|Audio Attachment:Listen to Murtala Mohammed|
A deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations has stated unequivocally that the 2012 Presidential Election Petition currently before the Supreme Court will only result in electoral reforms, insisting that the nine Justices do not have the power to declare a winner of an election.
Murtala Mohammed, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nanton, made the statement in an interview with Ho-based radio station, Tosh FM, last week Thursday, August 22, 2013, exactly a week to the August 29 date set by the Supreme Court to give its ruling in the election petition trial.
“But permit me again to say; contrary to the view many people have, the Supreme Court has no such powers to declare a winner of an election. That is not their responsibility. The only body that has the responsibility of declaring a winner of an election is the Electoral Commission,” he asserted.
The deputy minister further added: “The Supreme Court, indeed, can only make recommendations to the Electoral Commission for onward implementation.”
Mr Murtala intimated that had President Mahama not been a believer in the rule of law, not even the Supreme Court could force his hands to leave power, even if it declared that he was not validly elected as President.
“In fact, the President could have said that he will not go and that the Supreme Court could not even have forced him, but I respect rule of law, I respect democracy,” he stressed.
This is not the first time the authority and powers of the Supreme Court are being challenged by activists of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
Indeed, it is recalled that the host of Multi TV’s evening political programme, Majority Caucus, Ali Dawood, stated on Tuesday June 25, 2013 that there was no way the Supreme Court could overturn any decision made by the Electoral Commission regarding the 2012 elections.
He made those comments a day after the ‘final touchline’ warning issued by Justice William Atuguba, president of the panel hearing the election petition.
Mr Dawood, before introducing panellists on the NDC programme, stated: “I do not see any Supreme Court over-turning any decision made by the EC”.
According to the NDC man, “President Mahama’s presidency is going to be intact. If anything at all, it is going to be confirmed by the Supreme Court and that there is never going to be a time, whether 2013 or the years to come, where we will have over-turning of verdicts in the Supreme Court; it is not going to happen.”
He continued: “For all of you NDC, including NPP, neutral minded persons watching me, nothing is going to come out of the Supreme Court case. No Supreme Court is going to over-turn any decision, take it from me.”
It is recalled that in issuing the final touchline warning, the President of the 9-member Supreme Court panel hearing the Presidential Election Petition, Justice William Atuguba, stated that the panel would not countenance any ill-informed commentary and would ensure the necessary actions were carried out against persons who would breach the directive.
“Court proceedings are technical and if you don’t understand, accost a lawyer and get the explanation. From now on, anybody who doesn’t resort to the right resources and misrepresents us will not be taken lightly,” he stated.
Justice Atuguba noted that it seemed that after their previous warnings, some people still considered themselves above the jurisdiction of the Court to the detriment of ordinary Ghanaians.
“We explained the powers vested in us by the state and it seems some people seem to be above them… this political game has some detrimental effect on the ordinary Ghanaians who depend on their leaders for information about important matters.”
Source: Fiifi Arhin/thestatesmanonline.com
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