Drama unfolded at the Supreme Court last Thursday when an army of National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporters, who had filed an application to join the landmark election petition, vanished and were nowhere to be found when the Supreme Court sat on their application for joinders.
According to reports, the supposed party members, who claimed they were protecting their votes against the petitioners, developed cold feet when they saw the large police presence at the court premises and ‘melted away’.
They were reportedly transported from all over the country to Accra by the NDC.
NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, had said that the people claimed they had every right to protect their votes.
Some were said to have sauntered across the road towards the Atlantic Ocean while others went on a sight-seeing tour of the central business district.
The situation prompted NPP General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John, to describe the over 350 members of the NDC who applied for joinders at the Supreme Court as ‘ghosts’.
Sir John also took a swipe at Asiedu-Nketiah, aka General Mosquito, for being behind the numerous joinder applications filed by the ruling party’s supporters.
Sir John said the court took the ‘best’ decision when it ruled that the NDC supporters could not join.
He teased the NDC, describing the over 300 applicants as ‘ghosts’ and challenged the ruling party to give ‘convincing reasons’ why the applicants failed to turn up in court last Thursday.
In spite of the presence of a group of people who appeared to be some of the joinder applicants at the court’s premises, Sir John told the media that not even a single soul showed up when they were called to testify in court.
The NPP scribe alleged that it was a master plan by the NDC’s General Secretary, Asiedu-Nketia, who he described as an expert in manufacturing “ghost names”, to perpetrate fraud.
He claimed that Asiedu-Nketia had been using this same strategy during elections and it only took the intervention of God for him to be exposed in his latest attempt.
The NDC scribe ,Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, had told an Accra-based radio station that he was in full support of the action of the party’s supporters to join the case.
He added that he was happy that the court recognised their rights as citizens by allowing them to move their application which was later dismissed.
“The voters who filed tried to vindicate their rights…at the end of the day we are very happy that their interest has been recognised…I support the stance they have taken,” Mr. Asiedu-Nketia said.
About 350 of the ruling party’s supporters had hoped to join the petition in which three leading opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) members are challenging the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as President by the Electoral Commission (EC) in the December 7 and 8, 2012 general election, but their hopes were dashed when the nine-member panel booted them out.
When the highest court’s Registrar called one out of the numerous applications, Stephen Ahor, who announced himself as representing the NDC supporters, told the court that the security arrangements made it impossible for his clients to enter the courtroom after the panel wanted to know where the applicants were.
To be sure of the presence of the applicants, which is a requirement, the court halted proceedings for counsel to present some of the applicants but after combing the court’s premises, he came back to say that they were nowhere to be found.
A court official and the police had accompanied him to search for the NDC supporters.
“I was told that because they were coming in a group, the police did not allow them to enter the yard,” counsel reported to the court upon his return.
Panel Chairman, Justice William Atuguba, then said, “I do not think we can wait for them the whole day,” and also asked that once all the applications were similar, there was the need to merge them to ensure expeditious trial which counsel obliged.
This prompted a panel member, Justice Jones Dotse, to enquire from counsel why he failed to attach his practising number to the application and advise him not to repeat that mistake again.
After the proceedings, some people who had gathered around court’s premises, believed to be some of the applicants, looked dejected outside the courtroom and did not seem to understand what had transpired in court.
Delivering the ruling after a heated argument on whether or not to allow the NDC supporters to join, the court said that “the joinder is neither necessary nor convenient.”