Counsel for the NDC Tsatsu Tsikata has started his cross-examination of Dr. Bawumia in the election petition challenging President John Mahama’s legitimacy.
Mr. Tsikata took over from counsel for the Electoral Commission (EC), Quashie-Idun who ended his cross-examination of Dr. Bawumia, chief witness in the 2012 election petition challenging the declaration of President Mahama as winner of the presidential polls.
The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing last Thursday after the EC’s lawyer complained of fatigue.
The petitioners, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) 2012 presidential candidate together with his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the party’s National Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey are challenging the validity of the 2012 presidential polls.
They claim there were widespread irregularities as well as strategically planned rigging, through the collusion of the first respondent, President Mahama and the second respondent, the Electoral Commission.
They therefore, are praying the Supreme Court to annul results in over 11,000 polling stations where they claim massive and strategic rigging occurred.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia told the nine-member bench during his cross-examination by counsel for the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata that the president’s appeal on December 8, 2012 to the EC to allow voters to cast their ballots without going through biometric verification was in breach of the law.
The president’s appeal followed the first day of voting on December 7 in which many eligible registered voters could not cast their ballots due to the breakdown of the biometric verification equipment at some polling stations across the country.
The President of the Upper East regional House of chiefs, as well as some civil society organisations and some frustrated voters expressed concerns about the possibility of many eligible voters risking disenfranchisement if they were not allowed to vote without biometric verification.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, had prior to the elections said there would be no voting without biometric verification.
The president’s (first respondent) appeal to the EC to bend the rules in light of the difficulties encountered with the biometric verification machines on the first day of voting made the EC allow some registered voters to be manually verified, rather than going through the biometric verification process before voting.
The petitioners, the 2012 presidential candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Bawumia and the party’s National Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey are asking the Supreme Court to annul over 4 million votes based on four categories of alleged irregularities, omissions and violations including voting without biometric verification.
The other three categories of alleged electoral malfeasance based upon which the petitioners are challenging the validity of the 2012 presidential elections include over-voting, duplicate serial numbers on pink sheets and absence of signatures of presiding officers at some polling stations.
When asked by the NDC’s counsel as to whether the concerns of the President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs amongst others were not justified concerns for which President Mahama’s appeal to the EC could be justified, Dr. Bawumia retorted that the first respondent’s appeal was “basically that the law should be broken”.
He said: “Yes, the people were being frustrated in the process of voting, but the law is the law and the first respondent was appealing for the law to be set aside”.