The London-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has said in its February report that the election petition by the three leading members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo Addo, Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, to the Supreme Court, will fall on rocks.
According to the EIU, the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the presidential result, given what it called ‘lack of alleged evidence of systematic malpractice.’
Below are excerpts from the 11-paged article in the March, 2013 edition of the Africawatch Magazine on the Ghana’s 2012 general elections, which highlighted the findings of the EIU Report.:
Even a cursory review of the petitioners’ case shows that it has no real substance as their evidence amounts to electoral discrepancies - which are not sufficient enough to overturn a presidential result.
This is also the verdict of the London-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) which, in a country report on Ghana published in February, clearly stated “The Supreme Court is likely to uphold the (presidential) result given a lack of evidence of systematic malpractice.”
But the EIU warned that: “The court’s rejection of the case would anger opposition supporters and could trigger isolated unrest, although it would be unlikely to lead to widespread instability given the general population’s respect for the rule of law.”
So why is Akufo-Addo pursuing the case of risk damaging the NPP’s reputation?
Some say he is just trying to save face after his painful loss in a scheme to keep control of the party and run again for the presidency in 2016. That would be his third attempt, if he gets the nomination.
Nana Akomea, the NPP’s director of communications, defended Akufo-Addo, claiming that the losing candidate had been “inundated with so many telephone calls by angry supporters of the party threatening mayhem. Some even threatened to end their lives if the leadership failed to ensure that the right thing is done for justice to prevail".
That suggests that Akufo-Addo may be acting based on the emotions of his supporters. Former Finance Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo, Akufo-Addo’s right-hand man, explained: “If they (the petitioners) had chosen the other path (of street demonstrations) other than the court, they could have sparked chaos in the country.”
Maafo and other members of Akufo-Addo’s inner circle, who are the principal drivers of the court case, claim that the court action is intended to ensure peace and protect the country’s democracy, and that Akufo-Addo would use only constitutional means to seek redress to his electoral grievances. But Maafo, a senior politician, is being economical with the truth.
Recently, some members of the Akufo-Addo team exchanged communications in which they discussed how to proceed with their election challenge. Copies of these messages were leaked to Africawatch. In one of them, a cousin of Akufo-Addo, name withheld, who visited the United States to seek international support for the court case, wrote in an e-mail from New York.
“My very good friend and former flat mate at university who works at U.N. put together an informal dinner meeting with some 13 U.N. department heads and ambassadors, including an AU ambassador to the U.N., Dr. Ayebare, in my honor to brief them about our court case.
“At the beginning I asked the Rwandan permanent secretary, Ambassador Eugene Gasana, who is also a member of the U.N. Security Council , to sum up their impression of Ghana’s 2012 election. ‘It was free and fair, smooth. It made us all very proud,’ he said, to nods all round.
”At the end of the three-hour dinner, it fell on him again to sum up the sentiment around the table and this is what he said: ‘This is all news to us. There are 54 of us (African ambassadors) here. I can tell you that at least 53 of us don’t know this story. …You must communicate more.’
“To appreciate the extent to which others went to dim down our story, the AU rep and former Ugandan ambassador to the U.N. said he has a friend at the Tullow Oil office in London who told him of how much money the company pumped into PR to ensure that the international media told a positive story about Ghana elections.
“They did not do it for the gov’t but to protect their business interest in Ghana,” he explained. “Awa, a lawyer and dept. head at UNDP, said it all: “Well, in Africa now, what has become normal is that opposition parties always cry foul after a defeat."
“… I will suggest that as hearing (in the Ghana Supreme Court) begins, we must activate the back-burner strategy of getting the outside world to hear us, too.”
So the Akufo Addo team has a “back-burner strategy” that will be implemented if their 'Plan A' does not succeed. This is clearly articulated in another e-mail sent from New York by Akufo Addo’s cousin on Feb.23.
“The truth is, the country is not showing enough anger”, he moaned. “Apart from (the) cash-strapped ‘Let My Vote Count‘ mobilization efforts, which (are) receiving lukewarm endorsement and support from the party, what have we done?”, he asked his colleagues back home, with a tinge of anger.
“Isn’t it a serious indictment that we have not been able to mobilize thousands of people onto the streets?”, he asked them.
“Are we not going to feed on the current anger, precipitated by fuel price increases, water and energy crisis to express mass anger and mass support for our case?”
The cousin’s anger was now at the boiling point. “We are sleeping," he thundered.
“And we shall once again have our tilapia stolen right from our noses in this judicial pond if we don’t wake the heck up with the kind of cacophony that can disturb the tranquility of the international community. Let us get them to pay attention to us even before we mount the witness box to lay out our evidence. Otherwise this whole thing, I fear, could be academic."
Unfortunately for this cousin of Akufo Addo, even many NPP parliamentarians who control the big microphones in parliament house do not share his doomsday views, and have little enthusiasm for the court case. This was communicated back to the cousin in New York by one of the petitioners in the case (name withheld).
He wrote: “If the reaction of our MPs to my presentation on Wednesday is anything to go by, then I am afraid we have not yet made our case even to our die-hard supporters in Ghana. Many got convinced for the first time. It’s difficult to get people out on the streets if they don’t know or believe in your case."
So if the Akufo Addo team cannot convince its own die-hard supporters about the necessity of the case, can they sway the justices of the Supreme Court?