After seven (7) days of cross examination of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia by Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tsatsu Tsikata, in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition hearings, what has become apparent is the failure of the Counsel to damage the credibility of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, but rather the unintended damage suffered by Tsatsu to his own image in various incidents which have gone a considerable way to also weaken the case of the respondents.
It became very obvious from the cross examination of Tony Lithur, Counsel for John Mahama, earlier in the trial that the key strategy was to dent the image and credibility of the petitioners, particularly Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who led the team that uncovered the irregularities that affected the conduct and outcome of the December 7th Presidential Elections.
With Counsel Tony Lithur obviously failing to achieve this goal after almost four days of cross examination, the onus fell squarely on Tsatsu Tsikata to accomplish the mission of destroying the image of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as well as Nana Akufo-Addo, 1st Petitioner in the case, and in extension destroy the case of the petitioners.
For the past seven days, the preoccupation of Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata in his cross examination of the witness has been impugning the credibility of Dr. Bawumia time and again and even after valid objections on the choice of language by the Counsel from both lawyers of the petitioners and the nine member panel adjudging the case.
However, after brazen attempts, what has also become obvious so far is that Tsatsu Tsikata, as well failing in his legal task of destroying the case of the petitioners, has rather become the biggest casualty in the trial as a result of various incidents which have placed on him a tag of notoriety which he would have rather avoided.
The first major slur on Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata’s image occurred on the 1st day of his cross examination when he had to receive key lessons from the witness on the electoral processes after he suggested that the Form 1C used in the elections was for disabled voters only, in his attempt to justify the incidents of voting without biometric verification. This was quickly disproved by the witness who showed that indeed every voter was issued with a Form 1C.
Subsequently, the witness also educated the Counsel on the fact that even disabled voters were verified by the Biometric Verification device by face only as had been indicated by the Electoral Commission prior to the elections and that the argument that those who voted without being verified by the device were the disabled was untenable.
These early body shots painted a picture of a counsel who was ill-informed on the processes and the issues around the case itself.
The next major slur on the Counsel’s image was to occur on the 2nd day when in apparent attempt to tear down the petitioner’s categorization of twenty-two (22) polling stations as unknown, introduced some letters which he claimed were signed by Nana Akufo-Addo, the Presidential Candidate for the NPP in the 2012 Elections, authorizing some agents to represent him at those polling stations.
However, when the letters were scrutinized by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia it turned out that the letters which supposedly were dated between the 5th and 7th of December (Election Day) were however stamped to have been received on the 3rd of December, three to four clear days before they were supposedly written.
These strange features of the letters led to Dr. Bawumia questioning them and calling for their originals to be tended, a challenge which till date remains unaccepted as Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata quickly moved away from questioning on the letters and has since not returned to them.
Another landmark event in the trial so far occurred when contrary to all the ethics of the legal profession and good behaviour, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata in open court vented his frustration on lead Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison who had tried to raise an objection. The NDC Lawyer in open defiance of established court room practice and disregard for the eminent justices angrily told the lawyer for the petitioners to shut up, a language which has since attracted condemnation from many lawyers and large sections of the society. Till date, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata has refused to apologize sending a clear message of disregard for all involved in the case.
Another key moment of disgrace for Tsatsu occurred on the 7th day of his cross examination when he made a bold declaration to the court that on the face of the affidavit deposed to by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the polling stations in contention could not be up to 11,842 as the petitioners had claimed in their affidavit. The Counsel then applied to the Court for a quick calculation to be done on the numbers on the face of the affidavit to prove the case he had made consistently that the petitioners were arithmetically challenged.
Three Justices of the court all took up the challenge and calculated for themselves the numbers in the affidavit and in a matter of minutes confirmed the position of the petitioners that there were 11,842 polling stations in contention for which pink sheets were submitted as exhibits to the court. This really exposed the NDCs Counsel as the one who was arithmetically challenged.
Generally, the 7 day cross examination of the witness has demystified what had almost become the legend of Tsatsu Tsikata who for a long while had been held as a legal genius and colossus who perhaps had no equal.
Instead of delivering fireworks to collapse the case of the petitioners, what Tsatsu Tsikata has done is to, more or less, duplicate the cross examination of Counsel Tony Lithur whose cross examination had been graded as a disappointing show even for NDC faithful and as a result of which all hope was thrust on Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata to save the presidency of John Mahama.
Source: NPP Communications Directorate