Ghana’s Supreme Court must decide in the coming months whether or not to overturn December elections that handed the presidency to John Mahama, in a rare case of African judicial vigour that has transfixed the country. Proceedings in a packed courtroom, where opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo is challenging the outcome of the 2012 poll, are broadcast live on the radio and blare from cars and buses as the population of 25 million tunes in for the latest developments. Legal experts say the verdict, expected some time between late June and August, is too close to call, and several believe there is a genuine chance the court could invalidate the victory of Mahama’s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“If it is proven beyond doubt this election was rigged and that the president is not supposed to be the president, the court will overturn it,” said Kofi Bentil, vice-president at the Imani Center for Policy and Education in Ghana’s capital Accra.
A senior banker who declined to be named said a verdict in favour of the ruling party looked likely, however, as the opposition had failed to make its argument effectively.
If the vote was nullified, it would set a precedent on a continent where losing political parties frequently go to court to contest elections but rarely get the kind of exhaustive legal review the Supreme Court in Ghana is delivering.