The New Statesman

Ghana's Oldest Mainstream Newspaper

Preparing for 2012 Election Petition Verdict LEAVE OFFICE IF IT GOES AGAINST YOU - Former GBA Boss urges Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has been called upon to gracefully exit the presidency in the event of the Supreme Court giving verdict in favour of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, and two others, who are challenging his declaration as the winner of the 2012 presidential election.

The call was made Friday by a former President of the Ghana Bar Association, Sam Okudzeto, who was speaking at a National Peace Summit meant to prepare the minds of Ghanaians towards accepting the final verdict of the election petition trial.

 Mr Okudzeto, who is a renowned private legal practitioner, also urged the other parties in the election petition to accept the final verdict, to safeguard the nation’s peace and stability.

“The law is quite clear: judgment will be given; whatever way it goes, we must all accept it,” he emphasised, adding: “if you are holding office and they say that you cannot hold that office anymore because that is what the law says…accept it…that is the only way we can live in peace and tranquillity.”

Mr Okudzeto commended the petitioners for their ability to gather evidence from all the constituencies in the country and present them to the Supreme Court in their effort to justify their case that the election was characterized by irregularities.

“The Petitioners were obligated by law to try and show what made them think that the result that was declared by the Electoral Commission was not acceptable. That was the challenge with a time limit for them to present their evidence and I must commend them because I am very much conversant with the processes of election, so I know it is not an easy matter to gather information from all the constituencies in Ghana, correlate that and bring that as a petition before the court, but nevertheless they did that,” he acknowledged.

According to him, there had been complaints about malpractices in Ghana’s electoral processes over the years, adding that the petitioners did the right thing by approaching the court to seek redress.

“Over the years, they have been disputes about malpractices in the electoral process; well, sometimes, it becomes like a protest or conversation, but this time, there were people who were bold enough to say that since the court was established for the purpose of adjudication, let us rather go to the court so that the court by virtue of what has transpired will determine who rightfully won the elections,” he added.

He further questioned the independence of the Electoral Commission, stressing: “We need to relook whether the EC, who ostensibly is supposed to be independent of any political control and power, has really maintained its independence or not.”

The National Peace Summit was part of efforts being made to keep the nation’s peace intact after the final verdict in the election petition is given by the Supreme Court. Some individuals and groups have expressed some fears that the nation could be plunged into political turmoil after the court’s verdict has been given.

But, many others, including a Senior Law Lecturer at the Ghana Law School, Moses Foh-Amoani, have said the country would continue to be peaceful after the Supreme Court verdict on the election petition.

‘‘The judgment will come and nothing will happen; we are crying in prayer to God and I can assure you that God will by all means hear our prayers,’’ Mr Foh-Amoani stated on Adom FM/Asempa FM ‘Burning Issues’ programme.

According to the law lecturer, ‘‘the fact that we chose the path of rule of law in seeking justice without going on the streets, as it happened in Kenya and Cote d’ Ivoire and everybody has access to what is going at the Supreme Court, is an indication that Ghanaians are very peace-loving[people] who are pursuing justice.”

Mr Foh-Amoani expressed the confidence that the petition and the proceedings in court would strengthen and entrench Ghana’s democracy, adding that the nation had the duty to keep the tout it had received from the international community as one of the stable democracies in Africa.
According to him the assurances from both President John Mahama and Nana Addo Akufo-Addo to the nation that they would accept whatever verdict the Supreme Court would come out with was a manifestation that peace would prevail in the country.

He commended the nine-member panel of judges for their “steadfastness and judicial temperament”, adding: ‘‘As a lawyer and member of the judicial service who has taught and trained people in law, I feel so proud of the judges, especially the president of the judges’’

Mr Foh-Amoani was confident the judges would not disgrace the country, but “they will send us to where we are supposed to go as a country and every Ghanaian will come to appreciate and be proud of the quality of judges we have as a country.’’

In an address read on his behalf by his spokesperson, former President John Agyekum Kufuor indicated that the peace that was being enjoyed in the country could only be sustained by living in peace with each other.
“All across the nation, there is the sense that Ghana, touted as the most stable nation in Africa, is sitting on a time bomb; this feeling of ease has further been heightened by recent pronouncement by some respected men of God of an impending doom or bloodshed, all because of the election petition before the court,” he stated.

He noted that any unfortunate eventuality could be avoided if the parties involved in the petition agreed to accept the final verdict of the Supreme Court without resorting to any violence.

“It is assuring that both sides in the petition have pledged severally to accept the verdict; the whole world is watching and they must abide by their words,” he stated, adding: “I urge them to carry with them their numerous supporters the same vehicle in accepting the verdict of the Supreme Court and educate them on the possible outcome of the petition.”