The last may not have been heard about Ghana’s last general elections. The candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, has gone to court to challenge the victory of President Nana Akufo-Addo in the hotly contested polls, held on 7 December.
According to the result announced by the country’s election commission, Akufo-Addo of the governing New People’s Party (NPP) won the presidential election, polling 6,730,413 votes, representing 51.595% to secure a second term in office while Mahama garnered 6,214, 889.
However, the NDC insists it won both the presidential and parliamentary elections and that the results had been manipulated in favour of the NPP.
“My lawyers this afternoon filed before the Supreme Court, a petition challenging the results of the 2020 Presidential Election declared by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana,” Mahama, a former president, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The petition, according to the NDC, “details serious violations of the 1992 Constitution by the Electoral Commission and seeks among others, a declaration that the purported declaration of the results of the 2020 Presidential Election on the 9th day of December 2020 is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
In the parliamentary election, the ruling NPP and NDC both won 137 seats each with an independent candidate, a former NPP member, clinching the only seat left. The NDC insists that it won 140 seats.
The NDC decided to proceed to the Supreme Court to contest the results of the elections following a meeting of its National Executive Committee on Tuesday in Accra.
“While in court, the NDC will continue all legitimate actions, including protests, to demand the enforcement of the rule of law and protection of life and property of the good people of Ghana,” the party said in a statement.
“When, in 2016, at the end of my first full term as President I ran for re-election as an incumbent candidate, I respected the will of the people. I conceded, stepped aside, and set in motion a peaceful transfer of power—because I understood that it was the will of the people. And if we are to progress as a nation, if we are to live up to the inheritance of our history, one for which people have paid the ultimate price—that sacred verdict of the people must be respected. It must be protected,” Mahama said at a news conference on Tuesday.
This is not the first time that a presidential candidate who lost the election would challenge the winner in court. Akufo-Addo went to court after the 2012 election won by then incumbent President Mahama. The court dismissed the case and confirmed the victory of Mahama.
Efforts are being made by Western diplomats to defuse the post-election tension in Ghana. The ambassadors of the EU, UK and US have met Mahama and advised that he should pursue remedy to his grievance through the court, reiterating that Ghanaian leaders should work for the continued peace and stability of their country.