Today, August 29, 2014, marks exactly one year when Justice William Atuguba 'cleared his throat' and delivered his ruling on the landmark ‘pink sheet’ battle at the Supreme Court.
Thousands of Ghanaians were glued to their television sets or radio as they listened and watched every proceeding in the election petition which was filed by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The petitioners: flagbearer of the NPP at the time, Nana Akufo Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the then party Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lampetey filed a petition at the Supreme Court, seeking the nullification of the election results which saw incumbent President John Mahama and his governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) retain power.
The President after the 2012 election, polled 50.70% of the votes whilst his closest challenger Nana Akufo-Addo, polled 47.74% of total votes cast. However, the NPP claimed the elections were rigged and that President Mahama did not win the election.
However, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition and ruled that President Mahama was legitimately elected.
Lawyer Philip Addison ably represented the petitioners. Lawyer Tony Lithur represented the first respondent, John Dramani Mahama, Lawyer Quarshie Idun stood for the Electoral Commission, the second respondent and Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata represented the third respondent, the NDC.
The case was presided by nine Justices of the Supreme Court namely: Justices William Atuguba, Sophia Adinyira, Julius Ansah, Rose Constance Owusu, Jones Victor M. Dotse, Anin Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, N.S. Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
After 8 months in court, Justice William Atuguba took his seat, cleared his throat and within four minutes, stated: “Upon a scrutiny of the petition, we found that the issues to be determined are as set out at page 125 of the counsel for the petitioners’ written address were as follows: Over voting, Voting without biometric verification, Absence of the signature of the presiding officer, Duplicate serial numbers, that is to say occurrence of the same serial numbers on pink sheets for two different polling stations, Duplicate polling station codes, that is to say occurrence of different results of pink sheets for polling stations with the same polling station codes, Unknown polling stations, that is to say results recorded for polling stations that are not part of 26,002 polling stations provided by the second respondent in the petition.
We unanimously dismiss the claims relating to duplicate serial numbers, duplicate polling station codes, and unknown polling stations, that is for short. Atuguba, Adinyira, Baffoe-Bonnie, Gbadegbe, and Akoto-Bamfo, dismiss the claim of over voting. Atuguba, Adinyira, Baffoe-Bonnie, Gbadegbe, Akoto-Bamfo, dismiss the claims relating to absence of signature of presiding officer. Atuguba, Adinyira, Dotsey, Baffoe-Bonnie, Gbadegbe, Akoto-Bamfo dismiss the claim relating to voting without biometric verification. Ansah, Owusu and Anim Yeboah grant all the three claims, that is to say, over voting, absence of presiding officers’ signature and voting without biometric verification, annul the votes involved and order a rerun of the affected areas”
He added: Dotsey JSC grants the claim of over-voting but has provided a road-map in his judgement as in the figures of votes to be ascertained and cancelled and a re-run of the areas affected. Dotsey JSC upholds the claim relating to absence of presiding officers’ signatures on the pink sheets cancels the results concerned and orders a rerun of the areas affected. Baffoe-Bonnie JSC grants the claim of voting without biometric verification cancels the votes involved and orders a rerun of the areas affected. In the circumstances the overall effect is that the first respondent was validly elected and the petition is therefore dismissed. Our various judgements for the sake of convenience are handed over to the registrar of this court. We highly commend the services of KPMG, the referee appointed to undertake the count of the pink sheet and also the counsels on all sides of this case. That is our judgement.”
Many thought Nana Addo and the NPP will not accept the ruling and that there will be a revolt. However, he demonstrated his love for peace and his respect for the rule of law by accepting the ruling.
Speaking to the press after the ruling, he said: “While I disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept that what the court says brings a finality to the election dispute. We shall not be asking for a review of the verdict, so we can all move on in the interest of our nation… The battle continues to be that of the Lord’s.”
A year on
Today, Nana Akufo Addo will address the nation to mark a year after the famous Supreme Court verdict at the Conference Hall of the Georgia Hotel, Kumasi.
watch the final ruling
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