Nana Akomea, Director of Communications of the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has said political parties in Ghana have a very tight schedule for the elections, hence if the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) has any intention to organise a debate for flagbearers, the political parties should be engaged sooner than later.
His comment comes on the back of heavy criticisms levelled at the IEA after it announced the planned presidential debates for the flagbearers ahead of the November 7 polls without first discussing it with the parties.
The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the NPP are livid at the IEA for not engaging them before the announcement was made. The other parties, including the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), are also not happy with the structure of the impending debate, saying it is “weakening democracy”.
Kofi Adams, National Organiser for the NDC, said the IEA is not a headmaster to assemble students anytime it so desires. He heavily criticised the civil society group for not having a pre-discussion with the parties before the announcement.
Nana Akomea has also told the IEA that it should have officially informed the parties prior to the announcement.
He told Accra-based Okay FM, Thursday May 12 that: “We have heard about the announcement but nobody has sat with us to discuss any matter.”
Although “persons like Nana Akufo-Addo and President Mahama are very eloquent and prepared to talk about issues in the country, you will have to discuss with their parties and put your plans before them so they will factor into their timetable”.
He continued: “The time we find ourselves in, I’m not sure there is anybody or organisation that is busier than political parties because we have just a few months to the elections… All the political parties are very busy and, so, if you have a programme involving them, you can’t expect that they will accept automatically,” he said, stressing that “You will need to sit down with them so that they will also factor it into their timetable.”
He appealed to any group or institution that has lined up activities involving the parties to discuss with them before announcing the planned programme.
“I appeal to any group that intends to organise a debate for political parties, whether IEA or any other group, to put their programmes before them [political parties]. …As we speak, we don’t have any proposal from the IEA before us and so we cannot say anything about it,” he noted.