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Election petition: Jean Mensa’s refusal to testify sets ‘very bad precedent’ – Mahama

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The presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 elections, Mr John Mahama, has expressed reservations about the Supreme Court not allowing Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson Jean Mensa to mount the witness box to be cross-examined in the just-ended election petition. 

Addressing the media on Thursday evening, Mr Mahama stated that: “The vital part of the process to establish the truth and hold Mrs Mensa accountable was blocked time and again by protective cordon and firewall that I’m sure has confounded many Ghanaians”.

“The refusal of this Chairperson is in sharp contrast to the readiness with which Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, then-Chairman of the Electoral Commission, willingly testified in the 2013 election petition filed by then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP”.

Mr Mahama continued: “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 very bad precedent for the future”.

Mr Mahama was of the belief that the EC plays a vital role in the country’s democracy and, therefore, should be able to render accounts of its work, more so in the apex court when its stewardship was in question.

“I disagree with the suggestions 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 further noted.   

Earlier, the Supreme Court upheld the results of last year’s presidential election, saying the petitioner failed to prove that the winner did not cross the constitutionally required threshold of more than 50 per cent of the votes cast.

The judgment means President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will continue in office as President until his second term is over.

Nana Akufo-Addo polled 51.3 per cent of the valid votes, according to figures from the Electoral Commission while the petitioner, who was the 2020 flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, polled 47 per cent.

Delivering the judgment, Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah said: “The petition is dismissed as without merit.”

According to the court, the correction of an error concerning the total number of valid votes cast by the EC Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa, was within her mandate and did not affect the will of the people.

Also, the court said Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC and first witness of the petitioner, confirmed admitted in court during his cross-examination that per the EC’s figures, Nana Akufo-Addo crossed the more-than-50 per cent threshold.

The Bench also said no credible evidence was adduced by the petitioner to contradict the figures announced by the EC.

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