General News Thu, 1 Aug 2013

Petitioners are hot over Akufo Addo’s ‘Voter First’ mantra

Two respondents in their respective addresses at the Supreme Court in the ongoing election petition have hanged and nailed the petitioners on a cross of a profound statement made by the 1st petitioner, Nana Akufo-Addo, sometime back about the sanctity of votes in a democracy, to prove their claim that the petition was an act of “bad faith”.

Nana Akufo-Addo’s words in the last election have not just given the respondents the lethal ammunitions to hogwash the petitioners’ case, it is also said to have created serious confusion in the camp of the petitioners’ legal team, The Al-Hajj can today report.

It would be recalled that, at a press conference at Alisa Hotel on December 28, 2012; and immediately after the legal team of the NPP filed the petition on behalf of three leading members of the party, Nana Akufo-Addo, who doubles as the 1st petitioner, unequivocally stated that “the heart of a democratic process is about those who cast the vote”.

In emphasizing the importance of a vote, Nana Akufo-Addo confidently averred “it must be pointed out that the sanctity of the ballot is and must be supreme. In an election, we cast votes, then the votes are counted, the count is collated, the results are announced and formal declarations of the results are made…

In the entire process, we must never forget that it is the casting of the ballot that is sacred; the rest of the activities are at best, administrative duties. The count, the collation, the declaration of results cannot and should not be more important than the sacred, God-given right of a citizen casting his or her ballot.”

According to Nana Addo: “There is only one principle. Elections are about those who cast the vote, not those who count, not those who supervise, not those who transmit and not those who declare. The heart of the democratic process is about those who cast the vote”.

Ironically, whiles delivering a verdict on the 3rd respondent’s inability to meet the courts July 30 deadline for filing of written addresses, the Justices rebuking Mr. Tsikata, and akin to Nana Akufo-Addo’s earlier comments that voters must not suffer from the administrative errors committed by election officials, emphatically stated that the president must not be left to suffer for the ‘sins’ of his lead counsel as such, they were allowed to file their address.

Drawing from the groundbreaking pronouncement of the 1st petitioner at a time he was highly convinced by the analyses of Dr. Bawumia that the Electoral Commission stole his votes and added it to that of president Mahama to rob him of victory in the last election, a source close to the respondents told The Al-Hajj that, Nana Akufo-Addo’s statement exposed the hypocrisy and double standards of the petitioners.

Nana Akufo-Addo, in pursuit of achieving his childhood dream of becoming president like his late father, is in court trying to impress upon the Supreme Court Justices to throw away millions of valid votes cast across the country because in his mind there were some irregularities.

However, a source close to the respondents told this paper that, Nana Akufo-Addo, who, prior to the hearing of the election petition knew that in a democracy, ballot cast was an inalienable right of a person and cannot and indeed, must not be transferred, annulled or denied him/her on the basis of so-called ‘irregularities’, now wants the court to annul over 4 million votes based on irregularities, is a clear case of bad faith.

“Nana Akufo-Addo in his own words strongly believed that, elections are about those who cast their votes, and once the voters cast their votes, those who count the votes, those who supervise the counting and those who declare the results do not matter… Nana Akufo-Addo said what matters most in elections or democratic process are the voters, but you have the same person seeking to invalidate votes because of administrative errors, if this is not the case of bad faith, what else could it be?” the source quizzed.

Our source revealed that both the 1st and 3rd respondents have argued that the petitioners’ action was an act of bad faith and brazen attempt by them to find some reason to question the validity of the December 7 and 8 presidential elections after they had lost, stressing that, Nana Akufo-Addo’s statement “clearly vindicates our position.”

“This is a party even before the EC boss announced the election results, their campaign Chairman, Boakye Agyaku issued a statement, declaring the election as free and fair; as if that was not enough, the NPP’s General Secretary, Sir John at a press conference mid-way into the polls called on party supporters to wear white clothes to church because Nana Addo had won the election whiles Nana Addo himself, capped it with this statement… as far as we are concerned, the petition must be thrown out,” the source added.

According to the source, just as the presidential election, the results of the parliamentary elections held on the same days and time was announced by officials of the second respondent in the various constituencies, and therefore, the petitioners cannot consistently claim that the presidential elections were conducted irregularly, in respect of voter verification, for instance; whiles acknowledging the validity of the parliamentary elections on the basis of which members of parliament from their party have taken their seats in Parliament

Even as the respondents may be having a good smile as a result of Nana Akufo-Addo’s statement, which they insist makes their ‘bad faith’ claim more viable, a source close to the 1st petitioner disclosed to this paper that, the twice defeated presidential candidate uttered those words because, he was initially made to believe that a substantial amount of his votes was stolen and added to that of President Mahama.

The source said, the initial findings of the Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia led team that gathered their so-called water-tight evidence for the case made it known to Nana Akufo-Addo that his votes were illegally added to the president, a statement which emboldened the Minority leader in Parliament, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and the Party’s General Secretary, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie to have declared that 150,000 and one million votes of Nana Akufo-Addo, respectively, was added to President Mahama’s votes.

He confirmed that the former Foreign Affairs Minister under the Kufuor administration now believes he was badly misled by Dr. Bawumia and now praying that the respondents will not make a case out of his earlier position.

But, unfortunately for Nana Akufo-Addo, Counsels for the 1st and 3rd respondents have latched on to the former Abuakwa South Member of Parliament’s statement to prove their case of bad faith, bearing in mind article 42 of the 1992 constitutions which guarantees the right for every citizen of Ghana 18 years and above, the right to register and vote in any election or referendum.

And also, Article 21(3) under the General Fundamental Freedoms as well as under Article 55(2) which gives every citizen of Ghana of voting age the right to join a political party and to freely participate in the shaping of the political will of the people.

A constitutional legal expert told this paper that “Nana Akufo-Addo’s statement is exactly what the MPs in parliament are benefitting from because you can’t tell me that the irregularities that the petitioners have cited as the bases on which over 4 million votes must be annulled did not occur on any of the pink sheets in the various polling stations across the 275 constituencies in the parliamentary elections…

“If you have MPs whose election might also be fraught with same irregularities but are serving their term in parliament unchallenged, why then do you want the president to be dislodged as a result of the same administrative challenges which Nana Addo said is unimportant when it comes to the sanctity of votes?”

The petitioners, 1st and 2nd respondents, just as the court ordered filed their written addresses at the registry of the Supreme Court on July 30, but the 3rd respondent’s address was filed in the early morning of yesterday due to what the their led counsel, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata said was as a result of slight challenges.

The court adjourned to Wednesday, August 7, 2013 for final oral addresses by the parties subject to the day on which the celebration of Eid al-Fitr falls.

Source: The Al-Hajj
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