By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Information indicates that the line of action to be taken on Thursday when the Supreme Court convenes to give its verdict in the NPP’s election petition is likely to be like this: individual members of the panel will likely deliver their separate opinions. Then, the President of the panel, Justice William Atuguba, will go ahead to announce the verdict.
This line of action is good, at least, inasmuch as it will give us the benefit to know which judge will take which stance and say what to justify it. Everything will be done in the open and telecast live for us to know which among the judges will be pro-democracy or anti-democracy.
The basis for the categorization is simple. Elections are won at the polls when voters freely cast their ballots without any intimidation, malpractice, or any other influence to tamper with their electoral decisions; when the elections start and end as stipulated and the results at each polling station are collected/collated, counted, certified as a true reflection of the voters’ political will and announced in the open.
The pro-democracy element also includes the transmission of the outcome of the elections to the relevant points along the chain, namely, from the polling stations to the constituency collation centers, to the regional offices of the Electoral Commission, then, to the national headquarters to be certified and announced by the Chairman of the EC as the genuine outcome of the elections.
That process also includes the participation of all designated officials (be they those working for the EC or the political parties) as defined by law and as supported by the EC’s own rules and regulations, including the fact that non-signing of any document by any official doesn’t invalidate votes genuinely cast.
Pro-democracy means retaining the status quo ante for President Mahama to remain in office because he was the preferred choice of the electorate. His victory took place at the polls in the open.
The category of anti-democracy is not difficult to specify: it has to do with anything outside the parameters set for voting and certification of votes. It is only the votes cast by the electorate in a free, fair, and transparent atmosphere that is the basis for determining winners of losers of general elections. Anything contrary to this fact is anti-democracy.
Thus, on the basis of what informed the petition that the Supreme Court judges have heard, we can conclude that there is nothing pro-democracy about it. Here is why:
Principally, the petitioners are asking the Court to annul over 4 million votes genuinely cast on Election Day, not because there was rigging or any instance of malpractice concerning those votes but just because some Presiding Officers failed to sign the pink sheets on which they recorded results of the elections.
Again, the petition discounts the fact that no polling agent lodged any official protest anywhere in the country to suggest that voting was fraudulent or that the results announced at the various polling stations did not reflect reality.
Furthermore, the various agents of the political parties in the strong room at the EC national headquarters signed the election verification form before the declaration of results by the Chair of the Electoral Commission.
Election monitors—both local and international—who had every opportunity to observe unimpeded the goings-on saw nothing awkward happening and reported at the end of balloting that the elections were free, fair, and transparent.
None of the three NPP petitioners reported seeing or being told of any malpractice at any polling station and, therefore, had no first-hand evidence to adduce in court. They relied on the clerical errors that they noticed in the pink sheets that they selected from only the NDC’s strongholds where President Mahama won the elections.
They brought up nothing from their own strongholds and resisted with their very lives attempts to broaden the picture. Their petition is heavily flawed just as the pink sheet exhibits.
Anti-democracy means anything to the contrary, especially making it possible for Akufo-Addo to be in office through the back-door (on the basis of mere legal technicalities pinned down on clerical errors in pink sheets, not the ballot papers).
A genuine desire to promote democracy on this score would have entailed calling for a re-counting of the ballot papers in areas where the petitioners suspected foul play. But that’s not what has happened.
So, by the end of the evidence-gathering stage, it was clear to all what would constitute a pro-democracy stance and an anti-democracy one. That is what we are waiting to tie the loose ends around; and as the judges will demonstrate on Thursday, we shall all see which of them will be pro-democracy or anti-democracy. Then, we will pick issues up from there.
I shall return…
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