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General News of Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Who wins Wednesday's IEA debate

The presidential candidates of the four political parties with representation in Parliament will engage in another presidential debate Wednesday night to determine who is who, two weeks ahead of the December 7 elections.

Each candidate had claimed victory after the first Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Presidential Debate held in Tamale a fortnight ago, but at the Banquet Hall of the State House Wednesday night, another opportunity beckons for them to settle the score or put their claims of victory beyond doubt.

President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Michael Abu Sakara of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Mr Hassan Ayariga of the People’s National Congress (PNC) must have done good post-mortem of their performance in the Tamale debate and are expected to come to the Accra debate all guns blazing.

Their mental alertness will be tested on critical thematic areas, such as good governance (peace and security, corruption, bureaucracy, the rule of law, as well as character and leadership), natural resource management (oil and gas, mining, forestry and environmental management) and women and gender issues.

Other thematic areas in which the presidential candidates are required to demonstrate mental fortitude are the youth, children, persons with disability, sports, as well as culture and arts.

Greater attention will surely be on President Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo, as they take their contest of ideas and policy proposals from the rugged political campaign platforms, where rhetoric rules, to the intellectual IEA platform, where good reasoning is the cardinal acceptable norm.

However, the other two contestants — Dr Sakara and Mr Ayariga — will also cut a big slice of the attention at the debate for peculiar reasons known to many Ghanaians by now.

For Dr Sakara, the good performance he put up at the Tamale debate that endeared him to many people across the political divide will be the basis of attention on him.

In the case of Mr Ayariga, a great deal of the attention on him will be the result of the unimpeachable sense of humour he displayed at the last presidential debate that succeeded in livening up the event.

This is the more reason when news filtered in Monday that Mr Ayariga had decided to withdraw from the debate due to a bad cough, many people expressed deep disappointment.

But whether Mr Ayariga is present or not, wednesday's evening’s presidential debate is not likely to lose its anticipated spark, tension and interest.

Whoever emerges victorious at the end of the day will surely carry the wherewithal into the December elections and that could make a crucial difference to the outcome of the polls.

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