Former President John Dramani Mahama, who has petitioned the Supreme Court over the outcome of the December 2020 presidential election, has filed a fresh process at the apex court seeking leave to file an additional ground of review to the review application on the interrogatories.
The new application was filed at the Supreme Court at 2:30 p.m. yesterday before the apex court is set to hear the 2020 presidential election petition filed by Mr Mahama today.
The lead counsel for Mr Mahama, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, also intends to file and or argue an additional ground for his application for review filed on January 20, 2021.
The court is expected to hear a motion by the legal team of former President Mahama which seeks to halt the hearing of the petition.
Again, the apex court is expected to hear a motion by the legal team of the EC which seeks to convince the court to dismiss the application for review by the petitioner.
At its last sitting on the petition , the apex court fixed January 26 for the hearing to begin after setting out five issues for determination in the matter.
The issues include whether or not the petition discloses any cause of action; whether or not, based on the data contained in the declaration of the second respondent (President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo) as President-elect, no candidate obtained more than 50 per cent of the valid votes cast, as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution; whether or not the second respondent still met the Article 63(3) of the1992 Constitution threshold by the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South Constituency presidential election results.
The rest are whether or not the declaration by the first respondent (Electoral Commission) on December 9, 2020 of the results of the presidential election conducted on December 7, 2020, was in violation of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution, and whether or not the alleged vote padding and other errors complained of by the petitioner affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election results.
The determination of the five issues by the court will enable it to come to a conclusion as to whether or not the petition has any merit.
At the hearing today, respective counsels for the parties in the petition are expected to argue their cases before the seven-member panel hearing the petition.
The Supreme Court, which set today to commence the hearing, ordered the petitioner (Mr Mahama), to file his witness statements by Thursday, January 21, this year.
The EC and President Akufo-Addo were also ordered by the apex court to file their witness statements by Friday, January, 22.
While the EC and President Akufo-Addo (second respondent) have filed their respective witness statements, former President Mahama, on the other hand, wants the court to halt the hearing until the final determination of the application for review.
According to the former President, commencing the hearing without a determination of the review application would lead to an “irreparable harm” to the conduct of the case.
However, the EC has also challenged the review application filed by the petitioner arguing that the review application is an attempt to delay the hearing of the petition and hence, be dismissed by the court.
In the petition, former President Mahama argues that no candidate won the 2020 presidential election and, therefore, the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as winner of the election by the Chairperson of the EC is “null, void, unconstitutional and of no legal effect”.
He argued that as per the results announced by Mrs Mensa on December 9, 2020, no candidate garnered more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast, as required by Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
The petitioner is, therefore, asking the Supreme Court to order the EC to organise a second election (run-off) between him and President Akufo-Addo because in his estimation, no candidate won the 2020 presidential election.
Also, the former President filed a review of the dismissed application for interrogatories.
He held that the interrogatories would narrow down to the issues set out for trial. The EC in its affidavit in opposition sworn by Mrs Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Commission, noted that the motion on notice for review did not show any exceptional circumstance necessitating the application for review.
“Besides, the application has not raised any specific miscarriage of Justice suffered by virtue of the decision of the court to refuse the application for interrogatories”.
Supreme Court’s initial ruling
The Supreme Court dismissed the application for interrogatories saying interrogatories should be based on relevance and that the interrogatories application was discretional.
The petitioner wanted the EC Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa, to answer about 12 interrogatories over the mode of transmission of the December 7, 2020 Presidential elections.
The EC had opposed the petitioner’s motion on notice for review in respect of the dismissed application for interrogatories.
The EC said the decision by the court to deny the application for interrogators was made by the court in accordance with the dictates imposed by CI 99 of 2016 and the court ought not to change its compliance with statute.
“I believe the application for review will not serve the interest of Justice but rather instruct the timely completion of the applicant’s own case in court in accordance of CI 99.
The EC said the applicant would not suffer any injury to his rights if the court dismissed the review application as he would have the opportunity to solicit the answers he sought now during cross-examination if he so wished, adding that “unless he is actually fishing and/or trying to delay the trial”.
“I believe there are no exceptional circumstance or legal basis for that to warrant the intervention of this honourable court in this application for review,” the EC argued.