The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC)-led government are planning to stage-manage a debate aimed at making government look good but disguised as a debate for presidential candidates of the various political parties, Daily Guide has gathered.
This idea, according to insiders within the corridors of power, was crafted to make up for government’s ill-famed decision to boycott this year’s presidential and vice-presidential debates organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) every election year.
Signals picked up by Daily Guide indicate that the NCCE would today hold a press conference, during which hints of the impending debate would be dropped by Charlotte Osei, Chairman of the Commission.
Mrs. Osei, a former student of President Atta Mills’s, recently became a subject of news when she resigned as a member of the Board of Ghana Commercial Bank after simmering agitations that her being on the Board and her role at the NCCE created a conflict of interest situation.
Reports say government had made available some funds to the NCCE to organize this particular debate which would be choreographed to project the campaign message of President Mills and make up for the vacuum that would be created due to his self-inflicted absence on the IEA platform.
These reports are coming up at a period government officials have publicly condemned the IEA and accused it of bias, though the NDC has over the years benefited from and still continues to enjoy some sponsorship from the IEA.
DAILY GUIDE has also gathered that the leadership of one of the smaller political parties is currently in talks with some persons within government to make the IEA debate unpopular and one of the suggestions on board is for the party to seek a court injunction against the debate.
President Mills and his vice, John Mahama, recently made it public that they would have nothing to do with the IEA debate organized every election year, since 2004, to provide an individual platform and a unique opportunity for each of the presidential candidates to present to the electorate their vision and strategies on how they intend to govern the country.
President Mills, in particular, has been an active participant of such debates and he only started to antagonise the IEA when he became President.
His party, the NDC, recently released a press statement to confirm their boycott.
The statement, signed by NDC Propaganda Secretary, Richard Quarshiga, read: “NDC wishes to reaffirm its decision not to participate in this year’s presidential and vice presidential debate being sponsored by the IEA.”
“The NDC government has previously drawn the IEA’s attention to the fact that no sitting president or vice president in the 4th republic has participated in these debates. It is the party’s position to uphold that convention.
“The NDC wishes the IEA well and will continue to collaborate with it in other matters of mutual interest,” the rather short statement concluded.
Source: Halifax Ansah-Addo
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