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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nigeria: A Declining Regional Power?

By Lord Aikins Adusei

Undoubtedly Nigeria is the only regional power in West Africa. Its economy of US$337.9 billion (2010 estimate) is the biggest in West Africa and second in Africa after South Africa. Her more than 150 million people plus more than 36 billion barrels of untapped crude oil, in addition to huge deposit of natural gas estimated to be about 120 trillion cubic feet (tcf) or about 3% of the world's total, make Nigeria a key economic power. With a defense budget of about US$2.2 billion (348 billion naira-2011 budget) and a total active manpower of more than 80,000 soldiers, Nigeria's military is not only the biggest and best funded in West Africa but also the most powerful in the sub-region. In the 1990s the country's pivotal role in ending the brutal and bloody civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone that killed hundreds of thousands of people won her approbation regionally and beyond.

A declining regional power?

However, many who have watched Nigeria since the late-1990s are feeling unease about her declining status, power, influence and the direction. For example the 2012 Mo Ibrahim Index of good governance placed the country 13 out of 15 best governed countries in West Africa and 43 out of 52 in Africa. In the West African sub-region only Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast have worst governance situation than Nigeria. In the last six years for example, the annual Failed States Index which is jointly published by the Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy magazine has consistently named Nigeria among the top 20 most failed states on the planet along side Somalia, DR Congo, Sudan, Chad, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, Iraq, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Pakistan. The import of both Indexes is that bad leadership, insecurity, bad governance, poverty and underdevelopment continue to inflict serious damages on the country's forward march with the Nigerian state unable to perform the most basic of its functions including providing security, and ensuring the safety of its citizens.

In the ongoing war in Mali, Nigeria the dominant power in West Africa has been missing in action. Although President Goodluck Jonathan pledged the largest troop numbers as part of the ECOWAS multinational force, Nigeria could not mobilize its military capabilities and assets or that of ECOWAS' countries to lead the assault against Tuareg and Al Qaeda fighters. France, a regional great power (not a global power) sitting thousands of kilometers in Europe demonstrated that it is still a force when it comes to African affairs. In less than 30 days French forces succeeded not only in halting the militants' advance to Bamako but successfully pushed them out of the cities and towns they had occupied for nearly a year.

As France's hi-tech rafale fighter jets and helicopter gunships bombed and drove the militants out of their hideouts in northern Mali, Malian women and children in Gao, Kidal and Timbuktuin appreciation of the French effortbegan singing praises to France describing French soldiers as agents of God and mocking Nigeria, and other ECOWAS states for their ineffective leadership and dithering. On January 27 this year Yayi Boni, Africa Union chairman and president of Benin Republic, indicted the Africa Union, his own leadership and that of Nigeria, the regional power. He praised France for her timely leadership role and military intervention, saying this is what "we should have done a long time ago to defend a member country".
But Nigeria's poor show in the ongoing crisis in Mali is nothing new. During the 2011 post-election violence in Ivory Coast, which saw another intervention by France, Nigeria's leadership was conspicuously missing. Though Nigeria supported military action against Gbagbo, it could not translate the rhetoric into effective action.

In the Gulf of Guinea for example, West Africa criminal gangs, Asia and South American drug cartels, European and Asian fishing and chemical companies and Al Qaeda backed militants are slowly turning the region into a haven for international narcotics and human trafficking, weapons proliferation, terrorism, maritime piracy, cyber fraud, illegal fishing, dumping ground for industrial waste, and other transnational criminal activities. Nigeria's ostrich approach to these problems has been uncharacteristic of a regional power.

In fact many of the pirates' attacks against oil tankers and cargo ships have emanated from within Nigeria itself. Last month, January 16, 2013 pirates seized a Nigerian-owned cargo ship in Abidjan and successfully carried away the 5000 tons of oil it was carrying worth $5 million. On Sunday (February, 3, 2013) a French-owned tanker was seized in the same Abidjan area by Nigeria pirates. Commenting on the seizure of ships in Abidjan, Noel Choong who heads the Piracy Reporting office of the Malaysian based International Maritime Bureau noted that: 'It appears that the Nigerian pirates are spreading. All of these vessels were tankers carrying gas oil. They are all taken back to Nigeria to siphon off the oil, and then the crews are freed'. According to Timothy Walker of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2011 a total of 49 pirates' attacks were recorded in Gulf of Guinea. This increased to 58 in 2012. The increase in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is indicative of how the internal security challenges in Nigeria are undermining regional security and stability which in turn is providing the criminals with ammunitions to expend.

