The two leading contenders in the December polls, the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have rejected assertions that their campaigns in the lead-up to the elections are not issue-based.
This comes on the heels of accusations and counteraccusations between the two major parties, via news conferences.
Speaking in an interview with Class News, the Director of the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research, Professor Felix Asante, urged the parties to focus on relevant issues in their campaigns.
Professor Asante said: “We find the discussion not healthy for the country’s development. We shouldn’t forget we are a lower income [nation] and we should aspire for good things for the citizenry. So I’m not impressed with the type of discussions where one party is accusing the other of particular expenditure, while the other one is saying:… ‘The important thing is that expenditure is high, debt is high.’ And I think that is where we need to focus our discussion,” he stated, adding: “We should move away from: ‘When I was in power, I built 10 schools and somebody built two schools; when I was in power, I built this hospital and etc.’ … For the past 10, 15 years, we talk about building schools but we keep on seeing every year that the quality of education is getting poorer, so, then, what is in the building?”
However, Campaign Manager of the NPP Peter Mac Manu said what the opposition NPP focuses on is to put government on its toes so that it honours its promises to the electorate.
“It depends on your definition of what constitutes triviality but we are saying… ‘Where were we in our socio-economic development then and where are we now?’ If we make these exposures, they are not called trivialities and we add our own professed solutions to it; that’s the business of election and politics so I don’t see any trivialities in it. If we expose this, it does not mean we are dealing with trivialities, we are dealing with professed solutions to problems afflicting this country,” he stated.
On the other hand, the Director of Research for the NDC, Dr William Ahadzi, said they were only accounting to the electorate but accused the NPP of rather doing “dirty politics”.
“We will like civil society and, indeed, the press, particularly, to take us on the things we have put out there. …We will be more interested in that kind of discourse, public discourse, than just this. …As for the Accounting to the People [tour], the verdict I keep saying is in the hands of the people. There are fine men at the other side of the political divide, they should not use dirty kind of politics to try to win political power; they should use issues and we are ready to debate issues and not attack personalities,” he counselled.
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