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IEA undermining democracy with ‘discriminatory’ debate- Nduom

The Flagbearer of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, has threatened to boycott the Institute of Economic Affairs’ (IEA) presidential debate if it goes ahead with its decision to square up Flagbearers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) exclusively ahead of the November polls.

On Tuesday, the IEA announced at the launch of its Presidential debates and evening encounters in Accra, that it is considering organizing a presidential debate for flagbearers of the two main political parties.

If the decision is implemented, it would be the first time John Mahama and Nana Addo will debate exclusively in a debate ahead of the polls.

The IEA has been organizing presidential debates since 2008. The Institute says the new innovation is in response to the results of a survey which revealed a public desire for the two front runners in the presidential race to debate face to face.

The institute has however indicated that it will not cancel the presidential debate that is organised for all political parties ahead of the polls. It said a separate debate for parties without representation in Parliament was also going to be held.

But the decision did not sit well with Dr. Paa Kwesi Ndoum, who believes the IEA’s move should not be encouraged since it does not promote democracy.

”I am making my stand clear. I will use all of the influence I have within the Progressive People’s Party to ensure that our party does not take part in any debate program that discriminates against non-NDC and NPP candidates. After all, we are all called to “…resist oppressors’ rule,”said Dr. Ndoum.

“We must ask ourselves what is the purpose?What is the intent and what is the IEA looking to do. We have been told that the IEA has announced a series of debates for the 2016 elections and those debates they claim are aimed at strengthening our democracy. Well I think not. I don’t I agree with what the IEA intends to do. In this country we have a political parties’ law. It is the political parties’ law that determine which political parties are in good standing. It is the one that also gives authorization to the Electoral Commission to determine who is a legitimate presidential or parliamentary candidate and so if the IEA wants to do something to strengthen our democracy it should rather work with the Electoral Commission, help it to truly determine what parties are legitimate and which candidate should be certified to contest the presidential election in 2016,” he argued.

According to him, if Ghana wants to “promote and make our democracy vibrant, what the IEA should be doing is to take all the presidential candidates and allow all of them to express their views , be examined by the people, to be out there in the public realm, debate and show the people what is therefore offer them.”

“You may never know who will show up in 2016 and fire up the imagination of the people and gain the confidence and the support of the people. We will never know if we don’t give everyone who qualifies the opportunity to engage in a debate,” he added.

Other political parties have expressed similar views  and have called on the IEA to rescind its decision.

By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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