In northern Nigeria more than 1500 people have died since the uprising by the Boko Haram terror group began in 2009. In fact a large part of northern Nigeria is technically under the control of Boko Haram and Ansaru which continue to terrorize citizens and foreign workers with impunity. In the middle belt and in the Niger Delta region armed robbers, kidnapers, hostage-takers, oil smugglers, communal, ethnic and tribal conflict and tension continue to make life difficult for millions of people and businesses. The December 2012 kidnapping of the mother of Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the February 2013 kidnapping of seven foreigners working for a Lebanese firm in addition to seven French citizens kidnapped in Cameroon and brought to Nigeria indicate how Nigeria's internal security challenges are undermining its status as a regional bulwark and how its weakness and fragility is affecting the security of her neighbors.

The use of smart weapons by France and its victory over the rebels illustrate the need for Nigeria to have the weapons that will enable her to achieve air superiority and establish herself as West Africa's true naval power. The 2012 publication of Nigeria's military assets by the Military Technology journal offers a glimpse as to why the armed forces have not been able to bring stability to the country and the region. It shows that despite being a very rich country, the Navy does not have a single submarine to beef up its coastal defenses and police the crime infested waters of West Africa. The authors observed that 'many ships are in very poor conditions due to lack of maintenance'. They further added that for the air force the 'serviceability of most of the aircraftis very low, and many airframes are stored in non-flyable conditionswhile others have been effectively abandoned due to lack of maintenance'. The non-serviceability of most of the country's planes partly underscores why Nigeria cannot project power in the region and explains why Germany and Britain had to step in to volunteer to transport ECOWAS forces to Mali.

Among the global power elite, policy-makers and scholars, Nigeria's decline is a worrying problem. This is because in a rough neighborhood and conflict ridden environment like that of West Africa there is always the need for a regional power to maintain stability. But with Nigeria's inability to maintain security and stability both at home and in the region and with no viable candidate in the region to replace her, the future stability, security, peace and development of Nigeria and the region is in doubt. In fact Robert D. Kaplan's prediction of a 'coming anarchy' in the region may not be far from reality.

Consequences of the Decline

One of the consequences of Nigeria's inability to solve its internal problems or provide leadership in the subregion is that the political and economic integration of ECOWAS as a regional block has stalled. This becomes clearer when ECOWAS is compared with other regional groupings such as ASEAN, SADC, and the EU, and the key role individual regional powers are playing in them. For example the SADC region is considered the most progressive region in Africa courtesy South Africa. South Africa is frequently cited as a rising power with substantial growing economic, political, diplomatic and military power of which she is aggressively using to reshape the international order to its advantage. South Africa is also cited as providing leadership, mobilizing, organizing, and building coalition on key regional issues with the countries in SADC. South Africa is counted among global elite groups such as G20, BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) with influence and power to reshape the current global development. Meanwhile Nigeria continues to find herself in the club of G77.
Another consequence is that Nigeria's decline has led to greater instability and insecurity in the subregion as can be seen in Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea and the narco state of Guinea Bissau. In fact a power vacuum has been created which is increasingly being filled by criminal gangs and hegemonic external powers notably France, the United States and Britain. As I write Mali's future is being decided in Brussels far away from Nigeria the regional power. If the power vacuum continues it will have strategic consequences not only for Nigeria but also for the entire region.

