The Supreme Court of the land has dismissed a petition brought before by the 2020 Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) seeking a declaration for a run-off of the Presidential election since none of the candidates (Akufo-Ado and Mahama) obtained a fifty percent plus one of the total valid votes to be declared President-elect.
The apex court has unanimously affirmed the 2020 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as President-elect in the said election as announced by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, Jean Adukwei Mensa, who was the Returning Officer.
In the view of the Supreme Court, the administrative procedure embarked upon by the Chairperson of the EC to correct all the errors in the declaration of the Presidential results were within the mandate of the election management body, noting that the final verdict announced and released by the Commission was a true reflection of the outcome of the 2020 Presidential poll.
This, the apex court argued, was attested to by the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, who mounted the witness box as a witness for the Petitioner (John Dramani Mahama) as testified under cross examination.
“There is no dispute that the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent committed an error which she made when she made the declaration. We are however, satisfied from the evidence on the record that the figures announced as representing the valid votes obtained by the respective candidates were right and represented the will of the voters. We therefore, think that the error committed by the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent cannot void the declaration which actually announced the true wishes of the votes. To hold otherwise, it means that errors in statement and numbers committed by the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent in an election, which do not impact on the outcome of the result, could not nullify the actual result. Indeed, as discussed earlier in this judgment, there is ample evidence that the figures that were announced by the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent clearly gave the 2nd Respondent total valid votes 6, 73410 which represents 51.295% of the total valid votes of 13, 121,111. This satisfied a more than fifty threshold or valid votes required under Clause 3 of Article 63 of the 1992 Constitution. The declaration by the 1st Respondent therefore did not violate Clause 3 of Article 63 of the 1992 Constitution”, the Chief Justice, Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah, who chaired the seven-member panel noted as he read the apex court’s final verdict on the 2020 Election Petition at a hearing on Thursday, March 4, 2021.
He added ““That errors could not take away the valid votes of the people”.
Madam Jean Mensa, as the Returning Officer, announcing the winner of the December 7 Presidential poll told Ghanaians that her outfit recorded 13,434,574 valid votes cast out of which the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo secured 6,730,413, representing 51.59%, and making him the President-elect.
Nana Akufo-Addo obtained 6,730,413 of the total valid votes cast of 13,434,574, representing 51.59%.
“It is my honour of the Electoral Commissioner of Ghana, to declare Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as President-elect of the Republic of Ghana”, she declared.
The Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, being the main contender in the 2020 Presidential poll, on the other hand, also obtained 6,214,889 of the total valid votes cast, representing 47.366%.
Madam Jean Mensah further announced at a press conference held at the Accra International Conference Center on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, the result declared excludes the Techiman South constituency which has a voter population of 128,018.
The outcome of the Techiman South constituency poll, she added, is currently in dispute by the political parties, noting that, if all the votes are even added to that of John Dramani Mahama, it will have no effect on the outcome of the election.
However, the EC in its release dated Thursday, December 10, 2020, summarizing the 2020 Presidential Election results admitted some discrepancies in the figures Chairperson Jean Mensa announced on Wednesday but has no effect on the outcome declared.
According to the release, the total valid votes cast is 13,119,460 instead of the 13,433,573 announced earlier by Chairperson Jean Mensa. The new figures still does not include that of Techiman South.
With the new figures churned out, it means candidate Akufo-Addo of the NPP obtained 6,730,587, representing 51.302% to become the President-elect.
Mr. John Dramani Mahama on the other hand also obtained 6,213,182, representing 47.359% of the total valid votes cast.
“The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission inadvertently used 13,433,573 as the total valid votes cast. The total valid votes cast is 13,119,460. This does not change the percentage stated for each candidate and the declaration made by the Chairperson”, the Commission stated in its statement.
The errors admitted by the EC did not sit down well with the former President, informing Ghanaians that he would seek redress at the Supreme Court since per their calculation, no candidate among the two leading political parties, the NPP and NDC, obtained a fifty percent plus one votes of the total valid votes cast.
Mahama Petitions Supreme Court
True to his words, he filed a Petition at the Supreme Court through his Counsel led by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, praying to the apex court to apart from nullifying the results declared by the EC and ordering for a re-off, a declaration that Chairperson of the EC as the Returning Officer for the Presidential Election of December 2020 was in breach of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution in the declaration she made on December 9, 2020 in respect of the Presidential election that was held on December 7, 2020.
He also prayed to the court seeking a declaration that based on a data contained in the declaration made by Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, the Chairperson or the 1st Respondent and a Returning Officer for the Presidential Election, no candidate satisfied the requirement of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution to be declared a President-elect.
He also sought a declaration that the purported declaration made on December 9, 2020 of the results of the Presidential election by Mrs. Jean Mensa, is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect or whatsoever.
Further to that, an order annulling the declaration of the President-elect instrument 2020, C. I. 135 dated December 9, 2020 issued under the hand of Mrs. Jean Mensa as well as an order of injunction restraining the 2nd Respondent, Nana Akufo-Addo, from holding himself up as President-elect.
That notwithstanding, an order of mandatory injunction directing the 1st Respondent to proceed to conduct a second election with Petitioner and 2nd Respondent as the candidates as required under Article 63(4) and (5) as contained in the 1992 Constitution.
However, the court in its ruling dismissed the Petition, saying that it lacked merit and had no substance to warrant the relief the Petitioner was seeking for.
“We emphasize that the Petitioner did not demonstrate in anyway, how the alleged errors made by the 1st Respondent affected the validity of the declaration made by the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent on the 9th December 2020 and as already stated in this judgment, the Petitioner has not produced any evidence to rebut the presumption created by the publication of C.I. 135 for which his action has failed. We have therefore no reason to order a re-run prayed by the Petitioner. We have only dismissed the Petition as having no merit”, Justice Anin-Yeboah announced.