John Mahama
John Mahama

In the wake of the declaration by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Madam Jean Mensa naming President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the December presidential elections, we were told by members of the National Democratic Congress that former President John Mahama was in fact the rightful winner of the contest.

The bolder among them even started calling him “President-elect” while Alhaji Inusah Fuseini suggested the Mr Mahama go ahead and set up a parallel government, a claim he would eventually walk back. Mr Mahama himself also believed this to be true and said as much.

In an address on 10th December 2020, he claimed that “Despite all of the ruling party’s inducements, use of monetary enticements, and other such schemes on a scale never before seen in this country, the good people of this country understood what was at stake, and it was clear, as the result of the votes that were legally cast that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.”

He would go on, along with his party, to thank the Ghanaian people for “voting for change”.

One would have expected then that the petition filed yesterday at the Supreme Court would provide evidence to back the claim that Mr Mahama was the victor in the election and that the Supreme Court should make that declaration, as the three petitioners did in the aftermath of the 2012 elections.

A close look at the petition submitted to the Supreme Court on his behalf by Lawyer Tony Lithur however reveals that Mr Mahama and his team are not so sure that the Ghanaian people did in fact “vote for change”.

In his arithmetic-based election petition, the leader of the National Democratic Congress and runner up in the December Presidential elections argues that according to their painstaking collation and calculation, Mr Mahama did not actually achieve the constitutionally mandated threshold of at least fifty percent of valid votes plus one more. Such is their conviction that they pray the court to declare that “no candidate satisfied the requirement of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution to be declared President-elect” (para 35 (c) of the Presidential Election petition filed by John Dramani Mahama).

They go further to request in paragraph 35 (f) of the same document that the court order the 1st Respondent (the Electoral Commission) to “conduct a second election with the Petitioner and 1st Respondent [sic] as the candidates as required under Articles 63 (4) and (5) of the 1992 Constitution”.

Setting aside the fact that the former President seems to be challenging the Electoral Commission to an electoral contest, we can’t help but notice that Mr Mahama’s feelings about the elections seem to be evolving.

From an initial certainty that he won it outright, he now seems to think that he merely didn’t lose it conclusively enough. Will the position change as the case rolls on? Are the Ghanaian people and NDC supporters in particular being spun an intricate yarn for political reasons? Or is this just another case of the indecision we have come to know and expect from our former leader?