Reviving Nigeria

The question is: What can be done to turn Nigeria around? First and foremost the Nigerian state must recognize that its decline is self inflicted even if external forces and events have played a role in it. At the heart of the problem is the neo-patrimonial power system that serves only the interest of the few and which has led to what Patrick Chabal of Kings College-London has termed elite 'enrichment without development'. The elite capture politics with its concomitant by-product of extreme poverty, inequality, conflict, terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, violence, cyber fraud and corruption ought to be dismantled.
The question is: How can such a system be dismantled? I suggest this could come in a form of a very broad comprehensive reform to be carried out in all the institutions and sectors of the state: from the security establishment, to the presidency, the judiciary, legislature, to the civil service, and the private sector. The reform should aim at not only undoing the opportunistic manipulation, neo-patrimonial and vertical power structures that have been constructed by the political elite but to allow for a more active role by the civil society and the marginalized citizens to ensure greater democratic accountability, good governance, human security, and inclusive development in the country.

The problem though is who will carry out the reform and how. With so many entrenched interests in the country it is difficult to think about reform or successfully implementing one from the top. In this regard a reform engineered from the bottom up by civil society cum the masses might be the only viable option available to kick start the change badly needed to revitalize the country.
Nevertheless Nigeria's power holders need to realize that the country's position in the world is dependent on what it does first at home, second in West Africa and third in Africa. But what it does at home is also linked to a successful reform that will rescue the country from the grips of the few home-grown oligarchs and external parasites that have since independence being milking and paralyzing the country and preventing it from strongly playing its role as a true regional power. Any delay in carrying out a reform will not only make the 'paper tiger' and 'sleeping giant' stories that have long been associated with the country a reality but will also make the nose-diving decline of the country very hard to reverse.

Lord Aikins Adusei
(February 12, 2013)

AMA, KMA leadership have failed Ghanaians- Kyei-Baffour

A local governance expert, and former president of the National Association of Local Authorities in Ghana (NALAG), Mr. George Kyei-Baffour has chastised the leadership of the Accra, Tema and Kumasi Metropolitan Assemblies for what he describes as their poor performance since assuming office.

Mr Kyei-Baffour cites the poor coordination between the Assemblies, their Regional Coordinating Councils and the local government ministry, leading to the increased agitation and apathy among residents in those metropolises, as a prime example of this failure.

Mr. Kyei-Baffour was speaking Monday on Adom FM’s “Dea Mehunu” programme, which was also broadcast live on Asempa FM.

He insisted that the Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuye, that of Tema, Mr. Robert Kempes Ofosuware and the recently nominated Mayor of Kumasi, Mr. Kojo Bonsu have exhibited gross incompetence in the management of the developmental issues in their areas thereby putting more pressure on the central government.

He accused Mr. Kojo Bonsu, who is reported to have put up gigantic billboards across the city of Kumasi, of engaging in populist activities which will not benefit the people of the metropolis.

The 5×10 feet-size billboards, with the inscription: “Asanteman Welcomes Mayor Kojo Bonsu,” and bearing his large portraits, have not only announced his presence with a big bang in the metropolis, but also set tongues wagging.

The billboards are strategically dotted across the city in areas such as Santasi road, Airport roundabout, Fumesua railway line and Suame, among other areas.

The local governance expert noted that the inability of the Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuye to find a lasting solution to the activities of hawkers in the metropolis is a sign of failure.

Meanwhile, the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh has expressed worry at the inability of District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives to properly undertake the tenets of the local governance system, forcing government to intervene at the local level to undertake development projects.

Ameyaw-Cheremeh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sunyani East has therefore called on the assemblies to make good use of the Common Fund and draw up forward-looking programmes and projects.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Atuguba sets May 16 for ruling on motion filed by Tsatsu

Atuguba sets May 16 for ruling on motion filed by Tsatsu

Presiding Judge William Atuguba has ruled that the hearing on the application by Counsel for the third respondent Tsatsu Tsikata to cross examine petitioners' witness who have come by affidavits evidence be set for May 16.

Before the court rose yesterday, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata indicated that he had a motion to cross-examine key witnesses of the petitioners.

Details of the motion were not disclosed, but it was learnt that there were about three witnesses supposedly from the New patriotic Party whom Mr Tsikata sought to cross-examine.

What is however clear was that the petitioners would contest the motion because they were opposed to it.

A member of the legal team of the petitioners, Ms Gloria Akufo, said in an interview yesterday.

In his ruling Presiding Judge Atuguba said the 1st and 2nd Respondents, Tony Lithur and Quarshie Idun respectively have also filed similar motions.

