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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Columnist: thechronicle.com.gh

So President Mahama wants a debate after all?

President John Dramani Mahama President John Dramani Mahama

As the Nigerian maxim goes, “The day the monkey is destined to die, all the tree branches become slippery.” President Mahama has now realised that he is in a battle of his life, and that contrary to what he thought, this year’s election is not going to be easy for him and the party he leads – The National Democratic Congress (NDC).

As a result, he has changed his arrogant stance when it comes to debating the leader of the opposition, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to that of a sober one.

The President and his party thought they had already won the elections, and, therefore, treated with contempt, the proposal from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), for him (Mahama) to debate Nana Addo.

Led by the National Organiser of the party, Kofi Adams, who did not give the late President Mills peace of mind until he entered his grave, the NDC vowed never to appear on the IEA platform that has the reputation of hosting such debates.

During his annual encounter with the media at the Flagstaff House, President Mahama dropped the hint that he would not appear on the IEA platform to debate Nana Addo. According to him, his appearance on the platform would be based on the advice of his party, and that if the NDC leaders stopped him, he could not disobey their orders, because he was contesting the election on the ticket of the party.

With just little over a month to go to the polls, and with the EIU reports predicting victory for Nana Addo and the NPP on three different occasions, President Mahama has, all of a sudden, realised the need to debate Nana Addo.

Speaking in an interview with Volta Star at Ho yesterday, President Mahama said Nana Addo and his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, are telling Ghanaians lies about the economy, and that he wanted to confront them in an open debate, where facts and figures about the true status of the economy would be laid bare.

President Mahama is a good communicator, but he has allowed the sabre-rattlers in his party and government to overly control him, and is now bearing the brunt of that ill advice. The NDC has always poured cold water on accusations made against the economy by Dr. Bawumia.

Shockingly, when they want to reply to the NPP running mate’s digestion of the economy, they prefer to use Fifi Kwetey, a man noted for spewing out propaganda, instead of using the Finance Minister himself. Who in Ghana would believe what Fifi Kwetey says, apart from hardcore members of the NDC? – But that is their cup of tea.

The Chronicle does not, however, think Nana Addo and NPP should accept this challenge from the ‘Dying President’. It could be a Gordian knot that the party may not be able to untie before the polls.

When a blind man says he would throw a stone at you, he is already standing on one. President Mahama had, from day one, refused to debate the NPP flag bearer, but having realised that he was losing the election, has all of the sudden started throwing the bait.

Nana Addo’s victory is already written on the walls, and what NPP needs to do now is to intensify its campaign, especially, in the rural areas, instead of allowing the presidential candidate to debate President Mahama. The fact that Asiedu Nketiah has decided to concentrate his campaign in Volta Region of all places, tells the story about the NDC losing the elections.

Despite describing the region as their World Bank, an accolade Togbe Afede and his colleague chiefs have rejected, Asiedu Nketiah and team could still not get the numbers, and had to bus in people from Dzodze and Keta among others to Kedjebi and surrounding villages, during the recent tour of the President to the area.

Is this a party the NPP presidential candidate should debate now?