My Lords, I’m a Palm Wine Tapper

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Chief Scribe, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, famously known as ‘General Mosquito,’ was rebuked in court yesterday and he had to plead that he was a palm wine tapper trying to catch up with procedures in court.

The chide, which came from the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah yesterday, was to stop Asiedu Nketiah from being “sarcastic.”

General Mosquito was being cross-examined by Akoto Ampaw, Lawyer for the 2nd Respondent, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as a witness for the petitioner, John Dramani Mahama.

The witness had been asked if he had contrary figures on the total valid votes than what the Electoral Commission (EC), which is the 1st Respondent, had provided.

His answer, which did not sit well with the court, triggered the scolding from the law lords, and the witness begged for mercy – that he was a palm wine tapper trying to catch up with procedures of the court.

Below is an excerpt of what transpired in court on February 1, 2021:

Lawyer Akoto Ampaw: Have you produced any evidence to the contrary that the 2nd respondent did not cross the 50 percent threshold to be declared the winner of the presidential elections?

Asiedu Nketia: My Lord, I indicated that we are here with the figures as declared by the 1st respondent, and we are questioning the integrity and the internal consistencies of the first respondent.

Lawyer Akoto Ampaw: You have not answered my question. I am saying have you produced any contrary evidence of the total number of valid votes that the second respondent obtained showing that he obtained votes below the required 50 percent threshold?

Asiedu Nketia: My Lord, those figures are not available from the declaration by the 1st respondent, and we are not here to bring figures because we [NDC] do not have a constitutional duty to declare results of the elections.

Lawyer Akoto Ampaw: Very well… so you can come to the court to challenge the validity of the results of the presidential elections without any of what the actual results were?

Asiedu Nketia: My Lord, if I know that two plus two is four, and I am presented with results that say two plus two is six, I will challenge it.

Chief Justice Annin-Yeboah: Mr Asiedu Nketia, excuse me, excuse me, please answer the question. At times you try to be a bit sarcastic, and that is not done in the court room. Yes, mangoes minus whatever, you don’t do this under cross examination!

Asiedu Nketia: The palm wine tappers will learn… I am saying that the palm wine tappers are trying to catch up with court procedures.

Chief Justice Annin-Yeboah: You are a teacher, a banker, a politician of one of the largest political parties?

Aseidu Nketia: Yes, a teacher, a banker, politician, palm wine tapper, block maker and a distiller of ‘Akpeteshie.’

Though his response generated some humour in the apex court, Akoto Ampaw maintained a straight face and continued his cross-examination of the witness.

The case was adjourned to today at 9:30am, and the 2nd witness of the petitioner, Dr Kpessah Whyte, is expected to mount the witness box.

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