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Opinions Wed, 17 Jul 2013

The supreme court needs wisdom and courage

to dispense justice

We are approaching the horizon of determination of the election petition and there are seemingly dark cloud curtain of uncertainty at the horizon that face the nation. It will take wisdom to walk cautiously through the minefields leading to this dark cloud curtain. It will also take courage to touch and open the dark cloud curtain that unveils the brightest opportunities beyond the horizon to Ghanaians.

Two of our statesmen, His Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Dr. Busumbru Kofi Annan, who are respectively, embodiment of Tradition and Modernity, have wittedly applied wisdom in their deliveries to ensure our existence beyond the dark cloud curtain as opined by Theodore Bikel (Actor and Performer) “You don’t need modernity in order to exist totally and fully. You need a mixture of Modernity and Tradition”.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in his address, during the NCCE 2013 annual lectures stated “ .. the country is in such a dangerous political minefield that one risks getting blown apart by the incendiary force of combined misinformation, misrepresentation and misconception. Those cautions only helped to underscore the need to undertake this task, to bring our influence to bear in order to help the nation look itself in the mirror, confront its demons and hopefully begin to ponder on a pathway out of the morass afflicting our body politic today”.

Busumbru Dr. Kofi Annan also noted as he urges SC Judges in an article stated “.. Ghana awaits the momentous ruling of the Supreme Court on last December's presidential election. The court has already won plaudits for its rigorous and professional work over the past months. The very uncertainty of the outcome speaks to the independence and credibility of the court. What matters most is that its ruling be based on a thorough and fair examination of all the facts, leading to an impartial adjudication of the competing claims before the court. The ball will soon be back in the politicians' court”.

These two statesmen forewarn of our actions as opined by Martin Luther King Jr. “Nothing in the entire world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. The inherent common danger as depicted by these two statesmen falls dead at the altar of Drifting Politicians and the uncertainty of the outcome of the verdict by the SC. Drifting politicians are at their best to undermine human security for they operate without principles or conscience.

There are various subjectivities surrounding voting without verification, pink sheets without Electoral Commission’s presiding officers’ signature, no verification no vote saga and over voting all in the popular parlance “on the face of the pink sheets. The work of KPMG has almost yielded unclear results and one wonders its importance. Statistically, no one can actually say with certainty the number of agreed pink sheets that can determine the measurable levels of over voting, voting without verification etc. and whether analysis of them can affect the outcome of the results.

I write painstakingly in my analysis on the numerous subjectivities and the precedence the verdict will give in directing future elections to be conducted. We must all have trust that the Justices have the experience in jurisprudence to determine the case brought before the Supreme Court (SC) with empirical verifications of the violations, malpractices, omissions and irregularities.

The decision of the SC can have great deal of unpleasant ramifications on my interest as one of the key stakeholders of election 2012, as an Independent Presidential Candidate. I do not have any option except to put the overarching interest of our nation as the key determinant of my reaction and as a matter of fact all well meaning Ghanaians.

The SC if I may recall is to determine two main issues for trial filed by the three Petitioners. The SC is to translate the issues legally in jurisprudence to give its verdict to reflect in justice according to article 125 of the 1992 constitution. These are;

1. Whether or not there were statutory Violations, Omissions, Irregularities and Malpractices in the conduct of the elections held on December 7 and 8, 2012.

2. The SC to ascertain whether or not the said Violations, Omissions, Irregularities and Malpractices affected the outcome of the results of the election.

Some may have an awesome difficulty how the SC ‘can ascertain’ or better put ‘can discover with certainty’ as per the second issue of its determination. Especially, without recounting randomly whether the model on the face of pink sheets actually reflects the reality of the ballots cast in the ballot boxes for the various polling stations in contestation leaves it in the arena of subjectivity. However, we have absolute trust that such difficulties are what our experienced Justices are going to show leadership.

The act of entrusting ones sovereignty as enshrined in article 1 of 1992 constitution through voting is the effectiveness of any elections and this act must be guided and guarded jealously. No law in Ghana can override this constitutional mandate. The sacredness of sovereignty should not be limited or undermined by anything or entities, by inefficiencies of persons or groups, by institutions and more importantly by Technology. At best sovereignty determination should be enhanced by everything.

The pink sheet which by definition is the statement of poll is a model. A model must always reflect the reality. The reality is the vote cast by individual eligible voters as contained in the ballot boxes. These ballot boxes contain the sovereignty of the people of Ghana through universal adult suffrage. Any attempt to change the contents in the ballot boxes is tantamount to changing the sovereignty of Ghanaians. An act that I may presumably state is treasonable. Thus the integrity of the ballot boxes is paramount to ascertaining the reality on the face of the pink sheets as you and I were not there.

We should face the demon in our political discourse so as to chat the path of dignity. The Justices will provide understanding, for the possible precedence to be set in our electoral processes. Especially, how can the inability of a presiding officer to sign or the inability of a technology to verify ones physical presence can limit any Ghanaian to exercising his /her constitutional duty to the state through voting?

The other subjectivity on the actual number of pink sheets tendered as per KPMG’s report hinders actual use of scientific approach in determining the confidence interval in order to ascertain how it affected the results in the various categories of violations, omissions, malpractices and irregularities. Knowing the number of pink sheets filed by petitioners in the various categories, one can use statistical formulae in determining the 95% or 99% confidence interval of verification of the model pink sheets empirically with the reality ballot box.

The subjectivity in ascertaining the integrity of the actual votes cast by Ghanaians lies in the purview of our nine Justices in line with 1992 constitutional mandates. Especially protecting sovereignty and safeguarding future precedence for our electoral processes. We need to include traditional electoral processes as alternative with modern biometric processes in order for us as Ghanaians to exist fully.

These subjectivities on this land mark case clearly show that our Justices have the sole mandate to declare the verdict and we must all respect with utmost understanding that it will not favour some people. We hope that the verdict will have broader positive ramifications on future elections. The most single determinant is courage rooted in wisdom that will give victory to Ghana and democracy. The most important part will be the fact that as a nation we should not miss the greatest opportunity in dealing with a recycling phenomenon of elections’ integrity in clear eyed-terms by Ghanaians for the Africa continent.

Oh God of Jacob, at this moment of our history in our country Ghana, may you give wisdom and courage to our nine (9) Justices in order to administer JUSTICE to the sovereign will of Ghanaians, for the election 2012 petition brought before the Supreme Court (SC). Oh Lord, God, may you help the rest of Ghanaians that we may see the opportunities ahead of us as a nation, that we may also apply our hearts to wisdom when the SC makes its declaration. Amen.

Columnist: Yeboah, Jacob Osei