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General News of Friday, 2 November 2012

Source: The Enquirer

Kofi Wayo lambasts IEA

Chuck Kofi Wayo, Founder and Leader of the United Renaissance Party, (URP) has joined in the ongoing tirade of criticisms that has been gauged at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) for precluding some Presidential candidates from this year's maiden Presidential debate in Tamale.

Mr. Wayo, who is also a plain-talking social commentator, thinks that the preclusion of the other Presidential candidates by the IEA constitutes an insult to both commonsense and the United States, from where the Presidential debate concept has been copied.

“If you want to copy America you should copy America well...how can you call that thing a Presidential debate when some people who have presented themselves for the Presidency are disallowed that common platform to sell themselves to the electorate?” Mr. Wayo posited.

All the Presidential candidates who were left out of the debate belonged to new and underdogs political organizations, those which under normal circumstances, should enjoy sympathy and encouragement from the national democratic establishment.

Among the parties discriminated against, the Progressive People's Party (PPP) has been loudest in its protest.

But the Institute of Economic Affairs selected only parties which have representation in parliament to participate in the debate.

It is very noteworthy that, even though the IEA had organized the debate on the back of claims that it was attempting to deepen the country's democratic practice, the criteria for eligibility to participate only ended up offering the platform for the four parties, in the country's democratic culture which belong to the oldest traditions-traditions that have all been in power before.

“You know, that debate offended our electoral laws and our constitution?” Kofi Wayo asked in an exclusive interview.

Explaining, he reminded that, it was spelt out in black and white by the electoral laws of the country that all citizens groups wishing to become leaders of the country be given equal platform to sell their vision to the electorate.

State broadcaster, Ghana Television, telecast the debate live. GBC, however, is under constitutional obligation to give equal coverage to all candidates who are in the contest for both Presidential and Parliamentary leadership of the country.

In the IEA debate which came off in Tamale, only the National Democratic Congress (NDC) , the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC) were represented.

The parties left out were the PPP, the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and two independent candidates.

Mr. Wayo slammed the development and said the IEA had even done badly to Ghana's democracy.

He opined that the IEA was even the wrong body to organize the debate and that the responsibility it gave itself conflicts with the powers and responsibilities of the Electoral Commission.

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