After 10 days of his cross-examination of Mahamudu Bawumia, principal witness for the petitioners in the ongoing election petition hearing at the Supreme Court, what appears to be the popular verdict is that counsel for the National Democratic Congress, Tsatsu Tsikata, has failed to demolish the case of the petitioners, as was promised before the exercise commenced.

Dr Bawumia appears to have deflated the ego of the ?legal Maradona? of the NDC, who has found it extremely tough in his desperate attempt to undermine the credibility of the witness, as well as the case of the petitioners.

Mr Tsikata had one of his worst days in court yesterday when he was virtually hustled by the justices to end the day?s cross-examination after dozens of his questions were overruled and stopped.

Frustration was clearly written on the face of the counsel even after the court had been compelled to take an early adjournment because Mr Tsikita had virtually exhausted all his questions, and only waiting to cross-examine Dr Bawumia on some pink sheets exhibits relating to same serial numbers which were being re-formatted by the petitioners.

The day started with the Judges overruling a question he had sought to ask on Tuesday on the basis that those issues had already been dealt with.

Mr Tsikata then moved on to request the witness to read paragraphs of a statement issued by NPP Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lampety, in the immediate aftermath of the December 7 and 8 election, seeking to suggest that the allegations made were not true.

However, Dr Bawumia reminded Mr Tsikata that, as he had said earlier, ?there were many ways of killing a cat? and that the petitioners had brought to court hard evidence to support their case for irregularities and malpractices and that was what they were standing by.

With the NDC counsel asking the witness to read paragraph after paragraph of the statement, Justice Sophia Adinyirah quickly stepped in and directed him to move away from that line of cross examination.? Her contention was that the witness had already dealt with all those questions and that the counsel should know that he was not allowed to be argumentative and repetitive in his questioning.

But this did not stop Mr Tsikata from persisting, as has become his trademark since the onset of the trial. He argued with Justice Adinyirah on the matter, with the experienced Judge also sticking to her grounds that the format of cross examination adopted by the NDC lawyer was not helpful to the court.

After several minutes of bantering with Justice Adinyirah, another lady Judge, Justice Akoto Bamfo, stepped in to back her fellow panel member.

Justice Akoto Bamfo stated that the witness had already made it clear that the petitioners were in court only with the issues of irregularities and malpractices which they had outlined in their petition and that the issue of a statement issued by the NPP?s Chairman, which was not contained in the petition, was not relevant to the issues being determined.

?Counsel, the witness has already stated that they are only relying on the issues in their petition and I think that is what you should address yourself to. Honestly, I don?t see the value of that document,? she said.

After being struck down on his questioning, Mr Tsikata proceeded to pick General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and other unnamed NPP officials who he claimed made statements about an impending victory of the party. He suggested that all those statements were made on the basis of results the NPP had received from polling stations.

Here again, the Judges stopped him, with Justice Atuguba declaring that the questions ?don?t follow? and asked him to move to his next question.

Counsel Tsatsu reluctantly moved on to the issue of the Juaso Court Hall polling station which, according to Dr Bawumia, has three different pink sheets with different results.

However, before he could exhaust himself of the issue, the Judges again ?shot him down? and notified him that the issue had already been dealt with by the Counsel for the Electoral Commission, James Quarshie-Idun and earlier in his own cross examination. They charged him to move from that area and possibly bring them up in his addresses.

Mr Tsikata, obviously unhappy with the tutorials he was receiving, jumped to affidavits deposed to by different witnesses in support of the petitioners? case and attempted to question Dr Bawumia on those affidavits.

This attempt also met significant resistance from the bench, with Justice Rose Owusu questioning the counsel on why he wanted to ask questions on different affidavits when at the same time he was praying the court to be allowed to cross examine the persons who had deposed to those affidavits.

More heat was to follow when the Judges had to overrule the Counsel again on the issue of the unknown polling stations , which had been brought up for the umpteenth time by the Counsel, after Mr Tsikata attempted to tender in a part of Johnson Asiedu Nketiah?s affidavit to make a case on those unknown polling stations.

The Judges ruled that the issue for which Tsatsu Tsikata was seeking to tender in the document was not in contention and thus there was no need for the document.
With the Counsel finding it hard to ask questions which would pass the test of relevancy, he quickly descended into a totally unique arena trying to, as he claimed, ?establish the record of the petitioners.?

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata fell on questions like, whether the NPP went to court in 2009 and whether the petitioners didn?t set out in the beginning to find evidence to make a case for the NPP Presidential candidate to be declared winner. He also suggested that the NPP resorted to violence when media platforms started announcing results, among others.

Out of the eight questions he asked in the series, only one was allowed by the Judges, the seven others being overruled by Justice Atuguba and the eight other Judges sitting on the petition. The Judges cautioned the Counsel again not to enter into the arena of addresses with the witness.

With little more to ask, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata indicated that pending certain responses, he would bring an end to his cross examination. These responses pertain to some work the petitioners were yet to complete on the issue of counterparts of certain polling stations affected by the irregularity of duplicate serial numbers and some twenty polling stations the Counsel claimed were not in the further and better particulars.

Source -New Statesman


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