Ghana’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Zambia next week in Kumasi next week will not be moved to a neutral venue for the fear of violence after the country’s Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the opposition to annul President John Mahama’s narrow victory in last year’s disputed election.
There were fears that should President Mahama be removed from office violence could erupt in the country which could force FIFA to move the match to a neutral venue.
However the Supreme Court dashed the hopes of Zambia, who were hoping that the match would be moved to neutral, after the quest by NPP to overturn the election result was rejected by the country’s highest court.
The NPP had alleged that Mr Mahama won the election fraudulently, a charge his NDC party denied.
However, the court ruled that he had been “validly elected” after beating the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo by 50.7% to 47.7% in the December 2012 election.
Ghana is generally seen as a beacon of democracy in the region.
The case was broadcast live on television and radio in a rare sign of judicial transparency in Africa, says the BBC’s Akwasi Sarpong in Accra.
Nearly 30,000 security officers were deployed across Ghana to prevent any violence after the court verdict.
Continue reading the main story
Presidential election results
John Dramani Mahama, NDC – 50.70%, 5,574,761 votes
Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP – 47.74%, 5,248,898 votes
Crowds of governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporters broke into songs of celebration when it was announced.
Mr Akufo-Addo said he was disappointed but would respect the decision of the nine judges.
“I urge all our supporters to accept the verdict – and in peace,” he said.
NDC general secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia said he was happy with the verdict, as he knew the party had done nothing wrong.
Ghanaians have been spellbound by the eight-month case, following it closely on radio and television, our reporter says.
Court cases are not usually beamed into the homes of people, he says.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) had asked the court to scrap some four million votes, alleging the result was tampered with to guarantee Mr Mahama victory in the first round of the election.
The NDC argued that any mistakes made by polling station officials while recording ballots was not an attempt to subvert democracy, and there were insufficient grounds for the court to overturn the result.
Despite the legal challenge, Mr Mahama was inaugurated in January.
Black Stars emphatic win over Zambia will once again unite the country deeply divided along political lines.