Ghana’s Supreme Court has thrown out the election petition filed by the opposition New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo against President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress(NDC).
Reading the verdict, Justice William Atuguba gave the breakdown of the main issues in contention and how the judges individually ruled on them as follows:
1) Over-voting: dismissed by 5 to 4.
2) Voting without biometric verification: dismissed 6 to 3.
3) Absence of signatures: dismissed 5 to 4.
4) Duplicate serial numbers: dismissed unanimously 9 to 0.
5) Duplicate Polling Station Codes: dismissed unanimously 9 to 0.
6) Unknown polling stations: dismissed unanimously 9 to 0.
Summing up the verdict, Justice Atuguba said, “in the circumstances, the overall effect is that the first respondent was validly elected and the petition is therefore dismissed.”
NPP’s Nana Akuffo Addo, his running mate Mahamudu Bawumia and party chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, filed the petition after the Electoral Commission declared sitting President John Mahama winner of the 2012 presidential election. They alleged electoral malpractices. The petition was specifically directed at President Mahama who was represented in court by a team of lawyers led by Tony Lithur- and the Electoral Commission represented by James Quarshie-Idun and his team. The NDC, also filed to join the suit and was represented by Tsatsu Tsikata and his team.
The NPP alleged collusion between the EC and the NDC to rig the election in favor of John Mahama but after 8 months of court proceedings the 9-member panel of judges headed by Justice William Atuguba delivered a final verdict throwing out the petition and effectively upholding the EC’s declaration of John Mahama as the validly elected president of the Republic of Ghana.
He said the details of the judgment would be submitted to the registrar of the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo has called to congratulate the President and concede defeat. In an address broadcast live from his Accra residence, he urged supporters of the NPP to accept the Supreme Court’s verdict. He said, “Whilst I disagree with the verdict of the court, I accept it” and indicated that they have no intention of appealing the verdict. The 69-year-old former Attorney General and Foreign Minister also announced plans to take a break from active politics.
A legal luminary Sam Okudjeto has meanwhile hailed Nana Addo’s concession calling it ‘political maturity’. Many people have also called the verdict and the subsequent concession a victory for Ghana’s democracy and a boost to future elections.
On his part, President Mahama hailed the verdict and praised the conduct of Nana Addo. He promised to unify and develop the country.
The verdict puts an end to a tense period in Ghana during which the United States issued a warning to its citizens in the face of a possible outbreak of violence.
This story is also published on www.saharareporters.com