Ghana election challenge: Akufo-Addo opposes moves by 327 to join petition

Petitioners contesting the legitimacy of President John Dramani Mahama have opposed moves by 327 people to join the petition.

According to the petitioners, the request by the applicants, if granted, “will open the floodgates for every registered voter who claims to have voted in the December 2012 presidential election to apply for joinder, if they so desire, and thereby stultify these proceedings interminably”.

They further argued that there was no need for the applicants to be allowed to join the petition because their arguments had been extensively canvassed by President Mahama, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who are all respondents in the case.

The 327 applicants, who were drawn from some of the 11,916 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place, had argued that the election had been so transparent that there were no disputes after the declaration of the results and for that reason it came as a “surprise” to them when the petitioners identified their polling stations among those where irregularities allegedly took place.

The first to apply for a joinder was the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which applied to join the petition on December 31, 2012, three days after the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 polls, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, had petitioned the Supreme Court challenging the declared results.

In a 6-3 majority decision, the Supreme Court on January 22, 2013 granted the NDC, on whose ticket President Mahama stood for the elections, permission to join the petition.

In 35 different applications, the 327 applicants stated that they were bringing the action in their capacity as citizens who cast their ballots during the December 7 and 8, 2012 polls.

An affidavit in opposition canvassed on behalf of the others by Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said, “It is neither just nor convenient to grant this application and I say this is not a case in which this court ought to exercise its discretion in granting the application.”

According to the petitioners, the whole essence of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 , (C.I. 74) to ensure the speedy determination of any presidential election petition would be defeated if the applicants’ request for joinder was granted.

The affidavit in support said the applicants would in no way be denied their constitutional rights to participate in the decision-making process if the court came to the conclusion that their votes, together with the other contested votes, were annulled in accordance with the electoral laws and regulations of the land.

It said the applicants had also failed to show that their joinder was necessary, adding that the “application for joinder is without merit and brought in bad faith, with the sole purpose of causing undue delay to the determination of this petition, which is of national interest”.

It further pointed out that the election results at the disputed polling stations were not declared in accordance with the electoral laws and regulations of the land, adding that there was no evidence that the applicants cast their ballots in the elections.

“There is no evidence that the applicants cast valid votes in the December 2012 presidential election and that in any event the interest they seek to protect through this application for joinder, the outcome of elections, is adequately protected by all three respondents who are better placed than the applicants to protect the outcome of the elections,” the affidavit in opposition pointed out.

The petitioners suggested that the 327 applicants could serve as witnesses to protect whatever rights they sought to protect, adding, “It is patently untenable that every Ghanaian voter who voted in the 2012 presidential election is entitled to be joined as a necessary party to the present suit.”

They further argued that the applicants did not enjoy the same rights as the petitioners, since “the petitioners are circumscribed by the 21-day statutory limitation imposed on all prospective petitioners from the date of the declaration of results by the second respondent in the presidential election”.

 

Source: Daily Graphic