A former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye has described President John Mahama’s calls for a one-on-one debate with the New Patriotic Party(NPP) Presidential Candidate, as an attempt to score cheap political points.
According to him, the period for a debate passed when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) refused to participate the debates organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). On Thursday President Mahama reiterated his calls for a debate with Nana Akufo-Addo, saying it would afford both parties an opportunity to set the record straight on a number of issues including the state of the economy.
President Mahama suggested that the NPP was simply misinforming the electorate with propaganda and his challenge would ensure a statistics based debate on the economy.
But Prof. Ocquaye believes the NDC’s calls for a debate with Nana Addo has intensified because the party wants to divert attention from what he describes as President Mahama’s mismangement of the economy. “ The NDC is trying to take the focus away from their economic mismanagement.They are bringing about the so called debate now because they know they have failed,” he added.
He indicated that a debate at this moment is unnecessary at this crucial time, since the NDC will only reduce it to what he calls “propaganda of the moment.”
He believes the President should rather focus on being accountable to the citizenry .
“The President is going to the North. Let him rather tell the people in the North what happened to the guinea fowls, let him tell the people what happened to the roads and why they built school blocks twice the cost of what MTN built.”
Debate challenge hypocritical
Meanwhile Spokesperson for Nana Addo, Mustapha Hamid has rubbished President John Mahama’s calls for a one-one-one debate with the NPP flagbearer, describing it as hypocritical and insincere rhetoric.
Mr. Hamid argued that if President Mahama was truly serious about debating Nana Akufo-Addo, he would have written an official letter to the NPP challenging the NPP Presidential Candidate to a debate.
He retorted: “Is that how debates are done? If you want to challenge Bukom Banku or Azumah Nelson to a boxing bout, you sit on radio and say I want Bukom Banku for a fight. Is that how it is done?”
“If you want to challenge somebody to a debate, you write to him, the presidential candidate, New Patriotic Party… you write a letter, then you sign it, then it is delivered then we give you a response. Then based on our response you can go to the public and say; I invited them to a debate and they didn’t come.”