Lecturer backs parties’ concerns about IEA’s debate series

Dr. Etse Sikanku

A lecturer of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Este Sikanku, has said the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)’s modalities for its 2016 presidential debates may indeed be discriminatory.

Some political parties have chastised the IEA for what they say is an unfair approach to the 2016 IEA Presidential Debates series.

According to the parties, the exclusion of parties without parliamentary representation and the intended special debate between the NDC and the NPP candidates is discriminatory.

[contextly_sidebar id=”OxyBr1Ca2SJDPJWorGdMqbgE3F64brz8″]Speaking to Citi News Dr. Etse Sikanku indicated that the concerns of the political parties are genuine.

“There are certain essential elements of a debate; one from engagement, two, the political parties should be given equal and adequate time to respond or participate in the debate, three, debate should be between candidates of much pedigree and they should be meeting on a stated preposition and lastly the aim is to claim audience decision.”

He explained that the issue usually arises when the second element is involved.

“…Maybe this is where the concerns of the political parties come in because in that situation certain political parties are going to be prevented from participating in it and so they would feel discriminated against, especially when our system is not a two party system but a multi-party system.”

“We want the voters to hear from all the political parties on an equal and adequate basis so that voters can make an informed and comprehensive decision. If they are unable to hear from all of them at the same time it means that they will be shortchanged in terms of the kind of information or knowledge that they may have in order to make the kind of decision that they want to make. So maybe the IEA might have a very good reason for doing this but I do think that it’s a fair concern that other political parties are not getting the chance to also sell their message across,” Dr. Sikanku added.

He also backed calls that the IEA should have engaged the political parties prior to the announcement of the schedule for the debates.

We’re not discriminating against parties

Meanwhile, the IEA has rejected accusations that it is discriminating against some certified political parties ahead of its presidential debate.

The IEA’s Executive Director, Jean Mensah has a defended the new directive saying “we have been magnanimous.”

“Some think we are being discriminatory at them. In the first place we are working with parties with representation in parliament and you will find that we will have a party that will have more than a hundred seats being on the same platform with parties that have one seat. I think that we’ve been magnanimous,” she said.

By: Godwin A. Allotey/