2020 ELECTION PETITION: 2nd Witness of Petitioner Grilled and Discharged

The second witness of the Petitioner (John Dramani Mahama) in the ongoing election 2020 petition at the Supreme Court, Dr. Michael Kpessa Whyte, today the 2nd of February 2021, was subjected to a hard line of questioning from lawyers of the 1st Respondent (Electoral Commission) and 2nd Respondent (President Akufo-Addo), in the bid of the Respondents to discredit the witness and the case of the Petitioner.

Dr. Kpessa Whyte, was one of two members of the Petitioner's political party (National Democratic Congress), who represented him (Petitioner) at the EC's National Collation Centre for the 7th of December 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

*Instructed, Asked or Advised to Leave NCC*

During cross examination today, Dr. Kpessa Whyte sought to indicate that just before the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and Returning Officer for the presidential elections declared the results of the 7th December 2020 elections on the 9th of December 2020, he was "instructed" together with his other colleague, Rojo Mettle Nunoo, to leave the EC National Collation Centre to consult with with the Petitioner.

However, on their blind side, the EC Chairperson after they had left, decided to announce the results of the election without affording them an opportunity to register some reservations they had about the results from some regions of the country.

Lawyer for the EC on this claim by the witness inquired whether or not the witness, Kpessa Whyte, ever spoke directly with the EC and his answer was no. He however claimed that the side instrument by the EC Chairperson was issued to him through his other colleague, Mr. Mettle Nunoo.

*Signing of Required Forms*

Another controversial issue that came up during cross-examination, was whether or not the trained agents of the NDC signed on election results at the polling station, constituency and regional levels during the 7th of December 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

While lawyer for the EC, Justin Amenuvor, indicated on the face of all the required forms that, the agents of the NDC appended their signatures, Dr. Kpessa Whyte insisted that the fact that his party's agents signed the required forms did not automatically mean that he was also obliged together with his other colleague, Rojo Mettle Nunoo, to sign and certify same.

Dr. Whyte however, confirmed in court that his colleague during the entire process from the 7th to the 9th of December 2020, certified thirteen (13) out of the total of sixteen (16) regions.

*Vacation of Post*

The third issue of contention was on 'form 13', which is the final form that is required to be completed at the National Collation Centre of the EC for all participating political parties to sign. Before 'form thirteen (13)' could be completed, the witness and his colleague, Left the National Collation Centre allegedly on the instructions of the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa, hence Dr. Kpessa Whyte's claim in court that they (agents of the Petitioner) were never given an opportunity to sign and or register their displeasure on the forms as required by law.

The EC lawyer, Justin Amenuvor, however, suggested to Dr. Kpessa Whyte that he together with Mettle Nunoo, left the EC National Collation Centre when they realized that their candidate, John Dramani Mahama (Petitioner) had lost the election and the they could not have taken instructions from the EC Chairperson under any circumstances.

*Questions from the Bench*

Multiple members of the bench, such as Justice Yaw Appaw, Justice Samuel Marful-Sau, Justice Gertrude Torkonoo and Justice Mariama Owusu, in their bid to get clarity on some of the issues, sought to find out from the witness whether or not he had been explicitly instructed, asked or advised by the EC Chairperson to vacate the premises of the EC.

The witness in his answer said he had used the three words interchangeable but in actual fact, he had been "instructed" by the EC Chairperson.

The Justices further sought clarity on how the witness got the 'instruction' from the EC Chairperson. He claimed under oath not to have personally or directly spoken with the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. The witness in his answer said he received the 'instruction' through his other colleague, Rojo Mettle Nunoo.

*Next Court Sitting*

After the questions for clarification from the Bench, the Presiding Judge, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, adjourned sitting to Wednesday, the 3rd of February 2021 for the trial to continue. The Petitioner at tomorrow's sitting is expected to move his latest application praying the Supreme Court to order the EC to permit the Petitioner to inspect all original documents with regard to election 2020 which are in the custody of the EC.

The EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa, the witness of the 1st Respondent (EC) would be expected to go into the box for cross-examination by lawyers of the Petitioner and the 2nd Respondent.