Presidential debate committee members

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has revealed that it will be organizing three presidential debates for the presidential candidates of the four political parties with representation in parliament.

The debates will be held in Accra, Takoradi and Tamale before the general elections in December 7.

As part of preparation towards the presidential debates, the IEA has set up a Presidential Debate Committee to work closely with the Institute to ensure a successful implementation of the debates.

The committee members include Rev. Dr. Mensa Otabil, General Overseer, ICGC, who is also the chairman of the committee; Mrs. Jean Mensah, Executive Director, IEA; Prof. Ivan Addae Mensah, Chairman, Petroleum Commission; Prof. Steven Adei, former Rector GIMPA and Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission.

Others include Justice Emile Short, former Commissioner of CHRAJ; Maulvi Wahab Adam, Ameer in charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission; Dr. Rose Mensah Kutin, Executive Director, ABANTU; Kofi Asamoah, General Secretary, TUC; Tony Oteng Gyasi- Former president of AGI/Managing Director-Tropical Cables; and Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.

The presidential debate committee shall work with the Institute to review questions collated from different organizations, select and approve questions for the debates and shortlist moderators for selection and approval by campaign teams of the political parties.

Other duties will be to review and approve the format and guidelines for the presidential debates, review and approve the presidential debates brochure, review and approve guidelines for moderators, issue press statements/releases relating to the presidential debates as and when necessary, and undertake any other duties that are considered relevant to the 2012 presidential debates.

Brigadier General (rtd) Francis Agyemfra, a visiting senior fellow at the IEA, said the presidential debates of 2000, 2004 and 2008 played an important role in the presidential elections, in that they enabled the campaigns to move away from one of personality attacks, acrimony, insults and attacks to an issue-based discourse.

He said the debates also provided a platform for voters to be informed and to critically assess the suitability of the various presidential aspirants.

Brig. Agyemfra said the 2012 general elections which promises to be keenly contested, are going to be a real test of the good health and maturity of the country’s democracy.

The Institute of Economic Affairs has since 2000 organized presidential debates in Ghana. Since then, presidential debates have been held in every election year and have become part of Ghana’s political history.

 By Cephas Larbi

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