Skip to main content

Ghana court dismisses vote challenges, says president 'validly elected'

By David Gurien, CNN
September 4, 2013 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
Ghana's Supreme Court declared President John Dramani Mahama (pictured)
Ghana's Supreme Court declared President John Dramani Mahama (pictured) "validly elected."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as president of Ghana after December elections
  • His challenger, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was among those alleging voter fraud
  • The Supreme Court dismisses all claims of fraud and irregularities
  • Challenger Akufo-Addo calls on Ghanaians to "come together and build our country"

Accra, Ghana (CNN) -- Ghana's Supreme Court Thursday declared President John Dramani Mahama "validly elected" as the court dismissed all claims of voter fraud, mismanagement and irregularities in the West African nation's December 2012 presidential election.

After the election, Ghana's Independent Electoral Commission declared Mahama the winner with 50.7% of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff with his main challenger, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

But challenges followed, with allegations of widespread mismanagement and voting irregularities at more than 10,000 polling stations. Akufo-Addo and two other officials of his New Patriotic Party sued and the case went to the Supreme Court.

Mahama, from the ruling National Democratic Congress party, was sworn in as president, and Thursday's court ruling means he will retain the office.

The Supreme Court dismissed all six claims alleging fraud and irregularities, with judges ruling unanimously against claims that certification forms had duplicate serial numbers, that votes from phony polling places were counted, and that there was duplication of polling station codes, meaning that votes from a particular voting station might have been counted twice or more.

Akufo-Addo made a statement after the ruling was announced, saying he will not seek a court review of the decision, congratulating President Mahama and calling on Ghanaians to work out their "differences, ease tensions between us and come together and build our country."

The famously easy-going people of Ghana had been on edge awaiting Thursday's decision by the court.

Nine Supreme Court justices spent 48 days hearing the case, which had riveted the nation.

The proceedings were broadcast live on Ghanian television and radio, the first time the court has allowed such broadcasts. They have been immensely popular.

Ghana is one of Africa's fastest-growing economies. It is the world's second-largest cocoa producer, after Ivory Coast, and the continent's second biggest gold miner, after South Africa, according to the United Nations.

But critics say that despite the rich resources that bring billions of dollars annually, the wealth is not trickling down to the rural poor who live on the land where the gold is mined.

In March 1957, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan European colony to declare independence from a colonial ruler, in its case, Britain. It endured four military coups in the first 14 years, after one of which, three former presidents were executed.

Then, in the election of 2000, it had its first peaceful transfer of power between civilian presidents. The incumbent won a second term in 2004, but term limits prohibited him from seeking a third term in 2008.

In that election, John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress narrowly defeated Akufo-Addo. But Mills died in office last year, elevating his vice president, Mahama to the presidency.

Last December, Mahama ran for a full term against Akufo-Addo, setting off the Supreme Court battle.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2042 GMT (0442 HKT)
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1809 GMT (0209 HKT)
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT