The Supreme Court has moved to ensure that it meets the 42-day timeline required for an election petition as stated in its election manual.
The court has set January 26, to commence hearing of the petition filed by 2020 National Congress (NDC) presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama.
Mr Mahama is in court seeking to set aside the 2020 election results that went in favour of the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Akufo-Addo.
The court has in the last three sessions dealt with pre-trial issues.
The panel, presided over by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah on Wednesday, announced the issues it has set for determination.
These issues, the Apex Court raised include; Whether or not the petition discloses any reasonable cause of action and whether or not per the data available any candidate obtained more than 50% of the votes cast.
Again, the Apex Court said it will look at “whether or not the second respondent obtained more than 50% of the votes cast by the exclusion or inclusion of Techiman South Constituency results and whether or not declaration was in violation of the constitution.”
Finally, the court will consider “whether or not the alleged vote padding affected the results as declared.”
In view of this, the judges have ordered that the petitioner in the case, who is former President Mahama, files his witness statements by Thursday, January 21, 2021 while the respondents, made up of the Electoral Commission (EC) and President Akufo-Addo, file same by Friday, January 22, 2021.
Also, all the counsel involved in the case are to file their legal arguments related to the initial objection by Monday, January 25, 2021.
These orders, however, received a sharp objection from the lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata.
Mr Tsikata explained that there are outstanding requests that have been filed including a review of the dismissal of the motion seeking to have some interrogatories served on the EC.
He insists that this and other issues must be discussed together with the timeline set by the Judges.
According to him, justice should not be traded for expedition as the timeline set for the witness statements to be presented was not justified.
But the counsel for the 1st Respondent and the 2nd Respondent, backed the ruling by the Apex Court.
They argued that it is impossible for Mr Mahama to file a petition challenging the validity of the 2020 elections without having witnesses on standby to support his case or preparing adequately.
The judges subsequently adjourned hearing to Tuesday, January 26.
The seven-member panel of judges hearing the petition includes Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah; Justices Yaw Appau, Marful Sau, Professor Ashie Kotei, Mariama Owusu, Nene Amegatcher, and Gertrude Tokonor.