Is the NDCs presidential petition frivolous and vexatious?

Supreme Court Ghana1 The Supreme Court of Ghana

Sat, 2 Jan 2021 Source: Kofi Ata

I have avoided posting an article on the December 7, 2020 presidential election results as declared by the Electoral Commission (EC) on December 9, 2020 because I was under the impression that the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had impeccable evidence to prove that either the presidential candidate of the ruling party, the National Patriotic Party (NPP), President and President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo did not gain the 50% plus one vote to secure an outright victory and therefore there should be a second-round or the NDC presidential candidate and former president John Mahama gained more than 50% plus one vote so he should have been declared the winner. Since the EC declared the results on December 9, 2020 the NDC has made a lot of noise and demonstrated in some major cities of the country, called press conferences to allege fraud, voter rigging, vote padding, etc and therefore would challenge the results at the Supreme Court (SC). Finally, the NDC presidential petition was lodged with the Supreme Court yesterday, December 30, 2020. Hurray !!!!!

I received a pdf copy later in the afternoon and after watching a disappointing Newcastle – Liverpool match last night as Liverpool failed to score from the numerous chances, I decided to read the 35-page petition. After reading it, I asked myself these questions:

• Is that it?

• Has NDC got more evidence of vote rigging by way of polling station or constituency pink sheets that will be presented to the SC during the hearing or all the evidence is what is contained in the petition?

• Is this all about technicalities based on EC’s Mathematical or computation errors?

• If there are no further evidence, then why the petition?

I was extremely disappointed and saddened by the contents of the petition, particularly the evidence by way of exhibits because the numbers involved were minuscule and in reality irrelevant to the final outcome of the results declared by the EC. In fact, in my view, the whole exercise was a complete waste of time.

Let me look at some of the specific evidence contained in the petition, which I heard before and did not make sense to me. In fact, they were illogical. These were related to the Techiman South Constituency results as contained in Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Petition in page 8 as follows:

“The Techiman South Constituency has a total registered voter population of 128,018, and if added to the total valid votes announced by Mrs Jean Adukewi Mensa as cast (13,434,574), the resultant figure would now be 13,562,592”;

“Consequently, if all votes of Techiman South Constituency were added to the Petitioner’s votes 2nd Respondent’s (that is Nana Akufo-Addo) votes would remain the same at 6,730,413 now yielding 49.625%, while the votes of the Petitioner would be increased to 6,342,907, now 46.768%”; and

“Therefore, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa’s claim in the purported declaration on 9 December 2020 that adding the 128,018 votes in the Techiman South Constituency to the votes standing to the name the Petitioner would not change the results, was clearly wrong”.

I struggle to understand the logic of the above three sections, particularly Section 16 and 17. This is because NDC is claiming that if all the 128,018 registered voters are added to the total valid votes cast on December 7, 2020, then Nana Akufo-Addo would not have obtained the 50% plus one vote to win outright but will only gain 49.625%. That is the most bizarre argument or calculation I have even come across in my short life of at least, six decades.

Let us even assume that the total registered voters actually did vote on December 7, 2020. There would been rejected votes so not all the 218.018 could be added to the valid votes cast on December 7, 2020. Again, not all the valid votes or registered voters from the Techiman South Constituency (assuming NDC is right) are added to the national total valid votes cast to calculate the percentages the two leading candidates got without adding their respective valid votes from the constituency. That is utter madness, deliberately manufactured in the minds of NDC just to reduce candidate Akufo-Addo’s total valid votes and the percentage. It is totally fraudulent by NDC.

The right approach is to add the respective total valid votes of each candidate from the Techiman South Constituency and recompute the percentages. From the Techiman South Constituency pink sheet posted on the EC’s webite, the total valid votes were 99,436 of which Nana Akufo-Addo got 43,379 and John Mahama received 52,034. If the figures are added, the national total valid votes cast is 13,534,010. Nana Akufo-Addo’s total valid votes become 6,776,792 and John Mahama’s total votes become 6,266,923 (using the figures declared by the EC and adding the results from the Techiman South Constituency).

The above means Nana Akufo-Addo gained 50.072% of the total valid votes cast and therefore won outright. John Mahama also gained 46.305%. Based on their own argument using Techiman South Constituency results as the basis of their petition, had the EC not excluded the Techiman South results, their petition fails and is dismissed outright.

In Exhibit E of the petition on page 21 there is a difference of 960 votes that NDC claims were over-voting in eleven constituencies. There is no indication of which of the two leading candidates benefited from the over-voting but assuming Nana Akufo-Addo benefited from all the 960 votes, it is insignificant to affect the final outcome because that would have reduced his percentage to 50.065%, which is still an outright win.

Exhibition F on page 33 also relates to alleged padding of votes in favour of Nana Akufo-Addo. These total up to 5,662 votes. Assuming these are accurate, then if the 5,622 votes are subtracted from Nana Akufo-Addo’s total valid votes, that will leave him with 6,770,170 total valid votes which is 50.023% also more than enough to secure him an outright victory. So again, on the allegation of over-voting and padding, Nana Akufo-Addo still won the presidency outright or by one touch.

From the above, unless NDC has more credible evidence of EC’s Mathematical errors that did not only positively benefited Nana Akufo-Addo and negatively affected John Mahama but also would significantly affect the final outcome, then, the petition is simply frivolous and vexatious. It’s a complete waste of time because irrespective of the EC’s computational errors, the final outcome is an outright win for Nana Akufo-Addo based on the evidence provided in their own petition. NDC should therefore withdraw their petition and apologise to the people of Ghana for all the inconvenience caused as well as the international embarrassment caused to Ghana.

Not withstanding the above, this is not to ignore the computational errors of the EC but there will be time for that debate. NDC is assuming that the Justices of the Supreme Court will buy their legal arguments based on technicalities of EC’s computational errors. They are very mistaken because the question to be posed and answered is, had the EC computational errors not occurred, what would have been the outcome of the presidential election or had the computational errors outlined in the petition been corrected by the EC, what would have been the outcome of the presidential election held on December 7, 2020? The answer is, without any iota of doubt, an outright victory for Nana Akufo-Addo of at least, 50.023%. I rest my case.

Columnist: Kofi Ata