It will therefore be convenient to hear all motions at the same time.

He therefore sets May 16 for the hearing of the motion. Counsel on all sides agreed to the adjournment.

The Supreme Court has established a mode of trial which allows all witnesses to submit their testimony by affidavit instead of mounting the witness stand.

The exception has however been made for key witnesses to testify in person. This explains Dr. Bawumia’s presence in the box.

Tsatsu’s bid if successful would see a fresh witness from the petitioners in the box

Read the following to understand the basis for Atuguba's ruling

First of all, the Supreme Court Rules gives the panel the discretion to “...adjourn any action or matter before it as it considers fit to do and upon such terms as it may think fit." The established practice or explanation is that it would consider such postponement necessary in the interest of justice. That is the guiding principle and I find this warranting the adjournment and all parties also agreeing. In this situation, however, the overriding consideration is the need to consolidate the various and similar other processes we are told have been filed by the other parties. The practice and for good reason according Order 31 of the High Court Rules is that where two or more “...matters are pending in the same Court and it appears to the Court:

(a) that some common question of law or fact arises in both or all of them; or
(b) that the rights to relief claimed are in respect of or arise out of the same transaction or series of transactions; or
(c) that for some other reason it is desirable to make an order under this rule,

the Court may order those causes or matters to be consolidated on such terms as it considers just, or may order them to be tried at the same time or one immediately after another, or may order any of them to be stayed until the determination of any other of them.”

They are simply availing themselves of what I term “the narrow but difficult window to access” which the Court from the onset early in April directed was available to witnesses who will swear affidavits for the trial. The Petitioners have less than a dozen of such witnesses while the 1st and 3rd Respondents have in excess of 7000 of such witnesses. The decision was that such witnesses were liable to be cross-examined if the party applying for them to be called into the witness box could advance compelling reasons for the application. [Credit to Samson Lardy Ayenini]

Outside court: Counsel for petitioners, respondents cite each other for peddling falsehood


Outside court: Counsel for petitioners, respondents cite each other for peddling falsehood
Tsatsu Tsikata entered day 9 of his cross-examination of Dr Bawumia (L) on Tuesday

Ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling on an objection raised against an accusation that petitioners in the election fraud case acted in bad faith, lawyers for both sides have accused each other of peddling falsehood.

A member of the NDC legal team, Abraham Amaliba reiterated on Joy News that the bad faith was premised on the fact that the petitioners focused their claims of irregularities in the stronghold of the first respondent, to portray as though the infractions only occurred there.

He said what the lead counsel for the third respondent, Tsatsu Tsikata sought to do in court was to point out similar infractions in the stronghold of the first petitioner, which he claimed were overlooked by the petitioners.

“First and foremost, you need to understand that these petitioners headed to court with these allegations they called irregularities, these allegations we described as administrative errors,” he remarked.

He insisted that the assertion of bad faith was pleaded in the affidavit of the third respondent.

But this attracted a sharp rebuttal from a member of the petitioners’ legal team, Madam Gloria Akuffo, who described the claim as a “lie”.

She explained: “The truth of the matter is that Mr Tsikata was seeking to lay a foundation for making a case of having brought the case in bad faith. The rule requires that when you make such an allegation, you don’t leave it to a general traverse: that is just making the allegations without giving any further details.”

She said the counsel should have provided particulars to prove that there was bad faith in the case brought by the petitioners, but that was not done in their affidavit sworn to by Mr Asiedu Nketia, representing the first and third respondents.

She therefore accused the respondents of going through the “backdoor” to get their case heard, and promised that the petitioners will “strike out as having been put there irregularly”.

But Mr Amaliba countered her claim, and accused her of laying claim to an “untrue” statement, adding that Madam Akuffo was relying on High Court’s civil procedure rules, when the case is being heard at the Supreme Court.

He cited the ruling bothering on bad faith on a pink sheet from Asokwa, saying the court had only wanted to ensure that “their ruling today would be in tandem with their earlier ruling”.

Nevertheless, Madam Akuffo thinks Mr Amaliba has “misstated the ruling of the court”.

