Ghana: For the NPP, 1 + 1 = 3: Any more credibility left?

By IndepthAfrica
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Jan 2nd, 2013
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By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

We have had good cause to posit arguments that the NPP’s lawsuit at the Supreme Court won’t be determined solely on the figures and documents that are contained in the petition filed by the party’s National Chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, last Friday. That is why we have cautioned the party’s followers not to be optimistic of victory.

We have also drawn attention to the fact that the NPP has the onerous burden to prove its allegations and that doing so will call for more than what the so-called documentary evidence entails.

More importantly, we have argued that by attaching President Mahama to the lawsuit, the NPP leaders have complicated matters for themselves because they will be required to go to a great length in establishing, proving, and confirming beyond all reasonable doubts that he was complicit in the electoral malpractices that they are complaining about.

We made these arguments even at the time that we hadn’t read in full the NPP’s petition. Now, we have laid hands on it and read it in its entirety to know its entailments. We cringe at what we have discovered and will insist that the petitioners have hidden motives for framing the petition the way it is and for its obvious inherent inadequacies that we have identified at several levels in that petition.

Even before we get down to the nitty-gritty, we want to say upfront that the petition is fraught with bad English, gross inconsistencies and inaccuracies, not to mention contradictions and factual misrepresentations. We know the Supreme Court will not miss those shortcomings as well.

We note that these inherent inadequacies don’t make the NPP’s case convincing. Rather, they raise disturbing questions on the integrity and credibility of the petitioners, especially for the defeated Akufo-Addo (whose construction as a “legal luminary” is at stake) and Mahamudu Bawumia (whose worth as an “astute economist” is undermined by the intricate fallacies, illogical reasoning, and outright arithmetically challenged instances in this petition).

We note again that the inherent inadequacies of this petition cast a huge cloud of doubt over the honesty and public image of the petitioners. We need not go any further. Evidence from the petition itself speaks volumes to substantiate our stance.

Granted that the substance of the petition is “figures” and nothing but “figures,” we will isolate some of the data in the petition as the basis for questioning the credibility of the petitioners and the legal team, not to mention the mass of party activists bamboozled into timidly buying into the rhetoric of their leaders to see the petition as the “solid documentary evidence” that will win them the day at the Supreme Court.

I will isolate only two of those factual errors for now to explain the problems that the petitioners have added to what has already hamstrung their efforts to save face.

Point 16: “That I further say that the total number of registered voters that 2nd Respondent furnished petitioners’ party, the NPP, was fourteen million and thirty-one thousand, six hundred and eighty (14,031,680). Subsequently it came to the notice of the Petitioners that 2nd Respondent had on Sunday 9th December 2012 declared the total number registered voters as fourteen million and one fifty-eight thousand eight hundred and ninety (14,158,890). Furthermore on the same date the 2nd Respondent posted on its website the total number of registered voters as fourteen million and thirty one million seven hundred and ninety-three (14,031,793).”

Now, let’s take a second, good look at the figure:  “the total number of registered voters as fourteen million and thirty one million seven hundred and ninety-three (14 million and 31 million, 793). What sort of computation is this?

Don’t tell me it is a typographical error because it is not. I consider it as part of the lies that the NPP leaders have piled on lies to arrive at this one grand lie!! Credibility matters a lot in cases of this sort.

The problem with this error is that it has to do with a fact, which is what will attract the Supreme Court’s attention. In legal matters of this sort, once factual errors appear in claims made by a litigant, it creates very serious credibility problems. Who will believe such a lying person?

Then, let’s move down to another serious problem in the computation and presentation of data by the petitioners. According to the NPP’s petition, the total votes declared as cast in favour of the contesting presidential candidates is as follows:

Candidate Number of votes Percentage
John D. Mahama (NDC) 5,574,761 50.70%
Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey (GCPP) 38,223 0.35%
Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo-Addo (NPP) 5,248,898 47.74%
Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom (PPP) 64,362 0.59%
Akwasi Addai Odike (UFP) 8,877 0.08%
Hassan Ayariga (PNC) 24,617 0,22%
Dr. Michael Abu Saka Forster (CPP) 20,323 0.18%
Jacob Osei Yeboah (Independent) 15,201 0.14%
TOTAL ELIGIBLE VOTES CAST

14,158,880

Now, dear reader, another factual error here as stated in the NPP’s petition. Add up these figures and you will get 10,995,262, which is exactly what the Electoral Commission posted on its Web site, not this 14,158,880 that the NPP stated in its petition. This case of “arithmetical challenge” creates another credibility problem. Unless the NPP petitioners can go back to amend this error and present a new petition solving this problem, the big question mark on their credibility hangs. And it will mean a lot to the court.

There are many other aspects of this petition that don’t redound to the image and substance of this lawsuit. We shall pick them apart to prove that the NPP leaders are either deliberately twisting matters to lose the case and use it as an exit strategy or to confirm doubts that they are really not as astute and “luminary” as they have been upheld all along by their followers.

I haven’t seen any of them as such. To me, they are only cunning politicians who know how to hide behind legal technicalities to prolong a battle that they lost long before their sad fate was confirmed and sealed at the general elections. Yet, they are adamantly unconvinced that they lost genuine elections.

It was clear to me, even before the polls, that they were not in the good books of the electorate; but buoyed up by their own self-importance and the sycophancy of their followers, they failed to read the writing on the wall. Thus, they entered the elections, so confident of victory that they didn’t put together any Plan “B” to contain the defeat and its aftershock(s).

Now that reality has sunk in, they can’t easily account for that sound defeat and are using all technicalities, subterfuge, and vain appeals to conscience to fade away from the limelight.

From what I have gathered so far, I am persuaded that not only is their petition factually deficient but they also will find it really tough proving that President Mahama played any direct role in the allegations that they have raised in their petition.

That being the case, I can’t wait any longer to see how the Supreme Court will tackle this case. I am quick to see it as nothing but a bundle of exit strategies adroitly crafted to blindfold the angry NPP supporters and apologists. These NPP leaders are seeking refuge in these technicalities and have deliberately doctored figures to suit their agenda. They know that by so doing, the court will raise serious doubts about their credibility, which will reflect negatively on the case.

Having watered down the force of their petition with these factual errors, inconsistencies, and contradictions—not to talk about the porous language in which the petition is even couched—they can now sit back, fingers crossed to hope against hope.

If it so happens that they lose the case as a matter of course, why should any supporter blame them? After all, they have a good defence in place already, which is that the matter is beyond their control. It is the Supreme Court that is to be blamed for the “unexpected” outcome. A clever exit strategy to avoid being eaten alive by their angry supporters!

Indeed, if this petition is what the NPP considers as an abracadabra to its electoral woes, then, more trouble awaits its members. The Supreme Court will need a more cogent presentation than such a weak and factually deficient petition to tilt the case in the NPP’s favour.

As the situation stands now, the Court will not even bother to consider the main substance of the petition, which is to declare Akufo-Addo as the winner of the Presidential elections. If in stating the core elements of the lawsuit the NPP can be so deficient in facts, how can it expect the Supreme Court to believe its version of the story behind the 2012 general elections?

Certainly, the real wailing and gnashing of teeth awaits them at the end of this long-drawn-out “Concert Party” show.

I shall return…

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