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Presidential Debate: IEA Shields Akufo-Addo   
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Intelligence The aL-hAJJ has picked portrays a well-rehearsed plan “to do anything and everything” under the sun to scuttle the 2016 presidential debate in order to ‘protect’ the 2016 flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party.

Unfortunately, but perhaps, the craftiness of this well-thought-out plot may be the reason the governing National Democratic Congress and other political parties in the country, except the NPP, are unwillingly playing to the diabolic tune of policy think tank, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) The aL-hAJJ can report.

Though the plot was first picked by this paper’s intelligence through an NPP source privy to the conspiracy, unfolding events relative to the presidential debate as being rolled out by the IEA has further given credence to the supposed plot.

Having come to the realization that Nana Akufo-Addo is not fit to engage in a rigorous outdoor activity going beyond two hours, the source alleged; handlers of the NPP 2016 flag bearer managed to coerce the IEA to do “anything and everything” possible to scuttle any planned presidential debate this year.

According to the source, the change in format of the IEA sponsored presidential debate for this year was deliberately couched to further and favour the course of the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo.

This, the source explained, was done deliberately to provoke the other political parties to boycott the event and eventually prevent the debate from taking place.

As part of the wider plot to shield Nana Akufo-Addo from recent public gaffes particularly, a repeat of what some have christened the “Legon debacle”, the IEA is also expected to do“anything” to discredit any organization intending to organize the presidential debate for this year.

In what many have described as unconscionable and reprehensible, the IEA last week announced among others, that its impending presidential debate series for political parties with representation in parliament would feature a separate debate between President John Dramani Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo.

However, this strange arrangement by IEA did not sit well with virtually all political parties. While National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams, decried the non-involvement of the political parties in the planning of the IEA's debate with threats to boycott the event, flag bearers of the Peoples Progressive Party, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, All People’s Congress, Dr Hassan Ayariga, are also threatening to boycott the debate if the IEA goes ahead with the intended plan.

Perhaps, in a calculated move to further provoke the leadership of the NDC to rally other parties to boycott the event, Executive Director of IEA, Jean Mensah, in an audacious but inconceivable response told the governing party they cannot boycott the debate slated for September, 2016.

Even, while the IEA has no statutory powers to compel a political party to participate in its programs, Jean Mensah brazenly stated “If they (NDC) boycott the debate, we will continue with the debate but I don’t think they will boycott the debate because it is a platform to make their plans known. Nobody can question the independence of the platform. The platform is to showcase everyone in the best light. There is no reason for NDC to say the platform is not credible and so they will boycott it.”

Following the concerns being raised by the political parties, the National Commission for Civic Education has waded into the controversy, hinting it will organize similar debate for all presidential and parliamentary candidates contesting the November 7 E lections.

But the IEA instantly rejected the NCCE’s proposal. Its Executive Director, Jean Mensah stubbornly insisted that the constitutionally recognized body does not have the credibility to organize such sensitive exercise because they have not been “tried and tested” in that area.
“I don’t believe the NCCE has the capacity and experience to engage in presidential debate. The NCCE’s focus is to educate citizens on their civic responsibilities and duties and I think is a big challenge and mandate before them, particularly this election year.

Surprisingly, the NPP which is said to be enjoying the machinations by the IEA to scuttle any presidential debate is the only political party which has so far sided with the think-tank including the spirited attempts to discredit the state agency’s plan to organize similar debate.

Dropping hints of Nana Akufo-Addo’s preferred format for a presidential debate, National Youth Organizer of NPP, Sammy Awuku, said “We also believe that every political party regardless of size deserves the opportunity to express and share their opinion on how they also believe they can govern when they are given the mandate… the NPP treats all political parties with respect. Every political party deserves an opportunity to engage with the people but it shouldn’t necessarily come from the IEA… That is an idea that Nana Akufo Addo strongly shares.”

He said the NPP is waiting to receive official information from the IEA in order to make a decision. Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Awuku said, “When we are notified officially, we will look at the mode they are talking about and where we have reservations, we will state those reservations, and where we have inputs we will state the inputs and run it by them.”

Siding with Jean Mensah on the capacity of the NCCE to organize presidential debate, Sammy Awuku said, “the core mandate of the NCCE is not to even organize presidential debates. What they should be concerned about is educating people on how to vote because in Ghana today, we have a third political party called the rejected ballot party. We cannot continue to have rejected ballots plaguing our elections. It shows that the NCCE which is also expected to educate our populace is not doing its job. So we are surprised that they are also trying to veer into the area of organizing presidential debates. You [the NCCE] want to enter into an area that you practically have no competence”.

This strange marriage of convenience between the IEA and the NPP, persons conversant with plots say, is an elaborate scheme to play on the sensibilities of the various political parties in order to scuttle any presidential debate from being organized by the IEA or NCCE in order to save the skin of Nana Akufo-Addo.
Source: The Al-Hajj

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