The National Organiser of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kofi Adams, has revealed that the NDC does not need an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)-organised debate to win elections in Ghana.
According to the NDC scribe, Ghana’s political rugby has shown that a president seeking re-election can win the poll without taking part in any organised debate.
He recounted that in 2004, the then president of the country, John Agyekum Kufuor, refused to take part in the debate but went ahead to win the 2004 elections, an indication that the debate did not have any bearing on the fortunes of the political parties that took part in the debate.
The IEA has hinted of organising its presidential debate programme for flagbearers of all the political parties ahead of the November 7 polls.
But the NDC has given an indication that it may not allow its presidential candidate to partake in the debate.
According to Mr Adams, some officials at the IEA, specifically, Dr Ransford Gyampoh, Research Fellow, Governance Unit at the IEA, who doubles as a lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, is on record to have made disparaging remarks about the Minister for Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman which makes it difficult for the party to take part in any IEA-organised forum.
Prof Naana Opoku Agyeman was among the moderators for the 2012 edition of the IEA presidential debate. She was appointed as Minister for Education as soon as President Mahama won the 2012 elections.
But Kofi Adams has said Dr Gyampo, in one of his lectures, subjected the Minister to ridicule and mockery.
He, however, refrained from detailing the exact comments made by Dr Gyampo about the Minister for Education that the NDC finds offensive.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s ‘Ekosii Sen’ a political and news analysis programme on Wednesday May 11, Kofi Adams further revealed that the IEA had not engaged the NDC party on the planned debate but had just thrown the issue out there in the media, expecting the ruling party to grasp.
He said until the IEA makes it official to them, they would not make any preparations for such a debate.
“They are not doing us any favour, we are only helping our civil society organisations,” he said, adding that: “If they want us to be part of the debate, they should engage us.”
But responding to these comments, Dr Gyampo first of all said whatever comment Mr Adams was making issues out of what was made in classroom, and that it was purely an academic exercise.
Explaining what Kofi probably might be making capital of, Dr Gyampo said that the selection of moderators of the debates is done by political parties themselves and so the trend where political parties turn around to accuse moderators of leaking questions to some presidential candidates is neither here nor there.
For instance, in 2012, moderators were rated high by the political parties, but the parties later turned around to blame the organisers of the debate for the issues they had with the moderators, he added.
According to him, if there is a problem with the moderators, the political parties should direct their questions to those moderators they selected, not the organiser.
“Some parties tagged them, using that as a way of silencing them …At a point in time the NPP accused us that the IEA is in bed with the NDC and that the moderators leaked questions to President Mahama, but this same IEA that has been tagged as being in bed with the government. Whenever it issues a report that is against the government, they are accused of being in bed with the opposition, and, so, I was using this to make the point that if the work of this organisation does not go in their favour, then they decide to tag,” the academic explained.
“I’m using this opportunity to let him [Kofi Adams] know that if he wants to listen to my lectures, he can use the appropriate means but I emphasise that this was an academic exercise.”