Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, clashed with a Supreme Court judge on Tuesday (19 January 2021) on day two of the 2020 election petition hearings.
The exchanges began between Tsatsu Tsikata and the Supreme Court judge, Nene Amegatcher, when he posed questions that he (Tsikata) claimed were of prime importance to uncovering the “errors” committed by the EC.
According to Tsikata, the interrogatories were critical, as they would help the court determine the authenticity of the results that made the New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the winner of the 2020 polls.
Playing the woman, not the ball
However, presenting the list of questions on Tuesday, Tsikata repeatedly made reference to the Electoral Commission chairperson, rather than the office that conducted the polls.
This did not sit well with Justice Amegatcher.
The judge insisted that the questions be directed to the office of the chairperson and not be presented as a personal attack on Mensa.
Tsikata: This is a question only one person in this world can answer.
Justice Nene Amegatcher: Why wouldn’t you limit your references to the office rather than the personality. It seems to me that your attack is with the personality and not the office…We will be happy if you just limit it to the office and not the EC because in her absence any of her deputies could step in.
Tsikata: Respectfully, my lord, there is only one returning officer for the presidential election and that is the EC chairperson.
Justice Nene Amegatcher: Let’s leave it at that – chairperson of the Electoral Commission and not her person.
Tsikata: But my lord, she is the chairperson and she has a name. Or I am not allowed to mention the name of the chairperson?
Justice Nene Amegatcher: The question should be to the office.
Tsikata: I want to understand. I am being prohibited from mentioning the name of the chairperson – is that the issue?
Justice Nene Amegatcher: Reading through your petition, which makes constant emphasis on the name, what I am telling you is that we will be satisfied with the designation because in her absence any of her deputies could act in that position.
Tsikata: My lord …
Justice Nene Amegatcher: So, it is an election petition and you are challenging the election. It is sufficient that the institution charged with conducting that election had done their work and the chairperson, who is the head, represents that institution, and not the personality.
Tsikata: With the greatest respect, I believe that the constitutional requirement regarding the returning officer and the particular circumstances do not make it possible to step in for the chairperson. It cannot be like you are envisaging.
Justice Nene Amegatcher: The institution has done the work and not the personality.
Tsikata: The particular circumstances that we are dealing with in this case do not make it possible to have the situation that you are envisaging where you have somebody else step in for the chairperson.
The constitution makes the chairperson and only that person the returning officer, and in the circumstances of this case that chairperson happens to be the person we referred to in the petition, who undertook her responsibility in accordance with the constitution and legal situation that we have.
I am not mentioning her name by targeting her individually … that is far from it. I do not target her when I mention her name as the person who declared the results, that is a fact.
Justice Nene Amegatcher: Thank you. You may continue with your interrogatories.