The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has been criticised for not doing proper consultation before launching the presidential debate.
The Director of Communication of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea, said his party was not consulted.
He said as much as the debate had come to stay, an innovation by the institute to debate on a range of issues did not mean it should impose things on the parties.
Name Akomea said, the best the institute could do was to consult the various political parties of its plans and if they were prepared to take part in the debate.
He said though the IEA has made innovation in its programme, ‘it was not a requirement for the parties to buy its plans’.
‘We just heard it from the media and hope the IEA would get back to the political parties so we can take a decision,’ he said.
The Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Mr. George Lawson, said the opinion of the leadership of the party was not sought before arriving at the decision.
He said the IEA should have dialogued with the leadership of the parties to seek their opinion and see if the date was convenient for them.
‘It was an absorbed proposal by the IEA where the leadership of our party was not consulted or was it because the president said he was ready to debate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, the presidential candidate of the NPP?” he asked.
In any case, he said, his outfit was waiting to receive official communication from IEA to enable it take a decision.
The Director for Elections of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) Mr. James Kwabena Bomfeh, said the decision by of IEA came as a surprise to the party, because the institute had never discussed that with the CPP neither with the other political parties.
According to him, the political parties had good relationship with IEA through the Ghana political parties platform where the IEA organised series of capacity building programmes, for various stakeholders including Members of Parliament.
Apart from that, the IEA occasionally met the chairmen of the various political parties and their secretaries on different occasions to deliberate on issues and wondered that at all those levels, their attention was not drawn to the presidential debate.
Mr. Bomfeh said he was surprised that instead of IEA bringing the parties together to holistically debate on issues, it tried to segregate them which was a clear indication of what was happening in the country where there was so much division instead of bringing people vis-a-vis political parties together.
‘IEA is not a state body like the Electoral Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice among others that can compel us to meet-they do not draw their resources from the state let alone from tax payers to force us,’ he said.
Attempt to reach Mrs. Jane Mensa, the Executive Director of IEA on the matter proved futile as she did not respond to phone calls as of press time.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffour