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Election Petition: What The TV Doesn’t Show You

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The ongoing 2020 election petition is being shown live on television with many Ghanaians following keenly.

A special report by Starr FM tells the story of what happens behind the scenes.

Why Jean Mensa keeps changing her seat?

In the game of football, the referee is the man or woman at the centre of the action and with the Election Petition, the picture is the same.

The EC Chairperson and her two deputies have been allotted seats in the middle of the courtroom, to reflect the role they are supposed to play in election matters as they go about discharging their constitutional duties.

Following the declaration of the 2020 Presidential Election, former President John Dramani Mahama has rejected the result and is currently challenging the declaration at the Supreme Court, the Highest Court of the land.

Since hearing started, by way of pre-trial hearings and subsequently, the hearing of the petition, one thing is clear. The sitting arrangements of the parties.

There are three rows and each row has five seats. Jean Mensa, the EC Chairperson sit in the middle of the chairs in the middle row and is always flanked by her two deputies Mr. Samuel Tettey and Dr. Eric Asare Bossman to her right and left respectively.

The Petitioner John Mahama, (being represented), his running mate Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, legal team members, leadership of the National Democratic Congress occupy the left-hand side of the bench while Peter Mac Manu – representing Nana Akufo-Addo, leadership of the New Patriotic Party, legal team members take the right hand side of the bench.

The sitting place of the EC Chairperson in the courtroom always attracts attention as she has always been present except on few occasions where she was late and had to be represented by Madam Sylvia Annor.

Unlike the 2012 hearing where the Supreme Courtroom was full to capacity, the 2020 hearing is different with less than 100 occupants excluding the bench and court staff allowed into the courtroom, all because of the social distancing protocol.

With Covid-19 pandemic, the judiciary like other institutions has put in place social distancing protocol to curtail Covid-19 spread.

But why is EC Chairperson keep changing her chair? Before hearing commences, staff of the judicial service and persons who have been assigned to ensure the seats are ready for use, perform their roles.

Mrs Jean Mensa, before taking her seat in the courtroom, will always ensure that, the chair she sat on previously is replaced with the next seat beside it.

She will then have it sanitised with her own sanitizer from her bag. This has been how the EC Chairperson constantly ensure that, beyond the courtroom measures, she also protects herself from the deadly pandemic.

The irony here is that one of the reasons the Petitioner is in court is because of how the EC Chairperson had to be changing figures of the 2020 Election.

But as to whether the different figures te EC used had any material effect on the results as declared, the apex court will determine that.

Parties involved

With the Petitioner John Dramani Mahama- Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia has been representing him, while Jean Adukwei Mensa represents the EC (1st Respondent) except on an occasion where she turned up late and was represented by Sylvia Annor.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had Mr Peter Mac Manu representing him with a power of Attorney.

8 Legal brains

With regards to legal representation, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata and Tony Lithur are for the John Mahama (Petitioner). Justin Amenuvor and AA Somoah Asamoah represent the EC (1st Respondent).

The 2nd Respondent Nana Akufo-Addo has four lawyers and they are Mr Akoto Ampaw, Lead Counsel and had support from Mr Frank Davies, Kweku Asirifi and Yaw Oppong.

Summary from last week’s hearing

On the week that commenced February 1, 2021, there was a continuation and conclusion of cross-examination of John Mahama’s first witness, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah. His cross-examination started on January 29.

His cross-examination was concluded by Akoto Ampaw, lead counsel for the 2nd Respondent, Nana Akufo-Addo putting questions to the witness and requesting answers aimed at discrediting the witness’ own statement.

Before hearing started, Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah cautioned Frank Davies, one of the lawyers representing Nana Akufo-Addo against granting media interviews at the end of sittings.

The CJ said the court was “uncomfortable” with Mr. Davies’ interviews because it was unethical and goes against the Legal Professional conduct and Ethical Rules of 2020.

“Mr. Frank Davies, we respectfully want to draw your attention to the Legal Professional Conduct and Ethical Rules of 2020. If you look at rule 38, the court is not comfortable with the post-trial interviews that you grant outside,” he said.

To buttress his point, the CJ while quoting from the rules, said, “A lawyer who is practising or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter that is still pending before a court shall not make an out-of-court statement or grant an interview to the media on the matter.”

The caution, the CJ said applies to all lawyers introduced in court as being involved with the case.

Inspection of documents

Following the discharge of Mr Asiedu Nketia, the petitioner indicated they would be calling the next witness on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

But, before that, the petitioner, John Mahama, through his lawyers filed an application for inspection of documents from the EC for the original constituency presidential election result collation forms for all constituencies, constituency presidential election results summary sheet, regional presidential election summary sheets for all regions and the declaration of the presidential results form.

Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte, Mr. Mahama’s second witness mounted the witness box on Tuesday, February 2 and was subjected to vigorous cross-examination largely by Justin Amenuvor, lawyer for EC.

The highlight of Mr. Kpessa-Whyte cross-examination was centred on his insistence that the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa instructed him and Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo to go and confer with Mr. Mahama on issues about some irregularities.

According to him, they realised 10 minutes after leaving the premises that the EC Chairperson had deceived them into declaring the Election in their absence.

Mr. Kpessa-Whyte, however, conceded that he did not speak directly with Jean Mensa.

On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, seven-member panel unanimously dismissed Mr John Mahama’s application to inspect the EC’s documents.

Potential 3rd witness

On that same day, the Petitioner’s lawyers sought leave from the court to present a potential third witness who was later revealed to be Rojo Mettle Nunoo.

Their request included the fact that the witness, due to a health situation could not be physically present in court.

The court did not sit on Thursday.

But, on Friday, February 5, 2021, the court administered the oath of a witness to Rojo Mettle-Nunoo who joined proceedings via online video conferencing and had the Registrar of the Supreme Court Matthew Antianye by his side, upon request from Akoto Ampaw with Mr Tsikata not in opposition.

23 objection, five upheld

On the 10th sitting of the court last Friday, February 5, Akoto Ampaw objected to 23 paragraphs out of 32 of Mettle-Nunoo’s statement.

After one six hours of argument for and against the objection, the court struck out five of the paragraphs.

They included paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7 and 18.

Expectation for Monday hearing

The seven-member panel; Justice Yaw Appau, Justice Samuel Marful-Sau, Nene Amegarycher, Justice Prof Nii Ashie Kotey, Justice Mariama Owusu and Justice Gertrude Torkornoo adjourned the case to Monday, for Rojo Mettle-Nunoo to be subjected to cross-examination.

Source: Starr FM

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Court Throws Out Rastafarian Student’s Injunction Against Achimota School

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The Rastafarian student, Tyrone Marghuy who was denied admission by the Achimota senior high school for his hairstyle, has had his injunction against the school dismissed by the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court.

The court, presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo said the applicant failed procedurally on both interim injunctions which were to last for 10 days or interlocutory injunction which was to last throughout the hearing of the case.

The injunction sought the court to order Achimota School to admit the applicant for him to attend classes pending the final determination of the substantive matter.

However, the court noted that it cannot grant the injunction because such a decision will prejudice the outcome of the case because the respondents have not been put on notice.

Source: GhanaFeed.com

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Were You Expecting Bagbin To Appoint His Enemies As Advisors? – Asiedu Nketia Asks Kyei Mensah Bonsu

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General Secretary for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has hit back at the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu for his accusations against the Speaker Alban Bagbin.

Speaking on The Probe, Mr Nketia wondered if the Majority Leader expected the Speaker to be appoint his opponents to be his advisors.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in an interview on Sunday, April 4, expressed worry over how Speaker Bagbin has selected one too many members of the NDC to his office as advisors.

He also expressed displeasure with the selection of Mr Aseidu Nketia as a member of the Parliamentary Service Board.

Explaining that he did not have a problem with Aseidu Nketia as a person but the fact that he still holds his position as a General Secretary of the NDC.

In the Suame legislator’s view, Speaker Alban Bagbin was gradually turning the House into an enclave for the NDC.

But according to the NDC General Secretary, the rules governing the land give the Speaker discretion to appoint who he would want to work with, and they must be people he shares similar ideologies with.

“Before, Speaker Bagbin came, what was Parliament? Was it [not] an enclave of NPP? Because the former Speaker was NPP and all the former MPs who should be on the Parliamentary Board were all from NPP leadership.

“I do not want to believe that the workers or the advisors at the time were from CPP. So if they were all NPP at the time and now you have another Speaker, I am wondering if Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was expecting [Speaker] Bagbin to appoint his opponents to advise him,” he stated.

To butress his point, Mr Asiedu Nketia, citing President Akufo-Addo’s appointees on the Council of State claimed not a single nominee is a member of the opposition NDC.

As such, it will be hypocritical on the part of the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to make such assertions against the leader of the Legislature, he believes.

“I am worried about people who cannot use parity of reasoning; when something suits them they argue in a certain way. They can argue that is paper is white, then the next day the same people will be arguing that this paper is black or blue.

“That is not the way to build credibility,” he said categorically.

Source: MyJoyOnline

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We Can’t Win 2024 Even If We Present Kuffuor As Flagbearer – NPP Founding Member, Kwame Pianim

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A founding member of the NPP, Kwame Pianim has expressed disappointment in the internal struggle within the Party just few months after winning an election that extended their mandate.

Speaking on TV3’s ‘The Key Points’ on Saturday, 10th April, Mr Pianim said this internal struggle has the power to the send the NPP back to opposition.

According to him, whoever is chosen as flagbearer of the Party will depend on the performance of President Akufo-Addo to win the election.

He said further that if President Akufo-Addo fails to meet expectations, the NPP cannot win 2024 even if they present former president Kuffuor as flagbearer.

He therefore wondered why people are busy fighting over who becomes the next flagbearer when the efforts should rather be on helping President Akufo-Addo to deliver on his mandate.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

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