She said: “The court in applying the rules had ruled that, as far as it is practicable, it will apply the Supreme Court rules of procedure. But where there are no specific provisions in the Supreme Court rules, it shall apply the High Court civil procedure rules.”

NDC lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata today accused principal witness of the petitioners Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and his co-petitioners of deliberately ignoring pink sheets in the NPP’s stronghold which have the same alleged infractions.

But lead counsel for the petitioners, Phillip Addison objected strongly to the accusation.

Mr Addison insisted that Mr Tsikata had no evidence to back that accusation.

After few minutes of back and forth, president of the judges hearing the case, Justice Atuguba deferred ruling on the objection raised on bad faith.

He said the panel have ruled on a similar objection and will want to be consistent, and therefore want to locate that ruling. Proceedings was adjourned to Wednesday, 930 am for the ruling. 

Bawumia accuses Tsatsu of hiding behind mislabeling to run away from the truth


Bawumia accuses Tsatsu of hiding behind mislabeling to run away from the truth
Tsikata vrs Bawumia during cross-examination

Court today took a dramtic turn after the witness Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, accussed counsel for National Democratic Congress (NDC) Tsatsu Tsikata of running away from the truth – his truth as found in his analysis- and hiding behind exhibits.

Tsikata has tried to prove with several pink sheets that exhibits used by Bawumia in his evidence was ripe with “dishonest” and “misleading” claims.

Counsel showed him pink sheet exhibits which has been mislabeled and put in different categories of irregularity.

He cited the pink sheet exhibit for Methodist Primary at Huniso and asked the witness to locate the counterpart copy. Bawumia located it but with a different exhibit number.

In all these pink sheets, Dr.Bawumia has admitted that they are “mislabeling” errors but insisted with his trademark line that “it was used once in his analysis”.

He again showed him repetition of the exhibit numbers in the counterpart copies provided by the petitioners and asked Bawumia to confirm it. Witness confirmed the repetition but again attributed this to "mislabeling".

Examination of exhibit number 005998 then threw up the drama.

“There is an exhibit attached to affidavit with a certain polling station now you are giving a different polling station to that exhibit already in evidence”, Tsatsu questioned.

He added “it is not true when you try to suggest that an exhibit with that number has been provided to this court. This an example of your dishonesty to the court”

Bawumia explained by admitting that “there was a mislabeling of two polling stations Catholic JSS Prestea and funeral grounds Ankaba for which the same serial number was used”.

“It is an error”, he said. His remedial suggestion was that “we can relabel this properly”.

He then proceeded to passionately address Tsatsu’s accusation of dishonesty.

“If you want to be honest with the court let us put down my analysis. If you are not afraid of the truth, show me one repeated polling stations in my analysis. If you are afraid of the truth then of course you would hide behind these exhibit numbers”.

His latest response drew the attention of Presiding Judge Atuguba.

“This is not a free fight” and do not trade "Bukom blows”, he warned Bawumia. “Limit yourself to the extent of the question," he advised.

Tsatsu insisted that the issue should not be "treated lightly". He asserted he was “not afraid of the truth” but “bothered” about his propensity to be dishonest. He said Bawumia was avoiding his questions.

Counsel for the Petitioners, Philip Addison waded into the controversy, mocking Tsikata that he got the answer he asked for. According to him, it was he, Tsikata who questioned the integrity and honesty of the witness and the witness responded in like manner.

Justice Atuguba then intervened and said that Bawumia ought to understand that he could not "crossfire", he [Tsatsu] was not him the witness box.

"In the witness box your credibility is at stake" not opposing counsel, Atuguba intoned.

Counting Of Pink Sheets Surprising –Akomea

Nana Akomea
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The Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (PPP,) has indicated as surprising the request by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that an audit be conducted on the number of pink sheets submitted by the petitioners as evidence at the Supreme Court.

According to Nana Akomea, the second respondent which is the Electoral Commission (EC) and the all the nine judges of the Supreme Court have not complained that the number of pink sheets it received was short of the 11, 842 tendered by the petitioners as evidence.

He said when the EC earlier on complained of similar happening, it went for the rest of the pink sheets from the court registry.

