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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Columnist: Amonu, Kofi

Nduom, Akufo Addo, or Attah-Mills?

Who Has The Best To Offer Ghana - Nduom, Akufo Addo, or Attah-Mills?

Many a voter has regretted his choice only a few months, into a presidential term so, in the wake of three political giants, Nduom, Akuffo Ado, and Attah-Mills, among others, contesting for the presidency of Ghana, there is a pressing need for Ghanaians to know their individual plans for solving the nation's problems and moving it forward. Needless to say, it is important that every voter is informed about all the candidates in keeping with the saying that an informed consumer is the best customer. Nduom has challenged Akuffo Ado and Attah-Mills to debates but the public is yet to hear acceptances from the two contestants. When (or if) the challenge is accepted, independent TV and Talk-Radio stations that want to host the debates can decided on dates, venues, and rules to set the ball rolling. Declaration of assets by presidential candidates may also be of importance in Ghanaian politics but that will be the focus of another article.

The debates are necessary steps in the election campaigns because they provide opportunities for the candidates to face the nation and sell themselves by explaining their agendas and answering questions from panels, from each other, and from the public. Furthermore, they enable the public to know the contestants' accomplishments, visions and personal attributes, as well as quell some of the hearsays about the candidates, and provide the information that voters depend on to make educated choices when they go to the polls. Political debates are parallel to job interviews. The candidate who shows up on time, appropriately dressed, and answers all questions satisfactorily may not necessarily be the best worker but a job interview is an important way of separating potentially good employees from bad ones.

All the presidential candidates have lived abroad and are acquainted with political debates so this challenge should not come as a shock to any. Politics, they say, is a game of strategies - the politician who issues such a challenge puts himself in a different rank from the one who does not accept or even takes long to accept so I urge Akufo Ado and Attah-Mills not to hesitate any longer. In some countries an empty chair with a candidate's name is put on the platform during televised debates as constant reminders to voters that that candidate refused to debate. I will encourage the would-be organizers of the debates to invite all presidential candidates and include their running mates in some of the debates because the frontrunners and running mates together make the total presidential package. I am asking the public to press on Akufo Ado, and Attah-Mills into accepting the challenge and urging Nduom to voluntarily present himself at town hall and community center meetings to answer questions about his agenda should his opponents refuse to debate.

I may be wrong, but I doubt it.



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