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Feature Article of Thursday, 1 November 2012

Columnist: Andrews, Nii

The Ghana Presidential Debate-Thank You, Very Much!

Hurricane SANDY had passed and the Cayuga Lake had returned to its quiet and placid self. On the opposite shore line the variegated leaves on the trees continued their sublime display of colors.

At around 5pm Eastern Standard Time, the debate in Tamale was being streamed online- "Thank you very much"! And so what happened? We must start with the moderators. They were at best not confident and searching enough-"Thank you very much". The introductory address was long winded and boring; surely it could have been shortened and made more focused. The problem with time keeping at the beginning of the debate was shameful; can we not simply run a time clock properly especially when the whole world is watching?

The rules of the debate debarred the audience from clapping or booing. But let us be candid, one of the candidates deserved to be booed-at least once; his syntax was outrageous!! Any school pupil listening to him would have come away with multiple bad habits and would certainly have had his command of the English language debilitated. The people of Ghana deserve better-"Thank you very much".

Now to the candidates, the CPP candidate's answers were the most comprehensive and polished. He began well when asked to introduce himself; unlike the others, he did not give us a truncated biography. He went further to consolidate this when he elaborated on his vision and the role of the National Development Planning Commission. When addressing taxation, agriculture, taxation, education and unemployment his answers were well considered especially with respect to the needed transformation of the economy.

Predictably, the candidates of the two largest parties kept going at each other. However, this was not necessarily on matters of strategy but on matters of fact. Thus we were treated to the usual bane of Ghanaian politics, namely, "he said and she said". The only substantive issue from which there was clarity was with respect to the proposal of free SHS system. It is simply a question of priority-"Thank you very much". Throughout the session, there was a marked lack of focus on the weighty issues that plague us. Why was there no bold statement on attitudinal change or the problem of sanitation, or corruption, or water supply, or the menace from the parasitic pastors and their cacophonous churches-surely they impact negatively on the mind set of our people and their capacity to function in a modern manner-"Thank you very much".

Why were there no strong questions on fiscal discipline and social cohesion? What about security, judgement debts, chieftaincy and land tenure? All told the debate gets a C+, with the CPP candidate getting a B+ and the PNC getting an F. The moderators get a C. At one point, the professor said : " we shall now give you each"

Finally, on a personal note; by the end of the second session, I had counted over 100 incidents of "thank you very much"! Now this is a torture that must be curtailed forthwith. Thank YOU very much!....now back to the lake side.....with no "light off". I hope the lights dont go off in Ghana!! lol

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