The General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has stated categorically that President John Mahama will not participate in any 2016 debate organised by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) towards next month’s general election.
He said the NDC is rather preparing its flagbearer, President Mahama, to participate in another debate being organised by the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).
The latest emphasis confirmed the IEA’s inability to restore its damaged relationship with the governing party which has accused the governance think-tank of bias.
The NDC has branded the IEA as an appendage of the main opposition party, New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Mr. Nketia alleged last May that the IEA allowed pro-NPP speakers to contribute to a public programme it organised on the subject of corruption, but the institute denied him an opportunity to also comment.
The relationship has further deteriorated since that compliant.
The IEA recently revealed it was in discussions with the NDC over its boycott of this year’s debates.
The think-tank’s Executive Director, Jean Mensah, was optimistic about the return of the NDC for the presidential debate series which should start on November 8, in Tamale in the Northern Region.
“We are hoping that all four parties with representation in Parliament will participate,” she said last week.
The NDC General Secretary confirmed talks were underway but said no agreement had been reached. He said the IEA last week, sent a delegation to the NDC to discuss the possibility of “letting by-gones be by-gones”.
But he explained that the party was open to renewing its relationship with the IEA, but only after the December general election.
Mr. Nketia maintained that the NDC was for now not keen on any reconciliation or any participation in any of the three debates.
“Since we have already committed ourselves to another debate that is being organised by GBC, we are unable to participate in the IEA debate,” he noted.
According to him after pleadings from the IEA, he could only assure the think-tank that their concerns would be carried to the National Executive Committee of the party for deliberations.
“In the absence of any decision, the NDC is paying no attention to activities of the IEA.”