Tsatsu Tsikata, a leading member of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), has taken on opposition flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo over his comments at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)-organized presidential debate Wednesday, describing his words on the Ivory Coast as potentially dangerous for Ghana.
Akufo-Addo criticized the NDC administration for not doing enough to foster good cooperation with Ghana's neighbours, citing a UN report accusing Ghana of having allowed insurgents to use its territory while planning subversive actions against the constitutionally elected government in the Ivory Coast.
If elected President, Akufo-Addo promised to end the “dzi wo fie asem” (mind your own business) foreign policy introduced by the NDC. The current approach, he claimed, has damaged Ghana’s image internationally to the extent that other countries suspected Ghana of harbouring dissidents seeking to destabilise neighbouring countries.
But President Mahama swiftly countered the claim, emphasizing that his government would not allow its territories to be used to foment trouble in any country.
Speaking Thursday on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata criticized Akufo-Addo’s delicate comments.
“When in relation to Ivory Coast [Nana Addo] tried to raise issues which really were sort of tending to create tension and so on, between states, and it seems to me unfortunate especially, when there are issues of national security involved.”
He continued, “you undermine your national sovereignty when you begin - at the kind of a forum - attacking your opponent on a matter involving the security of Ghana’s neigbours.
On the other hand, he said, President Mahama demonstrated maturity by responding to the issue in a manner that he says prevented a diplomatic row.
In a related development, Economic Development and Policy Analyst Dr. Theophilus Richardson has expressed his dissatisfaction with the conduct of PNC flagbearer Hassan Ayariga, whom he accused of attempting to turn the stage "into a joke".
Dr. Richardson suggested the IEA empowers the moderators in future debates, to cut in and bring candidates back on track when they deviate from the topic at hand.
According to him, the Accra event, which was the third and final debate ahead of the December polls, failed to live up to the hype; this he said could be attributed to the death of former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, which took the shine out of the event.