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General News of Thursday, 27 August 2020


4 prominent Ghanaians who support Mahama vs Akufo-Addo debate

John Mahama (L) shakes Nana Akufo-Addo John Mahama (L) shakes Nana Akufo-Addo

Some prominent Ghanaians have joined the campaign for a presidential debate between opposition candidate, John Dramani Mahama and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo ahead of the December 7 elections.

When the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate threw the open challenge for an infrastructural debate to the President last week, the President’s party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), declined the invitation, calling it needless.

Some NPP activists have justified the party’s decision not to debate Akufo-Addo's key contender in the next election on grounds that John Mahama also declined a similar invitation in 2016 when then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo called for a similar debate.

However, GhanaWeb has put together the views of some democratic governance campaigners and civil society heads who back a debate between John Dramani Mahama and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Director of Advocacy and Programmes at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, said to consolidate Ghana’s democratic politics, a debate is always a welcome idea.

“For the last three elections or so, people looked forward to it. So why not? Why can’t we have a debate? We obviously would want a debate. Whether or not somebody didn’t do it the last time, we want a debate during every election and if we have elections the next time we think it will still be good to have a presidential debate. So I would encourage it. I think that if it can come on it should. We should have a good debate,” he told GhanaWeb in an exclusive interview.

Respected petroleum economist and political risk analyst, Dr Theo Acheampong, also said he supports the debate.

“I think a debate would be welcome and useful idea, but I'm not optimistic about it happening,” he also said.

Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, also told GhanaWeb that the Pressure for the debate between main contenders will mount after both of them have published their manifestos.

The NPP published its 2020 manifesto last Saturday but the NDC has set Monday, August 31, 2020 to outdoor its policy action document for the next election.

“I think it is very good that both parties are putting across their ideas early enough and I think if you analyse, you find a compelling reason why the debate should take place,” he said.

Dr Akwetey said if the debate comes off, it should not focus only on infrastructural achievements.

Founding President of think tank, IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, is among the key advocates for the debate, proposing to spearhead the debate.

“There are very important questions that we also need answers to, the value for money asked questions and the resource envelope – where the money will be coming from for all these initiatives that the two parties have undertaken,” Franklin Cudjoe justified the need for a debate.

John Mahama, then President, debated Nana Akufo-Addo in the run up the elections in 2012.

Many say because both of them have had the opportunity to govern the country for four years at different periods, a debate presents the best opportunity for them to justify to voters why they should be re-elected for another four-year term.

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