“The NDC should have gone to the court registry to ask for the rest if they claim they have not received all the 11, 842 pink sheets the petitioners have tendered as evidence,” he noted.

He further pointed out that the counsel for the NDC, Tsatsu Tsikata, kept asking the same questions which bothered on the position of pink sheets stamp as well as duplicate and triplicate of pink sheets even though the principal witness for the petitioners, Dr, Mahamudu Bawumia, had consistently answered him that regardless of any duplications, only one was used in the final analysis.

That, he hinted might be a strategy ostensibly to delay the hearing and to create the impression that the petitioners have bloated the number of pink sheets.

Mr. Akomea also expressed serious reservations about some personnel of the National Security who he said on Thursday stormed the Supreme Court registry after the day’s hearing to take custody of pink sheets but were refused by the officials at the registry.

He questioned the motive behind that action which he said led to a confrontation between the National Security personnel and the officials at the court registry.

The Supreme Court on Thursday called for an audit of pink sheets submitted by the petitioners as evidence by the accounting firm, KPMG following a request by the Counsel of the NDC which was supported by the counsels for the EC and President John Dramani Mahama.
Source: Today

"Look At The Analysis" – BAWUMIA DARES TSATSU

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Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, lead witness of the petitioners in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition hearings at the Supreme Court, on Tuesday dared counsel for the 3rd Respondents, Tsatsu Tsikata, to “get into” the analysis of the 11,138 polling stations whose results the petitioners are praying the court to annul and show one instance of double counting or padding.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who was being cross examined by the Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 9th day running debunked suggestions by the Counsel that the petitioners had deliberately padded and double counted polling stations to make up their numbers and urged the NDC lawyer not to hide behind mislabelling in the exhibits submitted, but to look at the analysis which shows no double counting if the counsel is not afraid of the truth.

Counsel for John Mahama, Tony Lithur, who earlier cross examined Dr. Bawumia for 4 days and Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata who is in his ninth day of cross examining the petitioner’s lead witness have constantly insisted that the petitioners deliberately padded and double counted to deceive the court and create the impression that there were indeed over 11,000 polling stations in contention.

However, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has consistently insisted to the counsels and the court that that suggestion is far from reality and that in the analysis of the petitioners, each polling station was used once and that even if a polling station reflects twice in the exhibits submitted, it would be purely a result of mislabeling and it would not affect the analysis.

Indeed on the second day of his cross examination by Counsel Tony Lithur, Dr. Bawumia offered to tender in the analysis of the updated 11,138 polling stations which the petitioners are challenging and which details the various irregularities which affected each of the polling stations in contention, the votes secured in those polling stations by the various candidates in the December 7th Elections, the serial numbers of the polling station pink sheets used, the polling station codes among other details.

But the offer to tender in that analysis to prove to the respondents that there was not a single issue of double counting in the analysis was refused by the Counsel who rather kept on asking questions about mislabelling in the exhibits submitted.

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata who has spent more than half of the Court’s sittings so far cross examining the witness, has also gone on the same tangent of pointing to mislabelling duplications in the exhibits submitted, which the petitioners have continued to insist has no effect on the analysis or the number of votes they are seeking to annul.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, also the 2nd petitioner has continued to challenge the Counsel to look at the analysis and point out any duplications or double counting in them.

It is interesting to note that before the substantive case even began, the petitioners had submitted to the court and the respondents, a list of 11,842 polling stations which were under contention detailing the scope of irregularities which have been identified on the face of the pink sheets from those stations.

The respondents after receiving the particulars claimed that there was double counting in them and that the list was not even up to 11,000 but till date, all three respondents have failed to substantiate those claims.

The lead witness during the cross examination even challenged the respondents earlier in his cross examination, to substantiate the claims of padding and double counting in the further and better particulars but the respondents have so far failed to take up the challenge.
Source: Communications Directorate, NPP/Ghana

The Court Is Determining Whether There Were Irregularities Not Mislabeling

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Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, lead witness of the petitioners in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition hearings has reminded Counsel for the 3rd respondents (National Democratic Congress - NDC), Tsatsu Tsikata that the issues the Supreme Court is determining bothers on whether there were irregularities in the conduct of the December Presidential Elections and therefore that is where Counsel’s concentration should be and not mislabeling of exhibits which do not affect the analysis or the numbers the petitioners are seeking to annul.

