NPP disadvantaged by Supreme Court’s Jan 22 ruling – Deputy Minority Leader

Deputy Minority Leader of Parliament Dominic Nitiwul, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bimbilla Constituency, says the 6-3 majority decision taken by the Supreme Court last Tuesday to allow the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to be third respondents in the petition filed by “Ghanaian citizens” Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey “clearly” disadvantages the NPP.

He said since a body or an institution cannot petition the Supreme Court regarding the election results, as stipulated in Article 64 of the 1992 Constitution, the NPP is handicapped since it cannot also file to be joined as respondents to a petition that is consistent with its stance on the results of the 2012 polls.

Speaking on TV3’s weekend news analysis programme Headlines on Saturday, January 26, 2013, Mr Nitiwul, however, intimated that the party respected the decision taken by the Court.

“Though we do not agree with the decision, we respect it,” he told host of the programme Henry Herbert Malm.

He explained that though John Dramani Mahama was cited in the petition as an individual, his defense will not be any different from what the NDC will also put up when hearing begins on January 29, 2013. Therefore, NDC’s joinder will be dilatory to the petition.

“What different thing will NDC say from John Mahama?” he quizzed.

“That is why one of the judges said ‘it is discriminatory’,” Mr Nitwul added, stating that Justice Baffoe-Bonnie was clear in his submission that the ruling did not make it possible for the NPP as a body to join.

According to the Bimbilla MP, since his party has no plans of filing a joinder, the only means it can throw support for the petitioners, who are members of his party, is to take decisions consistent with NPP’s stance on the case.

“As a party we must show that we in are full support of the case,” he indicated.

“Therefore, the party’s members in Parliament decided not to participate in any Act that has to do with the formation of President Mahama’s government,” he added.

Quoting Article 53 of the Constitution, Mr Nitiwul explained that the ministers-designate will be delegated to by the president, whose election they are challenging, and, what is more, they will form an integral part of his government. Hence, the decision by the Minority caucus not to take part in the vetting of the nominees.

He concluded that even some members of the NDC like Samson Arhin support NPP’s decision to boycott the vetting of the ministerial nominees.



Supreme Court sets Jan 22 to rule on NDC’s joinder application

The Supreme Court has set Tuesday, January 22, 2013 as date to rule on the application brought before it by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to be joined in the petition filed on December 28, 2012 by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey challenging the Electoral Commissioner’s declaration of John Dramani Mahama as winner of the 2012 Presidential Elections.

During hearing at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, lead counsel for the NDC Tsatsu Tsikata told the packed courtroom, the definition of a political party is relevant to the consideration stating that the NDC having established itself as one is a necessary party to the process.

He said their petition does not mention John Dramani Mahama as President of the Republic.

Mr Tsikata argued the NDC is seeking to join the petition in the interest of justice because Mr Mahama was nominated, selected and agreed to stand on the ticket of the party.

He said President John Dramani Mahama is in the process of forming his government and, thus, joining the petition will advance the interest of justice.

Counsel for the NDC referred the Court to instances when it allowed the NPP to be joinders in a suit between government and the Attorney General.

Lead counsel for petitioners Phillip Addison said the action by the NDC is completely unmeritorious.

He said the joinder, if granted, will defeat the expressed purpose of the election petition – the expeditious determination of the petition.

Mr Addison told the court the joinder will open the flood gates for many witnesses and asked that the application be thrown out on this ground.

He said CI 74 defines who the necessary parties are in a petition and a political party like the NDC is not mentioned here.

Mr Addison said nowhere in the petition is it stated that the presence of the NDC will be needed.

He said the rules of joinder are necessary to avoid a multiplicity of suits, adding that fear cannot arise in this petition because it is time-bound.

Attempt by counsel for the president Tony Lithur to respond to the argument was initially met with sharp objection from lawyers for the petitioners.

A 6/3 majority ruling, however, gave him the opportunity to make his point arguing that the NDC need to be joined to the case.

Earlier, there was disagreement regarding the withdrawal of the petitioners’ motion asking a member on the panel to recuse himself because of the alleged possibility of bias.

Tsatsu Tsikata wanted Nana Akufo-Addo’s side to withdraw openly despite a written letter indicating their decision.

Philip Addison, however, said his side did not make any demand in open court but he was compelled to withdraw for the avoidance of doubt.

Presiding judge William Atuguba adjourned proceedings to January 22, 2013 for ruling on whether or not the NDC will be allowed in the case.