By Margaret Jackson
April 21, 2013
It is extremely difficult to regroup or recover whenever your confidence is badly shaken to the core. Only few people are able to climb from the deep hole whenever they are cut to size, which is why Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, the past NPP vice presidential candidate who had his baptism of fire at the Supreme Court (SC) as the star witness in the on-going electoral challenge of the 2012 Presidential Election, has a tall mountain to climb.
It was on Wednesday April 17 that many Ghanaians who have been glued to their television sets had the opportunity to see Dr Bawumia present his evidence in chief. Before the presentation by Bawumia to the SC the expectations of Ghanaians were very high considering the hype from the NPP quarters that he was going to mesmerize the whole world with tons of impeccable compelling evidence that will blow the minds of the justices sitting on the case to pieces.
Therefore, when the stakes were set, Ghanaians expected something extraordinary from Bawumia to send the respondents packing and panting for breath. Little did many people know that Bawumia who has become the darling boy of the NPP, has little to show in terms of compelling electoral fraud evidence.
Apart from the occasional smiles and numbers that Bawumia crammed and churned out, many observers realized that he could not coherently answer some of the questions posed by his lead counsel, Mr Phillip Addison. That was why as a face saving strategy, Mr Addison respectfully asked for an adjournment from the justices siting on the case claiming that Bawumia was tired and needed rest.
The request for an adjournment clearly took many Ghanaians aback because it has been the NPP which had been accusing the NDC of trying to adopt some delaying tactics to deny their defeated candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of victory in the case.
When the justices granted the adjournment request from the NPP, many expected that Bawumia who was in the witness box for the first time in his life, will go home and really do his homework well before returning to the stand.
But Bawumia who probably thought that just churning out a litany of allegations was all what one needed to win a high profile case as this came back looking very flat and uninspiring. In fact, many Ghanaians who have been following the case can testify that some of the things Bawumia said on Thursday were just duplication of what he said a day earlier.
All this while that Dr Bawumia was giving his evidence in chief, the high profile lawyers of the three respondents namely Tony Lithur, Quashie-Idun and Tsatsu Tsikata have been lacing their boots to punch holes into the evidence presented by Bawumia.
It was therefore no wonder that when Tony Lithur who had the first shot to cross-examine Bawumia, sought to cast serious doubts on the evidence before the SC. Mr Lithur systematically and judiciously brought not one but thirty eight (38) pink results sheets that Bawumia and Co. have tendered in evidence to the Court. But the catch was that Bawumia had duplicated those pink results sheets by creating different exhibit numbers from the same polling stations to deliberately shore up figures to back his claims to deceive the court.
Another bombshell that cut Bawumia to size was when Mr Lithur pointed out to him that some of the serial numbers on the pink results sheets have been tampered with or changed. Perhaps the icing on Lithur’s cake was when he told Bawumia and the packed court that some of the duplicated sheets have different signatures of the electoral officers.
It will only be Gloria Akuffo, the spokesperson for the petitioners, whose demeanour in court during these startling revelations by Tony Lithur was very telling, who will still sound exuberant and even state on record that Bawumia was solid and that she was confident of the NPP winning the case. Gloria Akuffo may have forgotten that in her first interview with GTV after the case was adjourned she categorically stated that the NPP made too many mistakes processing data manually due to time constraints that is why they went electronic. That admission alone should have prompted Gloria Akuffo to weigh whatever she said afterwards.
Again, it will take Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, NPP General Secretary, who sat stoned faced during these excruciating times when Bawumia suddenly became just an average Joe who kept moving from one side to the other and occasionally shaking his head to come out and spin that Bawumia dazzled the NDC.
You can only imagine what is in store for Bawumia considering his shaky start during cross-examination. This case is definitely no child’s play, therefore Bawumia should gird his loins and be more than prepared because the holes that have been punched into his evidence by Tony Lithur puts a serious doubt on the case and his credibility.
This is a case that Bawumia told Ghanaians that he chaired a committee that came out with the mystery numbers and evidence, therefore the onus is on him to prove and defend the evidence at stake. But with Bawumia’s buoyancy dented by Lithur who is set to do further damage to him when the case resumes next week, Bawumia may have put a whole load on himself.
In cases of such nature, if the justices tend to believe that you did something uncanny to buttress your evidence, you are toast. Therefore, if the NDC is able to prove that some of the serial numbers were changed or some signatures were forced on the pink results sheets by the NPP that alone can constitute a criminal matter.
This may not be good times for the NPP because their ‘bully’ lead counsel, Philip Addison was totally cowed when Mr Lithur went on the demolition exercise on Bawumia. The faces of the NPP lawyers and supporters at the court house portrayed to all viewers that they have indeed reached unchartered waters in the electoral dispute. If you don’t believe this just see how all the NPP supporters including Akufo-Addo scampered out of the court room immediately the case was adjourned.
Bawumia will have the toughest battle to contend with. It’s going to be brutal and believe me he will never emerge unscathed.