Eection Petition: Judges have predetermined agenda – Ayine

A former Deputy Attorney General has said the Supreme Court judges hearing the ongoing Election Petition filed by former President John Dramani Mahama to challenge the results of the 2020 Presidential Election have a ‘predetermined agenda.”

Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, who doubles as the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bolgatanga East in the Upper East Region, made the statement yesterday after the proceedings of the court.

He did not understand why the court dismissed Mr. Mahama’s application to reopen the case to enable them to subpoena the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, who was the Returning Officer of the December 7, 2020 Presidential Ballot.

Speaking as a spokesperson for the petitioner after the hearing in Accra yesterday, Dr. Ayine further accused the highest court of reducing the four or five issues (in his own words) set for determination of the petition to just an issue.

“These are all germane issues under the laws of Ghana and to reduce the petition into a single issue petition is rather unfortunate and it smacks of a predetermined agenda to rule against the petitioner in this matter,” he said.

Court Question

“The Supreme Court asked itself a question which we deemed was a wrong question and answered that question. It asked why the chairperson was needed to account to the people of Ghana when she was not the party to the suit. Now you will recall that counsel made it very clear that one of the reasons why we are in court is because of the unconstitutional conduct of Mrs. Mensa as the Returning Officer under the constitution and it is not true that it was only an issue that needs to be determined in this matter,” he said.

“I am surprised that the Supreme Court itself having set down four, I mean, five issues to be determined is now reducing the issues to one which is whether and the extent to which the evidence that we have shows that no one got more than 50% of the votes in accordance with Article 63 of the constitution,” he said, adding, “We have made it abundantly clear in the petition that there were a number of infractions. We are contesting even the constitutionality of the declaration that was made. We are saying that she violated Article 23 of the constitution because she is an administrative body. We have also said her exercise of discretion was contrary to Article 296 of the constitution.

Discretionary Power

Dr. Ayine said “the Supreme Court was called upon this morning to exercise its judicial discretionary power to determine whether we should reopen our case. Now in doing so, the court was bound by the provisions of Article 296 of the constitution and we think that the reasons as I have said that the court gave were not acceptable and tenable. The reason is simply because you cannot expect that we should have made our evidence available so that the court will now determine whether it will help the case.”

He said, “In any case, the petition and other pleadings filed before the court made it clear, and any trained lawyer would know that the pleadings showed very clearly, the evidence that we would need to prove the facts in the issue,” adding “and so for the court to say that we were bound by law to make our evidence available for them to assess before allowing us to reopen our case is a legally problematic, proposition and therefore we disagree with the court.”

Great Disservice

“We think that the court by this decision has not done the people of this country a great service in the sense that Ghanaians are interested in knowing the truth. Our constitution is very clear that justice emanates from the people and must be exercised in the name and for the welfare of the people,” he said.

He said “the justices today have not given us a reason to believe that they want the people of this country to know the truth about what happened; that they want the people of this country to be able to say why figures kept changing from December 9.”

He also said that “Till date if you go to the website of the EC, the figures have changed five times. Are we not worried as a nation that the Returning Officer appointed under the constitution cannot even explain to us what happened? She made a declaration based upon a figure that she herself changed without recourse to the law. Is this something that we want public officers to be engaging in? And secondly, she is a public officer and as a public officer she is accountable to the public.”

“Why is it that she cannot be called to testify? Why is she being treated as if she is a private person? Why does the court treat this important constitutional matter this way? We are disappointed in the court and maybe the issues that we have raised will feature in the review application to the court. We are also filing a motion for stay of proceedings pending the hearing of our review application,” he added.

Source: Modern Ghana

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