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After Supreme Court backs Akufo Addo win, opposition gears up to pressure government

Defeated candidate Mahama claims government is undermining democratic process and state accountability

As supporters of the New Patriotic Party celebrated the Supreme Court's unanimous rejection of the opposition petition alleging serial incompetence in the handling of the 7 December presidential elections, the battle to control parliament and other institutions is just starting.

Many had been expecting the seven-strong panel of the Supreme Court to throw out the petition from the opposition National Democratic Congress questioning the competence of the Electoral Commission. Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah ruled that the petitioners had failed to meet any of the five conditions necessary to prove their case for a rerun of the presidential election between the NPP's Nana Addo Akufo-Addo and the NDC's John Dramani Mahama.

But public sympathy had been growing for the petitioners after the Supreme Court ruled that Jean Mensa, chairwoman of the Electoral Commission should not have to give testimony to the court or face cross-examination by the opposition's legal team, led by Tsatsu Tsikata.

It was the cross-examination of a former chair of the commission, Kwadjo Afari-Gyan, in an electoral petition in 2013 that led the Court to make hard-hitting recommendations for electoral reform.

Mahama said the Court was shielding Mensa from accountability and public scrutiny. 'We may have lost the temporary battle of the 2020 election … but the larger struggle to create a society that lives up to our national motto of freedom and justice still rages on,' he added.

The NDC has already started protests at what it sees as the forced exit of the well-regarded Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo. In 2018, Domelevo recovered 67.3 million cedis ($11.7m) in funds wrongfully transferred under a surcharge scheme.

On 3 March, President Akufo-Addo issued a directive for Domelevo to proceed on retirement, citing documents that indicate he is now over 60. Backers of Domelevo say these documents have been falsified. It was the previous government which appointed Domelevo in 2016 and the party wants to campaign on the issue.

The NDC will also keep up the pressure in parliament where its members on parliament's ministerial vetting committee have announced – contrary to their previous position – the intention to reject all of Akufo-Addo's nominees for the security portfolios.

A critical nominee coming before the vetting committee will be Akufo-Addo's ally, finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta, currently on sick leave in the United States. He will quizzed on his stewardship of the economy, the sharp rise in public debt and his plan to float Agyapa, a gold mining royalties company, jointly owned by government and undisclosed private investors, in Jersey and London. No announcement has been made on when Ofori-Atta will return to Accra. There has been media speculation that trade minister Alan Kyerematen will stand in for him and present a budget statement on 12 March.



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