The NPP’s politics of pink sheets falls flat

Sat, 11 May 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

(Part I)

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Friday, May 10, 2013

My good friends, I have been analyzing the circumstances surrounding the NPP’s petition against Election 2012, which the Supreme Court has been hearing for the 14th day so far.

And the most important development at this stage is that the pink sheet exhibits being used by the petitioners are to be recounted by the KPMG firm as ordered by Presiding Judge Atuguba at Tsatsu Tsikata’s insistence. While Bawumia and Philip Addison insisted on 11,842 as the total, Tsatsu and Tony Lithur held otherwise and pressed for a recount/audit, supported by Quashie-Idun, the EC’s lawyer. We are waiting for the KPMG’s recounting of the pink sheets to know what is what. The implications for Bawumia will be dire if the result discounts his claim because the duplicated, triplicated, and quadruplicated pink sheets in the whole lot will be detected and counted out to reduce the quantity from 11,842 to something less. Perjury-in-the-making? After monitoring proceedings to date and paying attention to the nitty-gritty of this petition and the court proceedings, I am more than convinced that the NPP will go nowhere with this case. There are two possible ways by which this can happen: 1. The Supreme Court will not want to curtail anything and, therefore, be patient enough to hear the petition to its logical conclusion but rule against the NPP on the strength of the evidence before it;

2. The Court may be bold enough to dismiss the case midstream if it is convinced that the NPP’s case has crumbled and it will be a waste of time and resources to continue hearing it. This may be a tough call, especially because of the factors that engendered the petition and the hot-headedness of the NPP elements, seeing this petition as their last resort to redeem themselves. The Court will be cautious in dismissing the case so as not to incite the disappointed NPP elements; but if it can no more contain the duplicity unfolding before it, there will be no other option but to dismiss the case as frivolous and empty—and damn the consequences.

Beyond these primary issues, there are other major areas to persuade me. After all, right from the beginning, I saw through this petition and established it as an adroit exit strategy being used by Akufo-Addo and the NPP bigwigs rooting for him to escape the wrath of their followers. In effect, the petition is nothing but a window-dressing and a smokescreen behind which to let off steam and resign themselves to the sad fate that Election 2012 wrought for them. But can they do so without being eaten alive by their own followers?

They knew right from the scratch that they did not win the elections but couldn’t tell their agitated followers whose expectations they had hyped with vain propaganda and false assurances of a “one-touch” victory for Akufo-Addo. These supporters have been held hostage and won’t easily forgive or forget the ordeal when the wool falls off from their eyes. That is why the internal politics of deception and massaging of feelings persists. Beyond this cunning to outwit their benighted followers, Akufo-Addo and his co-petitioners have not kept faith with the Supreme Court itself, as we are being made to see day-in-day-out. Two issues emerge: 1. Why did the petitioners isolate only the Presidential elections to contest (and not the Parliamentary ones too)?

2. Why did they put together only pink sheets from the NDC’s strongholds to complain about irregularities in the entries thereon?

A careful analysis of the situation takes us back to the very seminal conundrum that underlies the petition itself and catalyzed the rush to the Supreme Court by Akufo-Addo and Co. to seek redress when they knew very well that they had not done diligent work to warrant all the time and resources being wasted on the hearing of this petition.

There is too much haphazardness in the manner in which the pink sheets were put together (whether electronically or manually generated). In effect, despite all the time available to the petitioners to put their house in order, they chose to “mess things up” to deceive the Court and the respondents’ legal teams. Unfortunately for them, their treachery has been exposed, which accounts for the numerous objections so far raised by lawyer Addison.

Why is he afraid of pink sheets from the NPP’s strongholds being put under the microscope for the irregularities in the entries to be exposed and explained away as consistent with what the petitioners had selectively put together from the NDC’s stronghold? What are the NPP petitioners scared of to warrant their not wanting Tsatsu to lead evidence concerning the NPP’s strongholds?

Do these NPP petitioners even want the Supreme Court to examine the integrity of Election 2012? If they do, why will they not extend their scrutiny of the pink sheets to all the 26,000 polling stations but limit their work to 24,000 and come out with slightly over 11,000 as their benchmark for alleging irregularities?

In admitting that errors occurred, all that Buwumia has kept saying is that it is an error but it shouldn't affect someone's presidency. Bawumia has admitted the errors detected in the pink sheet exhibits but insisted on explaining that even though there were duplications, triplications, and quadruplications, he used only one pink sheet for his analysis.

Everything he says is tied to this “analysis” as if the Court cares about his self-opinionated understanding of the issues at stake. If the quantum of pink sheets itself has errors, what is the guarantee that the analysis based on it will be valid, error-free, and admissible?

Indeed, Bawumia doesn’t even know that the Court is interested in nothing but irrefutable evidence which, in this case, will be expected to derive from nowhere else but the pink sheet exhibits used as the basis for the petition. Unfortunately for him and his co-petitioners, he continues to admit that the pink sheet exhibits are fraught with anomalies, mislabellings, duplications, triplications, and quadruplications. How damaging!

The Court knows better, which is why it repudiated Bawumia and Addison’s plea to use PowerPoint presentation and CD-ROM as supporting material to present their case. It is beyond argument that the main objective of Tsatsu Tsikata in the cross-examination of Bawumia is to discredit the quantum of evidence presented by the petitioners and to impugn the credibility and integrity of Bawumia himself as the star witness for the petitioners.

So far, Tsatsu has forced Bawumia to admit that there were irregularities in the compilation of the pink sheet exhibits, which is a major advantage for the respondents. Thus, by persistently undercutting the credibility of the exhibits, Tsatsu has succeeded in establishing that most of the pink sheets tendered in court as evidence have been duplicated, triplicated, and quadrupled “to deceive the court.” The total number of polling stations where the electoral malpractices allegedly occurred will definitely be whittled down, which damages the case of the petitioners.

This admission by Bawumia is a major factor in the eyes of the law as far as credibility and the arousal of reasonable doubts in the minds of the judges is concerned. And in matters of the Court, doubts and lack of credibility count a lot.

The matter is accentuated further by the fact that Bawumia wasn’t at any of the polling stations nor is he using first-hand evidence but entries on the pink sheets, a distant second-hand or third-hand information. No direct evidence from Bawumia? Doubts galore!!

Another major stab on the evidence is the interrogation of Bawumia that has revealed that the allegations of over-voting and no signatures on the pink sheets are mere administrative errors. The results were announced at the various polling stations after the counting of ballots. It wasn’t what was recorded on the pink sheets that was declared. So, why the fixation with the entries on the pink sheets?

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.