The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) seems to be jittery over the petition filed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the Supreme Court against the declaration of President John Mahama as winner of the 2012 presidential elections.
In spite of rubbishing the NPP’s claim that the elections were rigged, DAILY GUIDE can confirm that leading members of the ruling administration, especially at the seat of government, the Osu Castle, and national executives of the party, have started making frantic calls and sending text messages to the various regions, asking Regional Ministers to gather evidence for its defence in court.
The Regional Ministers have been instructed to inform the various Parliamentary candidates of the party to talk to their polling agents to produce their ‘blue/pink’ sheets on which the results of the respective polling stations were recorded on election day.
One of such text messages which allegedly emanated from the Castle and dispatched from one of the handlers of the President to the Regional Ministers and their Deputies reads, “Hon. Regional Minister & Deps, kindly note that we r waiting for the Blue (now red) slips.
These docs r very important in our preparation to counter allegations from our opponents and building our court defence.
It is unforgivable that some of u have failed to send them to us. If you have sent them pls indicate who you gave them to. If you have not sent them pls send them before the close of day. Thk u.”
The text message was said to have been sent on Friday, the day the NPP filed its case in court.
Though the name of the government official who sent the text messages to all 10 Regional Ministers have deliberately been left out of this report, the content of the message shows the NDC appears to be suffering some setbacks in retrieving those blue/pink or red sheets which contain the information needed to defend themselves (the President) in court since they are the first defendants.
Daily Guide sources said an earlier message was sent to the Ministers after the opposition NPP issued a directive asking its polling agents to disregard any calls by the Electoral Commission (EC) to submit their blue/pink or red sheets on which the results of the general elections were recorded.
The NDC is however believed to have managed to influence some NPP polling stations to release the sheets to them.
Deputy Communications Director for the NPP, Sammy Awuku, said he was not the least surprised at the reaction of key and influential members of the NDC since the case was filed.
“I am not expecting the NDC to come out with anything different than to criticise what we have stated,” he said.
According to him, “they can bribe every institution but I don’t think our judges are buyable minds so that whole propaganda that they started about 10 days ago that the judiciary is corrupt is not going to wash.”
He was however confident “the law lords and the distinguished members of the bench will do this nation proud so we can have peace. Let there be peace and let there be justice because peace is a by-product of justice.”
“I have heard the likes of Kwesi Pratt and some apostles of the NDC saying that the NPP is taking this path because we want power sharing.”
Awuku claimed that was coming from ‘very pathetic minds’ since according to him, “if the Constitutional provision says you can challenge the eligibility and credibility of elections in the law court, how can you say somebody seeking to invoke those articles in the Constitution is seeking to create chaotic situation in the country, then you don’t appreciate the full essence of the Constitutional provision and for that matter democracy.”
Meanwhile, a member of the NPP, John Ndebugri, has criticised the party’s decision to petition the Supreme Court against the president.
According to him, the NPP’s decision to join President Mahama in the suit is in contravention of the provisions in Article 57 of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr. Ndebugre, in an interview with Citi Fm, cited a number of precedents to prove the president’s immunity from any legal action while serving in office.
“Clause 5 of article 57 of the 1992 constitution gives only absolute immunity to the President. It says that the President while he is in office is not liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in any court.”
“In the 1969 constitution, the provision was tested in the case of Salla Vrs. Attorney General. It was held in that case that the President could not be sued.”
Mr. Ndebugri said it was “the NPP that first tested this provision in the 1992 constitution, in the case of New Patriotic Party vrs. Jerry Rawlings [former President]… It was decided in that case the President could not be sued personally.”
President Can Be Sued
However, a criminal law lecturer at the University of Ghana, Mr William Kissi Agyebeng, told Joy Fm that it would be a misconception to state that the president was insulated from suit.
He said that the president was joined in the suit because the law says the person whose election is being called into question should be made the first respondent and the Electoral Commission the second respondent, “so he is not being sued as the president but the president-elect.”
Mr Agyebeng explained, though, that the president could not be held personally liable for any suit, be it criminal or civil.
He said the petition filed by the NPP would not affect the swearing in of President Mahama; and neither would its outcome prejudice actions taken by him in his capacity as president.
“If the ruling goes in his favour then nothing changes, he goes on to become the president. But if the ruling does not go in his favour and it turns, either we go for a second round or that his main challenger is declared the president rather than him, then whatever he’s done as president before that declaration remains intact – because he did it as president.”
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu/Daily Guide/Ghana
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