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Opinions of Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Columnist: Amonu, Kofi

Who Has The Best To Offer - 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 need for Ghanaians to know each one's plans for solving the nation's problems and moving it forward. Nduom has challenged Akuffo Ado and Attah-Mills to debates but the public is yet to hear acceptances from the two contestants. It is when, or if, the challenge is accepted, that TV and radio stations that want to host the debates can decided on dates, venues, and rules to set the ball rolling. It is important that everyone votes and every voter is informed about the candidates. Declaration of assets by presidential candidates before taking office is also important in Ghanaian politics but that will be the focus of another article.

There are multiple returns from these face-to-face all-in-one-room debates. They enable the candidates to face the nation and each other and tell us in their own words what they did in their various public positions and private lives, thus revealing the insufficiencies of their opponents. Debates are necessary steps in our election process. Whether these candidates have helped (or hurt) the nation in the past, we need to know because, good or bad, one of them is going to be the person who makes decisions that will affect the lives of the populace. If one chooses to become a public figure, his privacy is forfeited and all his activities outside his home become public matter so Ghanaians need to inspect the politicians' dirty linen and examine their wardrobes in order to make educated choices when they go to the polls. The debates will also quell some hearsays and innuendos about the candidates and ultimately pave the way for the longed-for Freedom of Information Bill. Traveling around the country wearing party colors and making promises, without letting your true personality and plans be known by the people you are to serve is not the only way to campaign.

I will encourage the would-be arrangers of the debate invite ALL presidential candidates and pick distant dates after the candidates have picked their running mates because the frontrunner and running mate make the total presidential package. All presidential candidates have lived abroad and are acquainted with political debates so this challenge should not come as a shock to any. Politics is a game of strategies - the politician who makes such a challenge puts himself in a different class 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 the contestant's name is put on the platform during the televised debate as a constant reminder to voters that that candidate refused to debate. The ball is in your court, Akufo Ado, and Attah-Mills!

I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

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