General News of Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

4 Aspiring veeps battle for recognition

One week after the presidential candidates of the four political parties with representation in parliament had engaged in an exciting debate in Tamale, their running mates are taking the battle of wits and ideas to Takoradi, where they will, today, engage in a debate expected to be very thrilling.

Mr. Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mrs. Helen Matervi of the People's National Convention (PNC) and Nana Sarpong-Kumankuma of the Convention People's Party (CPP) will be seeking to make some political gain from the debate to shore up the chances of their respective political parties in the December polls.

Furthermore, the four running mates will seek to use the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) platform to consolidate the efforts of their presidential candidates or make amends where their bosses fell short in the Tamale presidential debate.

However, the spotlight will certainly be on Vice President Amissah-Arthur and Dr Bawumia, and for more reasons than one.

Apart from the two of them being astute economists and academicians, the solid credentials of Mr. Amissah-Arthur and Dr Bawumia as a former Governor and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, respectively, are expected to inspire a “showdown” between the two intellectuals in respect of economic matters.

The two former big-wigs of the Central Bank had recently taken pot-shots at each other on political platforms, but, coming face-to-face on a more serious and intellectual platform tonight, they will be required to come clean on their contentions about economy and the policy proposals of their respective political parties.

But the anticipated strong contest between the NDC and the NPP running mates will in no way obscure the presence of the two female running mates in the debate, as the women are expected to justify their participation, particularly on gender-related matters.

With her rich experience in development programmes, Madam Sarpong-Kumankuma is expected to reinforce the policy agenda of the CPP, while Mrs Dzatogbe will also draw deep into her experience as an educationist and French translator to strongly articulate the vision of the PNC.

After the excitement generated over the Tamale presidential debate, the four running mates are expected to sustain public interest in the IEA-organised programme as they respond to various issues of national concern.

This year's presidential debates are the fourth in the series since 2000 and they are informed by the commitment of the IEA to strengthen the pillars of the country's democracy and ensure a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election process.

The objective is also to increase accountability, introduce an issues-based approach to the election campaign process, promote dialogue among the presidential candidates on their policies and programmes to enable the electorate to make an informed choice of candidates.