09 Feb Ghana Election petition: Supreme Court to decide whether Jean Mensa mounts witness box
The Supreme Court has adjourned its ruling on the argument by counsel for the petitioner that witnesses of the 1st and 2nd respondents be compelled by the court to take the witness stand in the ongoing election petition hearing.
This follows a decision by the counsels for the 1st and 2nd Respondents not to call forth any witnesses to adduce evidence in court in the matter before the apex court.
Yesterday, the counsels for the two respondents cited Order 38, rule 3 (e) sub-rule 1 and 5 of CI 47 as amended by CI 87 as the basis for their decision to close their case and not call a witness.
Going into details today, both counsels told the apex court that they had expected the petitioner to be happy with their decision since it works in his favour.
Lead counsel for the EC, Justin Amenuvor, supporting his argument with Section 62 of the Evidence Act, held the view that the court cannot compel his client to testify against her will, while lead counsel for the President, Akoto Ampaw maintained that the burden of proof lies with the petitioner and not the respondents.
But disputing these arguments, lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata said since the lawyers have not made a submission of no case, the burden of proof does not apply as argued by the lawyers for the EC and Akufo-Addo.
Mr. Tsikata also explained that the EC Chair had earlier indicated during the application for some interrogatories to be served that she was going to submit herself to cross-examination; the basis for which the court took the decision to dismiss Mr. Mahama’s application.
He insists that the statement by the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa through various affidavits available binds her to be cross-examined.
Again, Mr. Tsikata told the apex court that the EC Chair also has a constitutional duty to give accounts of events that led to the December 9, 2020 election declarations and to clarify how some errors were made.
Concluding his submission, Mr. Tsikata further insisted that Order 38, rule 3 (e) sub-rule 1 and 5 of CI 47 as amended by CI 87 did not apply to the current situation.
The 7-member panel of judges made up of the Chief Justice, Anin-Yeboah; Justices Yaw Appau, Marful Sau, Professor Ashie Kotei, Mariama Owusu, Nene Amegatcher, and Gertrude Tokonor adjourned sitting to Thursday, February 11, 2021 to give its verdict.
EC Chairperson Jean Mensa and NPP’s Peter Mac Manu’s witness statement
The NPP’s Peter Mac Manu and EC Chairperson Jean Mensa filed their witness statement on January 22, to testify against 2020 NDC Presidential Candidate, John Dramani Mahama.
The EC’s statement covered 6 pages and was signed by Jean Mensa.
She commences her testimony by stating that the information she’s putting across is from her own knowledge of events leading to the filing of the petition and other matters that have come after.
She stated that the results of the 2020 elections held on December 7 were collated in accordance with Public Elections Regulations, 2020 (C.I 127).
She points out that Nana Akufo-Addo obtained 6,730,413 of the valid votes cast while John Mahama got 6,214,889.
She adds that the total valid votes stood at 13,121,111.
These figures she asserts shows that Mr. Akufo-Addo got more than 50% of the valid votes.
She additionally argued that whatever votes remained outstanding at the time of declaration could not mathematically change the more than 50% of valid votes obtained by Mr. Akufo-Addo.
She admitted in her testimony that she inadvertently announced 13,434,574 as the total valid votes instead of stating this figure as total number of votes cast.
She insists that a simple tabulation of all votes obtained by each candidate as declared comes to 13,121,111. The form declaring the results, Mrs. Mensa says was signed by 8 agents of the candidates who were present at the time of the completion of the form.
Her inadvertence, she insists did not affect the constrictions threshold of 50% plus 1. The error she explains was immediately corrected the next day by the EC through a statement.
On the Techiman South constituency results which were outstanding at the time of declaration, Mrs. Mensa said its inclusion or exclusion from the votes obtained by the candidates does not change the outcome of the results.
She concludes her testimony by denying claims the Commission padded votes in favour of Nana Akufo-Addo.
Peter Mac Manu’s testimony
The NPP’s Peter Mac Manu commences his testimony by stating that Nana Akufo-Addo has appointed him to testify on his behalf.
He sets off the testimony by saying the petition is without merit and based on unfounded and misconceived assumptions.
He explains that the petition does not disclose any attack on the validity of the election held throughout the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting centers.
He described the allegations of wrong aggregation of votes and vote padding as “empty and collectively involve about 6,622 votes- this is a sum patently insignificant to materially affect the outcome of an election which 2nd respondent defeated Petitioner by well over 500,000 votes.
He also stated that Mr. Mahama does not disclose in the petition the number of valid votes he believes he actually obtained and what Mr. Mahama believes Nana Akufo-Addo got to merit a run off.
“The Petition is largely conjectural and borne out of petitioner’s unfounded imagination”, Mr. Manu adds.
The entire petition he argues is premised on the insignificant accuracies and slips made by the EC Chairperson in her declaration.
He insists further that the petition is a ruse and face-saving gimmick deployed by Mr. Mahama after the official results declared by the EC and election observers showed he had lost the polls despite claiming victory earlier.
He ends by pointing out that he has attached to his statement videos of NDC leaders who had claimed John Mahama won the election by more than 51% of votes casts.
He added that the petition however states that no candidate obtained more than 50% of the votes including the candidate said to have won by more than 51%, that is John Mahama.