Nana Addo squares up with Mahama in Tamale Presidential Debate
Ebo Quansah Reporting
It is certainly going to be innovative. On Tuesday evening, all political activities in the country would be frozen, as the nation’s attention is focused on the much-publicised Presidential Debate at the Radach Hotel in Tamale.
For the first time in recent times, since the shadow boxing began after Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s free Senior High School Education concept was outdoored, and which has virtually boxed President John Dramani Mahama, himself a beneficiary of the fee-free education policy for the Northern half of the country in the corner, the two heavyweights in the presidential race would face each other, eye-ball to eye-ball.
It is not as if only the two main contenders would exchange ideas on how this nation should be governed from January 7, 2013. Two other contenders would be in the ring, in an endeavour to turn the table on the two leading contenders.
Mr. Hassan Ayariga, presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), and Dr. Abu Sakara Forson, leader of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), would add their intellectual wits to the grand occasion.
The Tamale debate is going to be a contest of intellectual power. But, if you ask the ordinary man on the street about the Tamale encounter, his or her answer, like the 2012 presidential race itself, would be a straight fight between the transitional President and leader of the National Democratic Congress, who is carrying the Umbrella into the ring, with his main challenger, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is riding high on the back of the Elephant to the seat of government.
It is a shame that the man with the longest moustache in national politics would be kept outside the gates of the Radach Hotel in Tamale. Paa Kwesi Nduom and his Progressive People’s Party (PPP) may be progressing, but has no representation in the House.
So is the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) of the late Dan Lartey. Uncle Dan might have popularised the concept of domestication in national politics, but for all his popular acclaim, his GCPP has not succeeded in winning any contest involving the exercise of the people’s franchise.
According to the Institute of Economic Affairs, organisers of Tuesday’s encounter, “the Presidential Debate will provide a common platform for the presidential candidates to answer questions on various aspects of the nation’s developmental process.”
“The debate will take the form of a policy dialogue engagement, at which the presidential candidates would not only present their view points, plans and programmes, but also point out weaknesses in the policies of their co-contestants, and present alternatives to those policies and programmes,” explained the IEA.
“The electorate, on the other hand, will receive first hand information on the programmes and plans of each candidate.”
According to the organisers, the Tamale debate would be based on four thematic areas: The Economy, Social Sector, Private Sector Development/Industrialisation and Foreign Policy. Under the Economy, the presidential candidates are expected to be grilled on the National Development Plan, Job Creation/Employment, Economic Growth and the National Debt.
The cross-fire that has taken over the airwaves, since Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo broached the idea of offering a fee-free and quality education for second cycle students, would be intensified when the NPP presidential candidate encounters President Mahama, a beneficiary of free secondary education, but opposes the idea.
The debate would also focus on some of the nation’s most pressing problems, including health, water and sanitation, food security, housing and electricity and power.
Political pundits have expressed disquiet about the decision to exclude presidential candidates without party representation in Parliament, but the IEA, in their wisdom, insist on organising all their events around political parties with representation in the House.
Tamale is likely to be a hot-bed of political activities in the run-up to the debate on Tuesday evening.
Editor Ebo Quansah will be in Tamale to bring you a blow by blow account of the Presidential Debate. Book your copies of Wednesday and Thursday’s editions of The Chronicle in advance.
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