Tells Him ‘You can’t get from courts what you did not get from people’
President John Dramani Mahama last Friday, mocked his bitterest political rival, Nana Akufo-Addo, over the Supreme Court ruling on the 2012 Presidential Election Petition, telling him in the face that “Sovereignty springs from the people and sovereignty resides in the people. The Supreme Court judgment on the election petition underscored the fact that you cannot get from the courts what you did not get from the people”.
Even though, the President failed to mention Nana Addo, in his comments, Flag Staff House insiders told The Herald that his words, were aimed at the twice defeated Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
President Mahama, made the comment on his Facebook handle last Friday, August 29, 2014 to mark the Supreme Court ruling, a year ago.
The two individuals appeared to be engaged in what clearly was a political shadow boxing as Nana Addo also fired at President Mahama, saying it was not his ambition to become President of Ghana through the Supreme Court, but rather to expose the flaws in the country’s electoral system.
“I went to Court to Clean the Electoral System,” Nana Addo, said while addressing NPP supporters at Georgia Hotel in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, last Friday.
But Nana Addo’s assertion, has been found to be untruthful as his key prayer to the Supreme Court, was to invalidate votes cast for President Mahama, effectively making him (Nana Addo) the President-Elect.
The forum in Kumasi, marked the first anniversary of the Supreme Court verdict on the petition, challenging the results declared by the Electoral Commission (EC).
“Ghana came out with her peaceable and democratic credentials enhanced. We proved to the world that we were willing and able to submerge our individual and partisan preferences to the common good. We demonstrated clearly that it was not the ambitions of Akufo-Addo, it was not the fortunes of the NPP that we sought to promote. The stability and progress of Ghana was the paramount consideration that guided our every action in those difficult days,” he said.
The NPP National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Nana Addo, and his running mate, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, went to court challenging the EC’s declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the 2012 election.
The Daily Graphic had also on Saturday quoted President Mahama as having said, “the Supreme Court ruling demonstrates the fact that you cannot get from the courts what you did not get from the people”. Adding, once the courts performed their work diligently, it was impossible to steal the sovereignty of the people.
President Mahama noted that “the court ruling validated the view that sovereignty resides with the people.
This is clearly stated in Article 1 of the 1992 Constitution”.
He hailed the Supreme Court for performing its work without blemish, even though elements in the opposition NPP, have described the ruling as ludicrous, one year down the line, Nana Akufo-Addo has turn around to tell Ghanaians that he went to court to clean the system.
Nana Addo is, however, unhappy that the EC has not implemented any of the recommendations made by the nine panel of judges.
“Ghanaians everywhere, should come together, irrespective of our political affiliations, to demand peacefully the best for our country. Going into the 2016 elections, let us demand that the Electoral Commission implements the reforms recommended by the Supreme Court, the Ghana Political Parties Programme (made up of the NPP, NDC, CPP, PPP, PNC, GCPP) and civil society to safeguard and ensure the credibility and integrity of our elections,” he added.
He said there was a need to improve on the electoral process in the country.
“The strength of any democracy is very much determined by the credibility of its electoral process and it is in everybody’s interest that we all develop an instinctive respect for the rules and regulations set out for our elections,” he indicated.
Nana Addo claimed that “It did not help matters that the court proceedings on that morning were, unfortunately, somewhat bizarre, raising tensions to almost intolerable levels” but “Ghana came out with her peaceable and democratic credentials enhanced. We proved to the world that we were willing and able to submerge our individual and partisan preferences to the common good. We demonstrated clearly that it was not the ambitions of Akufo-Addo, it was not the fortunes of the NPP that we sought to promote. The stability and progress of Ghana was the paramount consideration that guided our every action in those difficult days”.
He said “at the beginning, some questioned whether we should ever have gone to court at all. By the end, I believe it is fair to say that question was answered comprehensively and with unintended consequences. New words and phrases have entered our lexicon; “you and I were not there”; “the finger of God”; and Dr Bawumia has acquired new titles, out of which my favourite is Dr Pink Sheet”.
To him, “the message from the majority on the Court was clear: we might agree with a petitioner that strange things occurred during the elections, we might all be dissatisfied with the performance of polling agents, we might ask for presiding officers that are literate and numerate, we might even agonize about infractions of electoral regulations, but what happens at the polling station is sacred and results declared there will not be reversed”.
“I suspect that the Electoral Commissioner will no longer be in a hurry to tell anybody to go to court when the actions of the Commission are challenged. I am certain most of us will hesitate to take electoral matters to court; the lessons have been well learnt. The NPP is taking these hard lessons seriously and will approach all future elections with the experience of the Court very firmly in mind. A major lesson is the need for maximum vigilance on the part of NPP people so that we can protect our votes and ensure that our victory is correctly recorded and reported from the polling station”, said.
He went on, “the greater lesson for us as a nation is that we seek to improve our electoral process as a whole, based on the revelations that emerged from the court hearings. The strength of any democracy is very much determined by the credibility of its electoral process and it is in everybody’s interest that we all develop an instinctive respect for the rules and regulations set out for our elections. Never again should anybody feel tempted or emboldened to tamper with any aspect of the voting process — the registration, the verification, the casting of ballots, the counting, the tabulation or the declaration. The idea of anybody in the electoral process changing the figure 27 to “twenty-seven zero” should shame us all”.
According to Nana Addo, “If I have any regret, it is that the conditions in our country are worse than they were a year ago. Our economy is in a crisis, businesses are collapsing, the cost of living is unbearably high for the ordinary person, our youth remain without employment, our children are failing in their examinations, and we are experiencing strikes all over”.
“On that red-letter day a year ago, I said it was time for all of us to come together and work to find solutions for the many problems that we face. It was up to the President to seize the moment and offer the leadership to move the nation forward. Unfortunately, this has not been forthcoming” he said.
“Today, I am back in the hurly-burly of frontline politics and my enthusiasm is undiminished. I believe I can, in all humility, provide the leadership that is needed to get the NPP back into power and Ghana into prosperity if the NPP honours me again with the mandate to lead the party into the 2016 presidential election”, he concluded.