Founder and Executive Director of the Danquah Institute has reacted to persistent calls by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the Electoral Commissioner to mount the witness box in the ongoing election petition.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko said the 1st Respondent cannot be obliged to take the witness stand when the petitioner, John Mahama has failed to establish any evidence to support his allegations against the EC.
He insisted that the onus of prove lies with the petitioner and his legal counsel to prove that the Commission did a ‘bad job’ during the 2020 presidential election.
“We are talking about a margin of over 500, 000 votes, you are saying that the declaration was wrong in the sense that no candidate crossed the 50% +1 votes. And then when we look at the numbers because it is all about numbers.
“You can speak all the English you want, you can quote all the laws you want, you can focus on all the presidents you want the bottom line is this, ‘do you have enough numbers to challenge the declaration made on December 9. It is that simple,” he satated.
Following the decision of the 1st and 2nd Respondents not to call any witnesses in the ongoing election petition hearing, the legal team of the petitioner have resisted the move.
The counsel argued that the EC, which is a public office must be held accountable and given the opportunity to clarify the anomalies that have been highlighted by the petitioner in the presidential election.
But reacting to this, the Danquah Institute founder said the EC has already rendered accounts to Ghanaians.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko said Mrs Mensa who was the Returning Officer for the 2020 presidential election gave an account of her work when she declared the results.
As such, if any individual or party has issues with the work, they must go to the court and prove their case.
“We shouldn’t forget why we are in court. And they talk about the Electoral Commission is accountable to the country. But the thing is, the day you [EC] declare the results that is when you [EC] account for your work.
“And if people have issues with your work, they go to court. And when they go to court, the onus is on them to show that you [EC] did not do your work properly. It is really that simple,” he stated.
But on the same show, the NDC Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi questioned why Jean Mensa is refusing to testify.
Citing the 2013 election petition, Mr Gyamfi said the then EC Chairperson, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan did not oppose mounting the witness box for cross-examination.
“Jean Mensa is not just an ordinary witness in a case of a competing private interest. We are talking about a holder of a constitutional office whose work is a subject for this petition.
“So given the fact that she herself has admitted to making errors, we think that it is only fair the over 30 million Ghanaians and Jean Mensa herself to be given an opportunity to explain the issues,” he said.
“Why is she running away from accountability, if Afri-Gyan mounted the witness box in the 2013 election petition case and defended his work. Why is Jean Mensa running away if she has nothing to hide?” he added.