Former President John Mahama says the chairperson of the Electoral Commission was shielded from accounting for her job in the just-ended election petition trial.
“Ghanaians were hoping to hear her testify and many are still baffled by the refusal of Mrs. Jean Mensa to be held to account by testifying in this case – unfortunately, with the unanimous agreement of the justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana. This vital part of the process to establish the truth and hold Mrs. Jean Mensa accountable was blocked time and again by a protective cordon and firewall that I am sure have confounded many Ghanaians,” Mr Mahama said in his response to the Supreme Court judgement which saw his petition dismissed Thursday.
“Speaking as a Ghanaian, with no legal training, I believe that the refusal of the Electoral Commission Chairperson to testify in this election petition, leaves a bad precedent for the future. I disagree with the suggestion of our Justices that an election petition is akin to any other civil litigation and therefore an EC Chairperson, whose functions go to the heart of our democracy, can by a legal sleight of hand avoid accounting for her stewardship in an appropriate forum such as the highest court of the land,” he noted.
He stressed the refusal of the judges to allow the EC chair testify in the case has hurt justice delivery in the country.
“Worse still, she was aided by her counsel and the court to avoid explaining to the good people of Ghana from her own testimony, under oath in a properly constituted court of law, the errors she herself admits to have committed in the declaration of the 2020 Presidential election results. This is a clear stab in the heart of transparency and accountability to the sovereign people of Ghana.
“Whatever the reasons for not allowing Mrs. Jean Mensa to testify or answer any questions, it leaves an embarrassing stain, not only on our justice delivery system but also, on the nation’s electoral system, which has deepened the grave doubts harboured by many Ghanaians about the true outcome of the December 2020 Presidential Election”.
A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed former President John Mahama’s suit challenging the 2020 election results.
In reading the judgment on Thursday, March 4, 2020, Chief Justice, Anim Yeboah stated that the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. He added that the errors announced by the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Mensa, which were subsequently corrected cannot be used to invalidate the election.
According to the Supreme Court, the errors announced by Jean Mensa did not adversely affect any of the candidates in the 2020 elections. The Supreme Court also held that the petitioner failed to adduce enough evidence to merit a re-run between himself and President Akufo-Addo.
The Chief Justice in reading the judgment also described as fanciful the witness statement by Michael Kpessa-Whyte and Rojo Mettle-Nunoo.
Justice Anim Yeboah said the two witnesses had themselves to blame after abandoning their duty in the strongroom since they were under no obligations to leave when their work in the room was not finished.
Mr Mahama who re-contested the election on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), took the Electoral Commission to court, challenging the validity of the Commission’s 9th December 2020 declaration of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the winner of the poll.
Mr Mahama also contended in his petition that, President Akufo-Addo did not meet the constitutional threshold for election to the high office of the president yet was so declared.
He was praying the court in the last two months, albeit amidst strong opposition from lawyers for President Akufo-Addo and the Electoral Commission, to nullify the declaration and to cause a re-run between him and President Akufo-Addo.