Jean Mensa is the only returning officer; we’re not targeting her – Tsikata
The lead counsel for former President John Mahama, in the election petition case, Tsatsu Tsikata says the quest to challenge the 2020 presidential result is not meant to target the personality of the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Adukwei Mensa.
He said this, during a repartee between him and Nene Amegatcher, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court during the second hearing of NDC’s 2020 presidential candidates’ petition case was being held.
According to the Justice, the constant emphasis of the EC boss’ name in the election petition gives the impression that the petitioner seeks to attack the personality of Mrs Mensa.
Thus, the Justice suggested that the lawyer refrain from using the Jean Mensa’s name and rather address the office of the Electoral Commission since any of her deputies can replace her in her absence and answer the interrogatories.
But in a quick rebuttal, Mr Tsikata said mentioning the EC Chairperson’s name is material to the petition but not with an intent of malice.
Citing the 1992 constitution, Mr Tsikata further explained that Mrs Mensa was the only Returning Officer of the 2020 presidential election, therefore, is the only one who can answer the interrogations.
“My lord with the greatest respect, I believe that the constitutional requirement regarding the Returning Officer and the particular circumstances that we are dealing with in this case do not make it possible the situation that you are envisaging where somebody else steps in for the Chairperson.
“Respectfully, the constitution makes the Chairperson and only that chairperson the Returning Officer, and in the circumstances of this case, that chairperson happened to be the person we have referred to in the petition. And that Chairperson actually was the person who undertook her responsibilities in accordance with the various constitutional and legal provision that we have,” he said.
In that regard he added, “So My Lord, we do not mention her name by way of targeting an individual that is very far from it.”
“When I citied before you a decision of the Supreme Court and I cited the decision of Justice Gbadegbe as an individual judge. He read a unanimous decision of the whole Court; I did not target Justice Gbadegbe when I mentioned his name, because he happened to read that judgment. Equally, I do not target Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa when I say that she made the declaration on December 9, 2020. It is not a target, it is just a fact that is material in this particular petition,” he emphasised.
The National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama has petitioned the Supreme Court to order a second round of the December 7, election.
According to the former President, the votes obtained by New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, President Nana Akufo-Addo and himself in the December 7, election as declared by the EC Chair were not enough to be declared winner.
In his petition to the Supreme Court Wednesday, Mr Mahama said, “The claim that percentage of votes obtained by the 2nd Respondent [Nana Akufo-Addo] was 51.595% [6,730,413] of the total valid votes that she distinctly stated to have been 13,434,574 was a manifest error, as votes cast for 2nd Respondent would amount to 50.098% and not the 51.595% erroneously declared.”
He said the 1st Respondent in her December 9 declaration said the NDC candidate obtained 6,214,889 being 47.366% of the valid votes.
“From the total votes cast of 13,434,574, petitioner’s percentages would reduce to 46.260% and not the 47.366% erroneously declared.
“The percentage attribute to all but one of the other candidates by Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa were all incorrect,” he said.
The former President argued that if all the valid votes for all the candidates who contested the election are put together, it would total “13,121,111, a figure that is completely missing from the purported declaration by Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa on December 9, and the purported rectification on December 10.”
Mr Mahama said the percentage of all the valid votes for the 12 contesting candidates “would yield a total of 100.03%.”
This he said is a “mathematical and statistical impossibility, a further proof of the wrongfulness and unconstitutionality of the purported declaration.”