The Lead Counsel for the petitioner in the 2020 presidential election petition, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, aka ‘The Law’, for the first in his arguments fell on the Holy Bible to convince the Law Lords to allow him re-open his case. He quoted Prophet Hosea 8:8 which reads: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.”
Mr Tsatsu Tsika did not explain why he quoted from the Bible to end his submission for the review of his case. Counsel for the 1st Respondent, Justin Amenuvor, would however not let it go without response. He told the court: “My Lords, my point I wish to make on that if you permit me, is that God is a God of conscience, and God does not use court processes to elicit conscience and, therefore, you do not bring God into the court room to now claim that because of God, application should be granted. That’s my response.”
Mr Tsikata had taken about thirty minutes to argue his case for the re-opening of the petitioner’s case, and ended with that scripture. According to him, the court, in its February 16 ruling, made some fundamental errors, including failing to apply statutory provisions and laws, terming it as per incuriam (lack of due regard to the law or the facts).
While on his feet, the Bench asked him what he meant when he said he had closed his case.
Responding to that, Mr Tsikata said he meant nothing more, nothing less to closing his case, “and when we announced that we are seeking to re-open our case, I mean exactly that; nothing more, nothing less.”
When the Bench inquired further on that question, Mr Tsikata retorted: “I really don’t understand what more your Ladyship wants by way of an answer. We meant that we had closed our case and subsequently, we sought leave to reopen our case. Your Ladyship cannot say that we are not able, under the rules, under your inherent jurisdiction, to ask for your leave to re-open the case. I don’t believe that that is the suggestion that your Ladyship is making.”
The Bench replied: “I don’t think I’ve said any such thing. I just wanted to understand what you meant when you said you had closed your case; and you said nothing more, nothing less; and I’m satisfied with your answer, sir.”
Mr Tsikata continued: “My Lords, we continue finally to the last round that the ruling was in breach of Article 296, and my Lords, very simply put, what we are saying is that, that ruling is completely unreasonable…”
Mr Tsikata cited what former Chief Justice Georgina Wood had said in the case of TDC and Musah against Atta Baffour, 2005-2006 Supreme Court Ghana Law Report (SCGLR) page 131 to make his point that the Bench failed to avert its mind to relevant statutes.
Read the latter part of Tsatsu’s submission.
And we are saying, respectfully that Your Lordships, in the exercise of your discretionary powers, unfortunately failed to avert your minds to relevant statutes, introduced irrelevant considerations which prejudiced a fair exercise of discretion, as required by article 296 of the Constitution.
It is our submission that holding the first respondent and particularly its chairperson accountable for the exercise of powers conferred by the Constitution and statute, justify the circumstances of this case that that Chairperson be called upon to testify using the time-tested subpoena procedure that we seek to invoke in this case. My Lords, there is no question that the process of review is among the ways in which corrections are made by your Lordships and as Acquah indicated in the … case heeding the promptings of conscience as he put it, heeding fidelity to the judicial oath, he found it appropriate to reserve a decision of the Bench.
May each of Your Lordships decide in accordance with your conscience and your judicial oath. Ultimately, and even more profoundly, it is for the chairpersons of the first respondent to come forward to testify as she indicated on oath she will do.
I conclude with prophetic words that were spoken centuries ago: ‘For they sown the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind’. These are the words of the Prophet Hosea to be found in Hosea 8:7. He that has an ear, let him hear.
Opposing the application, Mr Justin Amenuvor, lead counsel for the Electoral Commission, told the Bench that the standard set for a review had not been met by the petitioner.
According to him, the grounds brought forth by the petitioner were basically an academic treatise of alleged erroneous pronouncements made by the panel of seven.
“Indeed, if we want to give some credit to the grounds, they are, at best, additional grounds that have been filed without leave of your court in terms of an appeal, but they do not form grounds for review for which my Lords should grant this application”, he argued.
When prompted by the Bench that he had not addressed it on the biblical submission by the petitioner’s counsel, Justin Amenuvor said that: “My Lords, my point I wish to make on that if you permit me, is that God is a God of conscience and God does not use court processes to elicit conscience and therefore you do not bring God into the court room to now claim that because of God application should be granted. That’s my response.”
Lawyer for the second respondent, Akoto Ampaw also argued in opposition that the application failed to satisfy the conditions set for a review application to be granted; “as in our view, it does not demonstrate any fundamental error committed by the court which has occasioned the petitioner a miscarriage of justice. And on that ground alone, this application ought to be dismissed summarily.”The court ruled in favor of the respondents, subsequent to which it set March 4, to give its judgement.
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