Deputy Information Minister James Agyanim Boateng has described President John Mahama’s decision to appear at the Institute of Economic Affairs’ “Evening Encounter with the Presidential candidates”, as a demonstration that the NDC is truly democratic.
The governing party then led by then President John Atta Mills, their announced its decision to boycott the IEA’s “Evening Encounter with the Presidential candidates” and debates ahead of the December elections.
The party’s Propaganda Secretary, Richard Quarshigah in a statement noted, the NDC to uphold the convention where no sitting President or Vice President in the fourth Republic has participated in these debates.
Since 2000 when the debate was introduced, no sitting president has attended the event. Vice President JEA Mills at the time did not attend the maiden edition and so did President Kufuor when he was seeking re-election in 2004.
The party also claimed the IEA had not demonstrated neutrality regarding the manner in which it handled certain issues. The decision though, attracted a barrage of criticism from rival political parties and other interest groups.
However the NDC now led by President John Mahama, as a result of the death of President Mills, announced Friday, that it will take part in the IEA’s orgnaised event.
Deputy Information Minister Agyanim Boateng said the latest development within the NDC was an indication of internal democracy within it.
He said since assuming office, President Mahama has demonstrated his determination to break conventions in governance which also include his decision to hold regualar meetings with political rivals over issues of national concerns.
Meanwhile, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has described attempts by some NDC functionaries to rationlise the party’s earlier position, as “dishonesty”.
“It was a bad policy, silence over it might have been better….They should be honest with the reasons for the change in mind,” he said.
He said President Mahama has an advantage to counter all that the other candidates had gone to say on the IEA platform as well as tell Ghanaians what he has to offer if elected.
In another development, NPP candidate for Obuasi constituency Kwaku Kwarteng has downplayed the likely impact the NDC’s appearance at the IEA would have on his party’s chances of winning the December polls.
Mr. Kwarteng said the NDC’s sadden U-turn is due to the fact that the Mahama candidacy has failed to fly; hence their resolve to use every available avenue to market him.
He urged the NDC to apologise for the attacks lunched on the persons of some people at the IEA by its communicators, when the party was heavily criticized for its decision not to show up at the event.