The incessant calls on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) by members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), the media, religious bodies, civil society organizations and individuals, to head to the Supreme Court, if the opposition party and its presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama, feel cheated in the just ended December 7, general election.
Interestingly, even before the NDC decides on whether or not to look in the direction of the Supreme Court, NPP elements are busy dangling the list of Supreme Court judges appointed by President Akufo-Addo, bringing to mind claim from certain lawyers and quarters that judgments at the court are usually influenced by those who appointed the judges.
Many, including the Ghana Pentecostal Church, Vice-president of policy think tank IMANI-Africa, Kofi Bentsil, the immediate past Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof. Emmanuel Asante, lawyer and member of the Council of State, Sam Okudzeto and journalists like Kweku Baako jnr, have all joined the call, insisting the NDC, which is alleging thievery in the election, to proceed to court, instead of demonstrating and creating tension in the country.
Under four years, President Akufo-Addo, has appointed not less than 80 judges to the various courts, including the Supreme Court.
Out of 17 judges at the Supreme Court currently, the sitting President, has appointed 11, while former President John Mahama and former President John Kufuor, appointed just two and four respectively.
Late Presidents Jerry Rawlings and Prof Atta Mills, both of them NDC, have none left on the bench. Justice Nasiru Sulemana Gbadegbe, the last of Mills’ appointee, went on retirement about a month ago.
But the attitude of the NPP elements, who have since flooded every some media platform with the list of the Supreme Court judges, is as if President Akufo-Addo, made the appointments for a moment like this.
Issues such as the ousting of the former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Charlotte Osei, closure of opposition radio stations, formation and training of party militia groups.
Ahead of last week’s election, the current Chief Justice (CJ), Justice Anin Yeboah, who was appointed by ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, announced that in the event that there is any electoral dispute emerging from the process, the aggrieved party, will have only 21 days to file their case and some 48 days to have it determined by the Supreme Court.
The directive last month, came some seven years after the NPP hauled the NDC, the EC and Kwadwo Afari-Djan to the Supreme Court in its election petition that took some eight months to be determined.
The NPP in that regard is seeing this election dispute as an opportunity for the Supreme Court to pay the NDC back by ensuring that it does not get justice regardless of the evidence it may present to the court.
Some pertinent questions emerging on the back of the CJ’s directive is, how the NDC under 21 days, is going to gather and peruse all the documents from across the 275 constituencies in the 16 regions, including the various Pink Sheets, before coming to the final conclusion that, it has enough evidence to proceed to court or not.
Again, how precise and just is the court going to be to determine an important case such as this under just 48 days?
The argument some political watchers continue t make is that, the Chief Justice is a known NPP sympathizer, who does hide his biases for the ruling party. Indeed, he used to argue a lot with his law students at the Ghana School of Law where he lectures Civil Procedure, Ghana Legal Systems for LLB degree holders about his love for the NPP and his dislike for Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkumah and the NDC.
With these in mind, many wonder if Justice Anin Yeboah, will muster enough courage to sit on the case and be fair, should the NDC show up in the Supreme Court for adjudication of any sort or he will recuse himself like his predecessor, Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, did when the NPP presented its election petition, following the December 2012 general elections.
Justice Ani Yeboah, was one of the two Supreme Court judges, who gave many of the relieves the NPP, President Akufo-Addo, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Dr. Mahamudu Bawawumia sought in the election petition and questions are being asked that in the event that he decides to recuse himself, what is going to be the mode of selection of the judges, who will sit on the case for just and fair judgment at the end of it all?
These and many others, make fair and independent minded Ghanaians think that, the NDC should shelve the idea of going to court, because they may not get justice.
Indeed, hawkish elements within the NDC, have demanded that the issue be settled in the street without stating which form and shape that so-called settlement should take.
Meanwhile, former President John Mahama, has indicated that he would concede defeat only after the EC conducts an independent audit into the election result which has been rejected by him and his party and others, because the EC’s mathematics is not adding up.
The event before, during and after the general election, has increased suspicion that something was fundamentally wrong with the entire elections.
The EC, has been found to have changed it declared result many times, while media houses which on the day of the election projected a win for the NPP, have come under intense pressure to make known where it had it faulty figures from.
The European Union (EU) Observer Mission which is out with it report,say even though the casting of votes was done in a transparent manner, same cannot be said when it comes to collation of results.
But other arguments on the table is that, the EC boss, Jean Mensa, promised to release her result within 24 hours after voting, but failed to and had to take additional time, however, the outcome of her declaration, has been described as most “embarrassment” by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) owned by Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).
People, are asking whether the 48 days will be enough for the adjudication of the case.
Others, have also asked whether the Chief Justice, will allow TV cameras into the courtroom as done by Chief Justice Wood in 2013.