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IEA Seems Prepared To Shred Their Credibility To Save NPP's Blushes   
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A member of the Communications Team of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Felix Ofosu Kwakye has contested the neutrality and credibility of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

According to him, the ruling party cannot accept to be part of a process being organized by an institution which has been compromised and also has a history of open bias.

He was commenting on the party’s decision not to allow President John Evans Atta Mills and Vice President John Dramani Mahama to participate in the IEA’s upcoming debates and encounters with the Presidential candidates ahead of this year's elections.

Speaking as a panelist on Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo Morning Show, Kwakye-Ofosu alluded to a serialized report the Ghana News Agency (GNA) sourced from the website of the IEA in August last year which slammed the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for abuse of incumbency in Elections 2008 as the then ruling party.

The report made stinging indictment on the NPP and how it flagrantly abused state resources to run an opulent campaign in the last election-an election it lost to the then opposition National Democratic Congress flagbearer John Mills.

“The most flagrant abuses involve the use of state vehicles, state security apparatuses, state officials, state venues and paraphernalia, and state helicopters to distribute campaign materials of its presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo…Last-minute flurry of sod-cutting for projects and its commissioning activities by then President John Agyekum Kufuor was seen as inuring to the benefit of the ruling NPP’s candidate,” IEA stated in the report.

The document titled: “Report on the 2008 General Elections in Ghana,” also said Nana Akufo-Addo “was awash in resources and some estimated him as out-spending his seven other presidential opponents put together by as much as 30:1 ratio”.

But the IEA was quick to dissociate itself from the report, challenging its authenticity.

Thus ensued a “credibility tussle” between the IEA, which denied creating or contributing to the reports; and the state-owned news agency insistence that it picked the story from the IEA website.

What further stoked the embers of controversy was when after the IEA denial, the report inexplicably vanished from the website of the public policy think tank. But Google later made available the document that the IEA removed from its website and thus belied the IEA’s position and established the credibility of GNA.

To the NDC Communications Team member, by failing to take responsibility for their actions and also for acting to favour a particular party, the IEA, as a civil society organization, acted in bad faith.

“The IEA is a civil organization; such an organization is not under government and so is government also not under it and so if this two will do something together it should be based on a mutual understanding. IEA is behaving like they are prepared to shred their credibility in order to save the blushes of the NPP…IEA can no longer claim to be a mutual institution…They denied that the report was on their website and it borders on their integrity as an organization. Why were they feeling proud to apologise or confess that indeed they published such a story on their website?” Felix quizzed.

He pointed out that though the NDC has officially stated why it has opted out of this year’s presidential debates, his reference to the incident above are some of the things that “certainly informed the decision.”

“…if an organization behaves in a manner that shows clear bias, I don’t think other political parties have a business dealing with them…why should IEA favour political parties? Because of that, I don’t believe that their platform is credible. They have demonstrated bias…personally, I don’t think it adds so much to our democracy; as an observer, it does not excite me…” Felix Kwaye-Ofosu said.
Source: Rebecca Addo-Tetteh/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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