IEA’s ‘changes’ to presidential debates disrespectful – Parties

The participants in the last IEA presidential debate

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has come under intense fire from some major political parties ahead of the November elections, for what they describe as disrespectful and unfair arrangements adopted for this year’s presidential debates.

Apart from the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is yet to declare it’s stance on the newly proposed arrangements by the IEA, which includes the likelihood for a presidential debate between the two main front-runners, other parties have chided the IEA for not consulting the parties on these new arrangements.

[contextly_sidebar id=”i7I9ZKyAb71kkKtwdGt7hGELZhaoOTxx”]The National Democratic Congress (NDC) expressed displeasure with the IEA for not consulting them before its announcement on Tuesday, with the party’s National Organizer, Kofi Adams, describing their actions as disrespectful.

“We did not have any consultation with the IEA and you cannot just get up and make announcements without engaging the political parties that are involved especially when you are introducing something new. At least they should have treated us with some respect. We strongly feel that we have been disrespected,” he added.

The Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, also criticized the IEA for not consulting before proposing the new arrangements.

“The unilateralism that characterizes the way IEA takes its decisions is not healthy for our bubbling democracy. You will appreciate that these decisions were taken in the past with some other crop of executives. It will be important to tell the current executives even if they were old that these are the issues that we have come up with and we can also come out and do an evaluation of the past presidential debates before the IEA can come out.”

IEA discriminating against parties

On the IEA’s intention to organize a special debate for the presidential candidates of the NDC and the NPP, Bernard Mornah said this would be against what the IEA stood for per their umbrella institution’s regulations, the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy.

“They cannot want to organize a bi-party or a two party debate, this is to deviate from the fact that we have the Netherlands Institute for multi-party and not a bi-party state.”

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP), also condemned the IEA’s move to organize a special debate for the NDC and the NPP with their General Secretary, Mutalla Mohammed, saying it is discriminatory and possibly unconstitutional.

“What constitutes a political party in Ghana has been defined by our constitution so once you qualify, an equal opportunity must be given to all without fear or favour. Whoever is organizing it cannot change the construction of the land because every outside rule is subject to the constitution of this country.”

CPP could boycott debate

The Convention People’s Party’s (CPP) Deputy General Secretary, Asani Tano, revealed that his party could boycott the debates given the recent developments.

“It is very unfair and an undemocratic act and I am saying I would have been very grateful if my party boycotted it. In the first place, I do not subscribe to the idea that if you do not have representation in parliament, you are not part of the debate.”

NCCE should handle debates

In a rather surprising move, both the PNC and the PPP called on the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), to take up the organization of the presidential debates.

“We have made significant proposals that the debate should be organised under the auspices of the national commission for civic education with sponsorship coming from the UNDP, IEA or any other group that is interested given that we have a state institution clothed with the responsibility of civic or political education.”

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/