The major political parties contesting the December polls on Wednesday boycotted Election 2012 roundtable on Education organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
The discussion was to share with the political parties the findings of a nationwide survey report; “Election 2012 – Matters of concern to the Ghanaian Voter,” which identified education as number one priority.
The forum was also to bring the political parties together to defend their educational policy as captured in their manifestoes.
The parties that failed to attend in spite of being invited were: the ruling National Democratic Congress, the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Convention Peoples’ Party and Peoples National Convention.
It was only Democratic People’s Party; Great Consolidated People’s Party and Progressive Peoples Party which attended.
Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso, Senior Research Fellow of Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, who chaired the discussion, expressed concern about the failure of the leading parties to participate in the programme to deliberate on issues relating to education which is of priority to the voter.
“This research work should have been undertaking by the political parties before making “Vuvuzela,” he said.
According to the NCCE all the political parties were given a two-week invitational notice, with a follow-up telephone calls; “strangely they all confirmed participation, but failed to turn-up with any explanation”.
Professor Emmanuel Addo Obeny, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast said: “I am perturbed by the attitude of the leading political parties to very important programme to discuss matters of concern to the voter.”
Explaining the main objective of the survey; Mrs Gertrude Zakariah-Ali, NCCE Director, Research, Gender and Equity said it was to collate information on matters of concern to the Ghanaian voters.
“Provide political parties with issues that voters would like them to address; provide electoral candidates with critical areas that Ghanaians and their constituents want them to address concerning the matters raised.
“Provide NCCE with adequate information that will enable her undertake an effective civic/voter education towards December 2012 general election”, she noted.
Mrs Charlotte Osei, NCCE Chairman in an interview with the Ghana News Agency observed that the research findings affirmed that education is the most powerful weapon to use to effect change.
She said the overall goal of democratic governance is to bring development into the lives of individuals and the nation. These developments are mainly pursued by the ruling government through policies and programmes.
The NCCE Chairman noted that many political parties have manifestoes crafted out of their general philosophies, which spell out their plans and methodology to bring change in the life of the people and develop the country.
Mrs Osei said manifestoes are supposed to be the bedrock of the campaign message, which must pivot around matters of national concern.
The survey therefore was to ensure that the electorates are engaged to become knowledgeable.
She said: “Issues based campaigning apart from giving the public good leadership also sanitizes the campaign since personal attacks are minimised.
“People believe that lack of information on matters of concern to the voter makes politicians to dwell more on personal matters and matters which are unimportant to voters.
“This survey is intended to fill the gap that has been created by making information available to stakeholders. It is also critical that the voice, needs and aspirations of voters are highlighted,” she said.
The 14 issues that are of concern to the Ghanaian voter in Election 2012 according to ranking are; Education, Health, Employment, Women and Children, Agriculture, Roads and Infrastructure, Corruption, Social Services, Sports, Economy, Energy, National Security, Housing, and Youth Development.