Trying Times Ahead for Nana Akufo-Addo

…as the Supreme Court of Ghana gears up to examine evidence of alleged electoral fraud and if No; Nana Addo bids farewell to active NPP politicking..?

The OmanbaPa Research Group

The Ukrainian presidential election of 2004 was contested between then-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and former Prime Minister and opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. The first round of voting held on 31 October, 2004 closed with a break-even: with official figures declared as follows- Yanukovych 39.32% and Yushchenko 39.87% of the votes cast.

According to BBC report; the final stages of the election were conducted amidst allegations of media bias, voter intimidation and the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko that was later confirmed to be the result of the poison dioxin. As no candidate reached the 50 percent constitutional margin required for outright victory, a runoff election was scheduled on 21 of November 2004. Unlike in our present case, it was speculated that although a 75 percent voter turnout was recorded in the initial vote, observers reported many irregularities, particularly in the regions where the opposition Yushchenko’s support, was seen to be huge.

In the words of the Central Election Commission results announced on 23 November 2004, the run-off election was won by Yanukovych with 49.46 percent of the vote to Yushchenko’s 46.61%. But Yushchenko and his supporters, as well as many international observers, questioned the election result, as rigged and highly falsified. “Their denouncement and subsequent non-recognition of the vote led to a political crisis where widespread peaceful protests, dubbed the “Orange Revolution,” finally led to the Ukrainian Supreme Court annulling the run-off vote’s results and ordering a repeat of the second round,” the report said.

Having considered Yushchenko’s systematic fraud arguments, which brought tens of thousands of Ukrainians out on to the streets of the capital Kiev, Chairman Anatoly Yarema, delivering the court’s ruling after five days of deliberations, said a “repeat vote” was required. This was conducted on 26 December 2004 with Viktor Yushchenko, winning the presidency with 51.99 percent of the vote, to Yanukovych’s 44.2 percent. International observers described the result as a much fairer vote; and Yushchenko was finally declared winner on 10 January 2005. He was sworn in as the third President of Ukraine on 23 January 2005 after Yanukovych’s failed counterclaims. Annulling the 21 November vote, the judges ruled that the central election commission acted improperly by declaring PM Yanukovich the winner.

The opposition leader- Viktor Yushchenko, welcomed the judgment as a triumph for democracy: “Today Ukraine has turned to justice, democracy and freedom,” he told the excited orange-clad supporters celebrating in central Kiev. “It happened thanks to you. We have proven that we are a nation that could defend our choice. Justice and freedom are coming back to Ukraine thanks to you, real heroes,” Nick Paton Walsh of the Guardian UK, quoted him as saying. Is Nana Akufo-Addo or NPP, set to establish these improprieties?

The Daily Guide report of 24 December 2012 quotes Nana Akufo-Addo as follows: “Both the Constitution of the Republic in Article 64 and the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (C.I. 74) in S.68 have provided a period of twenty one (21) days after the declaration of the result for a citizen to challenge in the Supreme Court the validity of the result, if he or she so desires, by filing a petition in the Registry of the Supreme Court’ to that effect… I intend to avail myself of these provisions to mount such a challenge.”

Nana Addo added: “Having regard to the upcoming Christmas holidays, I would, therefore, be grateful if you could promptly confirm to me that the Registry of the Supreme Court will be opened on 27th, 28th and 31st December, 2012, which are normal working days within the statutory period…I am by it copy of this letter notifying the Judicial Secretary of its contents.” So what must be expected if Nana Akufo-Addo and his legal team? From the reports above, the first hurdle could be their ability to show an overwhelming or a manifest fraud designed by the EC to favour the president-elect as there had been barely, no persistent widespread protestations and international condemnations vis-a-vis unfairness of the electoral processes?

The presidential election of La Côte d’Ivoire was held in two rounds. The first hurdle took place on 31 October 2010 and the second round, a two-horse race between President Laurent Gbagbo and the then opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, contested on 28 November 2010. On 2 December 2010, the Ivorian Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) released provisional results indicating that opposition Alassane Ouattara had triumphed in the second bid with 54% of the vote. The next day, the President of the Constitutional Council swiftly proclaimed that the results were invalid and by virtue of Article 94 of the Constitution; the Constitutional Council, settled on incumbent president- Laurent Gbagbo, as the final winner.

The net effect of the above was that both Gbagbo and Ouattara proclaimed themselves as victors and accordingly, took the sacred presidential oath of office to lead their polarised people who had for some days, bathed themselves with blood and sweat. The aftermath of these confrontations led to the 2010–2011 Ivorian crisis that Ghana is a living witness. It perhaps worth noting that the events leading up to the second round and following it, as wikipaedia forcefully puts it, were characterized by serious tension and some incidents of violence, and the preliminary report of the Carter Center “cautions against a rush to judgment regarding the overall credibility of the election”.

Yet the initial response from most observers considered that the overall result was not compromised, and that the election was essentially free and fair. In our present case, many are international and indeed local observers and commentators who posit that notwithstanding the biometric verification machine challenges that became widespread across the country, both the presidential and the parliamentary elections of 7 and 8 December 2012, were fairly and peacefully exercised to warrant sporadic mass violent protest or legal writ to annul the final electoral outcome as was witnessed in either the Ivory Coast or in the Ukraine.

