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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Columnist: Daily Statesman

Akufo-Addo can’t subject himself to Mahama’s whims and caprices


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We have established a convention in Ghana under the Fourth Republican democratic dispensation where the Institute of Economic Affairs provides the platform for presidential aspirants to engage in a debate during which their respective policy alternatives are put under the microscope by a panel of moderators.

This programme is often held in three phases at different locations of the country, with emphasis on specific areas of the economy.

What we had, however, witnessed in the past was the fact that sitting presidents opted from the programme, for the obvious reason of being the sole target of criticism by the prospective contenders. Rawlings and Kufuor followed that path, and, probably, Atta Mills might have done same, had he not passed on.

John Mahama who succeeded Atta Mills took a bold step and broke away from the tradition of sitting presidents opting out of the programme, by being part of the 2012 debate.

But, rather strangely, the time came for this year’s IEA debate, and NDC propagandists, with the tacit approval of their presidential candidate openly came out to tell the good people of this country that they were not interested in the debate. Their reason was that the proposed debate between Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP standard-bearer, and John Mahama was an act of disrespect to other political parties, and that IEA had not operated by the tenants of fairness and core principles of democracy.

The debate therefore, was thrown out of the window and for weeks, thereafter, the IEA became the punching bag of NDC’s ‘babies with sharp teeth’.

And after all these acts of vilification and utter contempt against the IEA, which the president certainly cannot claim to have been oblivious to, he now turns around to demand for this very same debate?

Indeed, we believe that Nana Akufo-Addo, as a leader and presidential candidate of NPP for the 2016 elections, has a clear-cut schedule to go by. He does not wake up in the morning, and just dreams up what do to. The man is a well-organized individual who does not do things per the dictates of others whose whole life revolves around pure indecisiveness, total incompetence and abject incoherence.

And to those who have suddenly started making references to the debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in America, we want them to be minded of the fact that this great American example they are so crazy about, and has suddenly become their point of reference in pushing for the same thing here in Ghana, does not happen by magic, neither is it by the dictates of someone who lacks the right sense of political judgment.

This debate is actually a product of a PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE COMMISSION which is a permanent and well-organized entity that puts in place the plan for the next programme the very day results of elections are declared, and a president-elect announced.

Therefore, if propagandists of the NDC are so fascinated by what is going on in America and therefore wish it was replicated here, then it is incumbent on them to do their homework well and come to the point of realization that, indeed, this did not come out of a bogus call from a president who has obviously lost credibility, sees defeat staring him in the face, and is therefore desperately looking for an escape route.

Nana Akufo-Addo is busily selling his message of HOPE to ordinary Ghanaians who are at the core of his cogent policy alternatives, and therefore does not have the luxury of time to engage in a debate that has been demanded by an indecisive leader.

Simply put, Nana Akufo-Addo cannot be expected to subject himself to the whims and caprices of President Mahama.

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