The 2012 election petition was the birth of Vice President Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia as a force in Ghanaian politics as he shined magnificently as the NPP’s star witness in their case against election irregularities.
Though the NPP lost, his performance served as a fertile ground for the advancement of his standing with the Ghanaian public as Dr Bawumia displayed his eloquence, intelligence, analytical mind and skills and complete mastery of debate in the full glare of Ghanaians on national television.
The trial displayed once and for all the potential of Dr Bawumia as a future leader of Ghana and led to then-candidate Akufo-Addo expressing immense appreciation to him after the trial.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo formed a unique bond on the back of that trial as the running mate completely proved his utility and versatility as an asset to the New Patriotic Party.
Akufo-Addo and Bawumia will eventually win the 2016 elections, once again on the back of a spectacular performance from Dr Bawumia as he diagnosed the problems with the Ghanaian economy and completely hammered then President Mahama in their public spats, forever gifting him the label of ‘incompetent’.
All this has left many believing strongly that Bawumia is President Akufo-Addo’s natural successor as leader of the NPP.
A Look Back at the Petition
The incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC), led by President John Dramani Mahama and running mate Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, took on the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Mahama had taken over as President for the late Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills after his untimely death on July 24th, 2012 and was seeking an extension of his rule after only five months in office.
After a long and acrimonious campaign followed by a somewhat chaotic voting process, then Electoral Commission boss Afari Gyan declared the NDC’s John Mahama as the winner with 50.7% of the vote despite numerous complaints and pointing out of irregularities by the NPP.
The NPP headed to court to fight the verdict and the legend of Dr Bawumia was born.
Prior to the petition, Dr Bawumia, set to be the NPP’s star witness, was involved in a ghastly accident on the 18th of March 2012 that nearly claimed his life.
The V8 Land Cruiser he was travelling in whilst returning to Accra from the enskinment of the Bole-Wura suffered two burst tyres and somersaulted.
Miraculously, Dr Bawumia and other occupants of the car all escaped unhurt.
The NPP running mate shook off the near-death incident and testified in the trial for days on end as he forcefully made the NPP’s case.
Dr Bawumia went toe-to-toe with Tsatsu Tsikata, one of Ghana’s eminent lawyers and legal scholars, and by all accounts absolutely acquitted himself well.
Bawumia adeptly and adroitly skipped over all legal traps Tsikata attempted to set in his way and was brilliant in pointing out irregularities the NPP’s audit of the election had uncovered.
The infamous saying, ‘you and I were not there’, was borne out of the legal and intellectual battles between Bawumia and Tsikata in that trial.
Eventually, the NPP lost the petition but it was certainly not due to the lack of presenting a brilliant case.
Bawumia became a political force during that trial and on the back of that, helped Nana Akufo-Addo handily sweep to power by defeating John Mahama in their rematch in 2016.
The 2012 election petition displayed everything that made Bawumia a success as an economist and a politician – intelligence, eloquence and an uncanny ability to remain cool under pressure.
Check out his brilliance in the 2012 election petition as recounted in video format below…