Dr. Bawumia who is 2nd Petitioner in the case made the statement on the 9th day of his cross examination by the NDCs Tsatsu Tsikata who had spent large parts of the day and preceding days concentrating on showing to the witness mislabeling and duplication of pink sheet exhibits submitted by the petitioners to the court.

However, as the lead witness has consistently stated, he informed the court that the mislabeling and duplication of exhibits did not affect the analysis of the petitioners and that each polling station was used once in the analysis.

He also reminded the Counsel that the reason why the petition was being heard was to determine whether there were malpractices like over voting, voting without biometric verification, no signature of presiding officers or the use of duplicate serial numbers for different polling stations and that the court was not determining whether there was mislabeling in the exhibits submitted.

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata like previous days used the sitting on the irregularity identified by the petitioners as the use of duplicate serial numbers for different polling stations and tried to suggest that in the category of exhibits identifying such polling stations, there had been mislabeling and duplications.

Dr. Bawumia acknowledged the mislabeling but informed the Counsel that the critical issue was whether indeed it was the case that the polling stations listed by the petitioners to have been affected by the irregularity of duplicate serial numbers had pink sheets with same serial numbers as other polling stations which had inevitably called into question the integrity of the polls in those polling stations as the security of the sheets had been breached.

He tasked the Counsel for the NDC not to hide behind mislabeling and make accusations of double counting and to look at the analysis which showed no double counting if he was not afraid of the truth of there being no duplication or padding in the analysis as the Counsel tries to suggest.

On the significance of the occurrence of duplicate serial numbers which had been downplayed by the Counsel, Dr. Bawumia disagreed and said the issue of unique serial numbers which had been breached was very important and that till date the 2nd respondent had not been able to come out with a tenable rationale for printing two sets of pink sheets for only the presidential election and going ahead to release all two sets for the elections.

He added that the use of duplicate serial numbers was very clever and difficult to detect. He said that the issue of duplicate serial numbers could not be detected by polling agents or observers and that it was only through the use of computer programmes that the irregularity could be unearthed. 

Tsatsu Tsikata Will Not Cross Examine Dr. Bawumia Till Thy Kingdom Come

Tsatsu Tsikata
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Nana Ato Dadzie, a member of the NDC legal team in the on-going trial challenging the 2012 election results has assured that, the lead counsel for the NDC, Tsatsu Tsikata is likely to conclude his cross examination with the star witness of the petitioners, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia soon.

According to him, the cacophonies scattering that Mr. Tsikata is prolonging with his cross examination will not last till ‘thy kingdom come’ as the counsel is preparing to clinch with Dr. Bawumia so other witnesses will mount the witness box and be cross examined as demanded by Tsatsu, when he filed a motion during Monday’s hearing.

The Supreme Court as part of its directive ordered the parties involved in the election petition case to come by affidavits testimony in order to facilitate a quick trial.

The Court however directed it will grant a special indulgence to key witnesses to appear in person and if necessary grant an application for other witnesses who have sworn affidavits to appear in person.

Tsatsu Tsikata jumped on such advantage of this stipulation and has applied to cross examine some of the witnesses for the petitioners who have sworn affidavits for the petitioners.

Speaking on Asempa FM, Nana Ata Dadzie however listed the said witnesses likely to be in the witness box after Dr. Bawumia.

“These witnesses are Mr. Eugene Sarkie, a former NPP candidate for Upper West Akim constituency; Kwabena Twum Nuamah who is also an MP for, Freda Prempeh and one Fuseinu who made an allegation of irregularities will all appear before the court to answer some questions.
“Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata will not ask Dr. Bawumia questions till thy kingdom come. A time will come when it will be over and when it’s over that is what we are saying these are the people we would like to call,” he said.

He however said that the first petitioner of the case, Nana Akufo- Addo would be cross examined by Tsatsu Tsikata if the need arises.
Source: King Edward Ambrose Washman Addo/ Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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