The beginning hearing of the Election Petition case at the Supreme Court was described as pre-trail; or to translate loosely, before the trial of the substantive case. It’s more of parties involved in a given petition/suit gathering at the court to set the ground rules for the particular trail.
The January 19th meeting at the Supreme Court, as pre-trail suggests, was therefore a meeting of all three parties involved in the petition case. These were the Electoral Commission (herein referred to as the 1st Respondent); Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2nd Respondent; and of course, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, the petitioner.
So after all parties were served with the petition, they agreed Thursday, January 14th 2021 that they appear before the seven-member panel of judges presiding over the case on Tuesday, the 19th, to consider to agree on modalities that will define the hearing proceedings.
As has been the practice, all parties were accompanied by their legal teams, which in turn, were led by their lead counsels. Mr. John Mahama was represented by the renowned lawyer, Tsatsu Tsika; Mr. Akufo Addo’s team was led by veteran lawyer, Akoto Ampaw, with Richard Amenuvor representing the Electoral Commissioner and the Electoral Commission.
After the parties had agreed on working modalities, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata set a cracking tone that easily put in perspective, what Ghanaians should anticipate during the duration of the trial proceedings.
First, Tsatsu’s view point was that all issues pertaining to the conduct of the EC in the 2020 election should be narrowed down to the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensah.
There was what seemed an objection from the bench by Justice Amegacher, one of the seven judges presiding over the petition. In the view of his Lordship, Tsatsu’s approach was tantamount to replacing the persona of the EC chairperson with that of the Electoral Commission.
Mr. Tsakata defended his position stoically, maintaining that he couldn’t substitute the name of the EC boss with that of the Commission because Mrs. Jane Mensah was/is the sole returning officer in the presidential election and therefore makes her liable in matters specifically related to the Commission.
The bench had to oblige him, but advised that anytime the name of Jane Mensah was mentioned, the learned lawyer should qualify it with her position as the chairperson of the EC. The crucial point in Tsatsu’s 12 points interlocutory order
In the course of the hearing, counsel for the former President, Mr. Tsatsu Tsakata asked leave of the court in an interlocutory order to demand from Mrs. Mensah, written answers to some 12 questions that he intends asking the EC boss when the real trail begins.
In the estimation of Tsatsu, such answers will help in a speedy trial of the petition. However, the Supreme Court dismissed Tsatsu’s order.
However, it’s maintained that Tsatsu, can still ask those questions orally at the Supreme Court. The most poignant of the 12 points is that of the 4th point which states inter alia:
Did the National Communications Authority facilitate in a way, the transmission of the results to the headquarters of the 1st Respondent?
There is the widely held view that the National Communication Authority (NCA) helped with the transmission of the election results from Regional collated centres to the headquarters of the Electoral Commission.
And that, that was the reason why at a point during the vote counts, the Director General of the NCA, held a press conference to announce that the number of votes percentage build-up of the NPP was the same as that of the EC. Why that precise comparison? Is Joseph Anokye a staff of the Electoral Commission? Many Ghanaians questioned.
Most Ghanaians are interested in this question because that is what is at the heart of the petition; and whether Mr. Mahama’s legal team has the evidence to support the claim that the NCA in any way or form helped with the padding or altering of figures that were transmitted from some collation centres to the headquarters of the EC.
Tsatsu Tsikata’s other points
These are as follows:
Was the practice described in paragraph 1 herein followed in respect of the 7th December 2020 elections?
Is the 7th December, 2020 elections, the first time Regional Collation Centres have been interposed between the Constituency collation centres and the headquarters of 1st respondent?
How were results transmitted from Constituency collation centres to the Regional collation centres?
How were results transmitted from the Regional collation centres to the headquarters of the 1st Respondent?
When did Mrs. Jean Mensah, the chairperson of the 1st respondent and the returning officer for the presidential election, first realized there were errors in figures she had announced in her Declaration of 9th December?
How did Mrs. Jean Mensah, the chairperson of the 1st respondent and the returning officer of the presidential election, get to realize there were errors in figures she had announced in her declaration of 9th December 2020
In respect of the purported corrections made to the figures in the declaration of the 1st respondent, was there any prior process of conferring with agents of the presidential candidates?
Did Mrs. Jean Mensah, the chairperson of the 1st respondent present form 13 to all agents of the presidential candidates to sign, and, if so, did all the agents sign?
On which date did Mrs. Jean Mensah, the chairperson of the 1st respondent, post a copy of the Form 13 at the head office of the 1st respondent?
Did the 1st respondent record any discrepancies which were occasioned by computational and mathematical errors in the course of the Collation of the results?
By: Richmond Keelson