But on Friday, 21 December 2012, President-elect John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), managed to escape what could be described as a major political protest intended to be staged by a Civil Society Group- the Alliance for Accountable Government (AFAG). This is over the outcome of the 7 and 8 December 2012 presidential polls which on Sunday, 09 December 2012, Electoral Commissioner Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, declared in favour of the NDC but had ever since been rejected by the leadership of the main opposition party- holding that it was Nana Addo but not incumbent John Mahama, who won the presidential polls. The EC is being accused of electoral improprieties.

On Tuesday, 18 December 2012, the NPP followers in Kumase embarked on a protest march dubbed- “March for Justice” and had AFAG’s protest been allowed, would have been the second within a week to be staged by NPP sympathisers in questioning the credibility of the electoral triumph of the incumbent president John Mahama in the just-ended presidential polls that continue to receive international ovations, platitudes and indeed domestic tussling.

Hence the intentions of the NPP’s leadership in seeking a redress at the Supreme Court to invalidate or overturn the declared presidential result which has long received its statutory backing. Yet the said NPP-appendage AFAG, would have travelled on the same route in Kumase had its intentions been sanctioned. But the Accra Regional Police Command situated that their safety could not have been guaranteed due to an intended show-of-force of the police and perhaps, the entire security services, which were to display Ghana’s combat readiness. But the leadership and the sympathisers of AFAG were not persuaded about this last-minute hitch, submitting among others that these are not only state-sponsored sabotage intended to subvert the people’s right to peaceful protest but also, a design to turn Ghana into a police state under the stringent leadership of the incumbent president-elect John Mahama.

The foiled protest march was turned into a forum discussion, where NPP/AFAG sympathiser such as Gabby Asare Okyere-Darko of the Danquah Institute and Journalist Ken Korankye of the Daily Searchlight Newspaper, gave lectures- focusing on the alleged electoral fraud. Both Gabby and Ken had a shared opinion in their respective submissions aired on the Oman FM- suggesting that from the collated evidence seen so far, they doubt not the locus standi of the long-awaited petition to the Supreme Court, as provided for in Article 64(1)(2) of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution of Ghana, that makes room for any aggrieved citizen of Ghana over any disputed declared electoral result, to submit a legal writ for judicial ruling.

The final outcome of the 2000 presidential election between Democratic Vice-President Al Gore and Republican Governor of Texas George W. Bush Jr., remembered as one of the closest contests in US’ history, brought to question how the vote went on in Florida. Political historians and independent investigators in that State revealed that serious irregularities directed mostly against ethnic minorities and low-income residents who usually voted heavily Democratic, were disenfranchised. Research shows that some 36,000 newly registered voters were turned away because their names had never been added to the voter rolls by Florida’s secretary of state Kathleen Harris. Others, says Michael Parenti, were turned away because they were declared–almost always incorrectly–“convicted felons” and in several Democratic precincts, State officials, closed the polls early, leaving lines of would-be voters stranded.

Michael Parenti(2007) adds that under orders from Governor Jeb Bush (Bush Jr.’s brother), State troopers near polling sites delayed people for hours while searching their cars. “Some precincts required two photo IDs which many citizens do not have. The requirement under Florida law was only one photo ID. Passed just before the election, this law itself posed a special difficulty for low-income or elderly voters who did not have drivers’ licenses or other photo IDs. Uncounted ballot boxes went missing or were found in unexplained places or were never collected from certain African-American precincts.”

At that point Gore was said to be behind by some few hundred votes in Florida and was in the words of Parenti, gaining ground with each attempt at a recount. But then, a five-to-four majority on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a complete recount in Florida would be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause because different counties have different ways of counting the votes. What, then, might be overwhelming about Nana Addo’s evidence? The NPP’s electoral litigation is taking place at a time when Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen is rumoured to have set his eyes on 2016.

But down here, party supporters and sympathizers appear to put on a display of strength and unity for the media and political leadership. Yet Allotey Jacobs of the NDC seems to predict that Nana Addo will be faced with a much divided fronts, with followers who don’t trust him or want him there and don’t believe that he is acting in the interests of Ghana and will see him as a huge liability for post-2012 NPP. Kwesi Pratt Jnr- the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, not forgetting Deputy Finance Minister- Fiifi Kwetey and seemingly NDC apologists, doubt whether the some ??11-member empanelled Supreme Court judges, to be chaired by the Chief Justice- Her Lordship Georgina Theodora Wood (Mrs), might in the interest of peace and stability, reasonably overturn the EC’s declaration?

As a legal realist with a strong believe in law in action rather than those in the law textbooks, I am nervously, maimed in prophesying what the Supreme Court of Ghana, will or might not do in this case. Without established electoral rules, Nana Addo’s greatest trials could be not only his ability to persuade the Court to his side as he punches holes into the credibility of the EC’s declared results but also, whether the NPP supporters and sympathizers like ANC’s to Jacob Zuma, now 70, but widely predicted to win the South African elections of 2014 and probably, hold on as president until 2019, might remain faithful and steadfast with his cause.





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