The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has reiterated its position that its candidate in the December 2012 presidential election, Mr John Dramani Mahama, genuinely won the election.
In a 69-page address filed at the Supreme Court registry on July 31, 2013, the party is of the view that the very petition challenging the legitimacy of President Mahama had no leg to stand on from the day it was filed to the day the hearing of the petition ended.
“In this case the petitioners have not even crossed the threshold of discharging the evidential burden. As a result of their inability to produce material that they claimed they were supplying as evidence and because of the confused state of the material they supplied, a value of zero is the necessary outcome for the Petitioners,” the NDC argued in its address.
The address, filed on behalf of the party by one of the lawyers for the NDC, Mr Samuel Codjoe, indicated that the petitioners failed to establish that there were indeed irregularities of over-voting, persons voting without undergoing biometric verification, some presiding officers not signing pink sheets and some pink sheets having duplicate serial numbers.
It drew excerpts from evidence of the witnesses in the case and relied on areas that strengthened the NDC’s claim that the election was indeed free, fair and transparent.
“The documentary evidence provided by them and the oral testimony of their witness, the 2nd Petitioner, contain admissions about the results declared which fundamentally undermine the case of the petitioners and confirm the position of the respondents that the elections were conducted freely and fairly and that the results declared by the Chairman of second Respondent, namely that the first Respondent was the winner of the 2012 Presidential election, reflected the sovereign will of the people of Ghana and were lawful.
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“It is our submission that the petitioners have woefully failed to establish the alleged ‘irregularities, violations’ etc, nor have they proved that the alleged ‘irregularities, violations’ etc affected the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election,” the address stated.
The party also made reference to records of proceedings and evidence from witnesses in the case to prove its argument that “the case presented by the petitioners comes nowhere close to discharging the burden of proof that lies on them to establish their allegations and warrant the reliefs they seek from this Honourable Court.”
No evidence of irregularities
It submitted that on a correct interpretation of constitutional provisions and other laws governing the election and having regard to the evidence before the court, the following conclusions regarding the main allegations of the petitioners emerge clearly:
It said there was no evidence that any voter in the election voted more than once or that any person not entitled to vote was allowed to vote, adding that “indeed, the evidence proffered by petitioners themselves showed overwhelmingly that the agents of the 1st Petitioner, as well as other agents, signed the declaration of results in the various polling stations after votes were counted in full public view.”
The first petitioner is Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, while the second and third petitioners are his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.
According to the NDC, there were no complaints by the agents of the candidates at polling stations or constituency centres regarding the allegation that over-voting was recorded anywhere.
“The claims of over-voting of the petitioners were, in large part, admitted not to hold and were abandoned by second Petitioner under cross-examination. Claims still pressed by petitioners are also untenable on a proper interpretation of information provided on the pink sheets and available evidence and must all be rejected,” the party held.
The party argued that the challenges of using biometric verification devices for the first time in elections in Ghana were successfully overcome and no one voted without going through the biometric verification process.
“The testimony provided by the Chairman of the second Respondent, about the C3 column on the Statement of Poll and Declaration of Results for the office of the President forms (“the pink sheets”) was unchallenged and explained the problems the Presiding Officers had in filling that part of the pink sheet,” the address submitted .
No Signatures of Presiding Officers
Dismissing calls by the petitioners for the annulment of votes because of absence of signatures of the presiding officers on pink sheets, the NDC said that issue “does not justify annulment of votes that were cast lawfully in the exercise of the constitutional rights of citizens.”
“While failure to sign constitutes a breach of the duty imposed on that election official by the Constitution, nowhere does the Constitution require or justify the annulment of votes cast and, hence, the results announced at the relevant polling station because of such a breach,” the address pointed out.
The party was of the view that the said presiding officers could be compelled to perform their duty to sign by order of mandamus, adding that “annulment of votes in these situations would not only be an unconstitutional deprivation of the right to vote of the citizen but would also amount to punishing innocent voters retroactively for the omission of the presiding officer.”
Duplicate Serial Numbers on Pink Sheets
According to the NDC, serial numbers were not, and had never been, security features on pink sheets, unlike ballot papers and argued that “the petitioners have provided no legal basis for this category of their claim.
By Mabel Aku Baneseh/Daily Graphic/Ghana