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Election Petition Case: Bawumia Testifies


Photo Reporting: Dr BawumiaElection Petition Case: Bawumia Testifies

Second day of the Election petition case which is underway at the Supreme Court started with New Patriotic Party (NPP) running mate Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia mounting the witness box to give his evidence.

Dr. Bawumia who is the second petitioner told the court that he was in the witness box because the declaration made by the second respondent, Electoral Commission in the 2012 elections cannot be supported by the primary evidence he has gathered as the chairman of the committee tasked to investigate alleged irregularities in the 2012 elections.

The petitioners, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr. Bawumia and the party Chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey are challenging President John Mahama’s legitimacy and praying the court to annul 4,670,504 votes and subsequently declare the presidential candidate of the NPP, as the one who won the December 2012 elections.

The hearing was billed to have started on Tuesday but the Petitioners’ Lawyers insisted they could only proceed after the Electoral Commission (EC)-second Respondents-had filed its affidavits. The successful filing of affidavits by the Electoral Commission on Tuesday April 17, 2013 paved the way for the Supreme Court to hopefully, barring any technical delays, to begin hearing the substantive election case.

According to Dr. Bawumia, as the head petitioners committee he received thousands of irregularities on statement of polls and declaration of results known as pink sheets.

“We found numerous malpractices and statutory violations and irregularities as evidenced in the primary record of the elections at the polling station called pink sheets.”

It is the record on which basis the second respondent declared results for Mahama.

Lead Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison who presented a copy of the pink sheet to the witness asked Dr. Bawumia whether he found anything wrong with the pink sheets.

Dr. Bawumia answered that he examined around 24,000 pinks sheets and found so many irregularities and names over voting, voting without verification and other irregularities.

The second petitioner went ahead to give examples of the over-votes and noted that votes in Upper West Akyem, Arabic Primary School polling stations as well as those in Tano North were annulled by the second respondent as a result of the over votes.

Philip Addison asks if the findings on over voting will have an effect on the results declared.

Bawumia answers that findings suggest that if the results of over-voting were annulled, none of the two leading candidates would have attained the mandatory 50+1 per cent of the total votes cast. He therefore seeks the order of the court to annul the results in polling stations that had over votes.

Philip Addison goes ahead to ask the witness what he means by voting without verification.

Bawumia answers that the second respondent prior to the 2012 elections promulgated a law which said all prospective voters had to be verified by the help of a biometric machine before voting. He goes ahead to say that the law stated emphatically that no prospective voter must vote without being verified.

He says after examination over 535,723 people voted without verification.

Addison: Will the total results be affected if there is an annulment of the total votes in areas where there was voting without verification?

Bawumia answers yes. The results will be greatly affected if the results of voting without verification were to be annuled. He goes ahead to ask the court to annul all the results of the specific polling stations where there was voting without verification.

One of the presiding judges asked if the witness was asking the court to go ahead to annul the figures in all those polling stations merely because some people may have voted without verification.

Bawumia says yes. That was the law made by the Second respondent. He cites examples where the EC cancelled all the results in polling stations because some people engaged in voting without verification.

“The EC cannot apply one set of rules to one polling station and a different set of rules to another polling station,” he says. He demands fairness and equity at all polling stations.

The nine-member Bench of Justices at the Supreme Court will sit every day, including weekends once the substantive case starts until it is brought to an end.

The case has been adjourned to tomorrow, April 18, 2013.

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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