2013 after an eight-month-long case at the Supreme Court over the validity of the results of the 2012 presidential election.

The petition

The petition was filed by Nana Akufo-Addo, the then presidential candidate of the NPP; his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, then Chairman of the NPP.

The 60-minute film, which is in four parts, chronicled Ghana's electoral progress from the Gold Coast legislative election of 1951 to the 2016 general election and the impact of the 2013 petition on the country’s democracy.

Part one of the film gives a short history of elections in Ghana from 1951 to 2012. Each election is depicted by footage from that era.

Attention is given to the election of 1992, the dispute that followed and the improvement that came about in 1996 and 2000. Attention is also given to the closeness of Election 2008.

The second part highlights the socio-political background from which the petitioners came to the case, paying more attention to the first petitioner, Nana Akufo-Addo, and his political and legal history.

It highlights the petitioner’s extensive contribution as an advocate to the constitutional jurisprudence of Ghana and his contribution to government as Attorney-General and also Foreign Minister.

Testimonials are also given about Dr Bawumia, with a focus on the new brand of advocacy that he has introduced to political campaigning showing a high reliance on data.

The case

The third part deals with the case itself, the complexity, the drama, the gimmicks, the attestations, the application of legal processes and procedures, as well as the live coverage of the event.

Part four examines the effects of the petition on the constitutional and electoral process and its impact on the 2016 general election.

This part also shows exclusive footage taken during the hours before President Mahama placed a call to Nana Akufo-Addo to concede defeat, the reactions and also the first responses after the Electoral Commission (EC) had declared the results of the election.

The documentary ends on the administration of the oath to the new President and the Vice-President.

Background

The 2012 election petition was pursuant to the provisions of the 1992 Constitution.

The petitioners prayed the court to declare their candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, as President, with reasons that unpardonable malpractices and irregularities at 10,119 polling stations justified the nullification of 3,931,339 “invalid votes” which, they (petitioners) argued, would have beaten down John Mahama’s votes and overturned the declared results by the EC.

But the nine-member panel, in its ruling read by Mr Justice William Atuguba, upheld Mahama as the constitutionally elected President.

The other justices who sat on the case were Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Constance Owusu, Jones Victor Dotse, Anin Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, N. S. Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.

The Supreme Court further made some recommendations to the EC for subsequent elections.

Although Nana Akufo-Addo disagreed with the court’s ruling, he accepted it in good faith.