The much awaited November 8 IEA presidential debate did not materialise due to the failure of parties involved to reach an agreement.
Hopefully, the November 22nd round of debates will be held tomorrow, since all Ghanaians were sort of left in the dark until the last minute two weeks ago. So, today, YEN presents you what could have been then — or what could happen tomorrow.
For the purposes of this mock debate, our moderator is Citi FM’s Bernard Avle; our sponsor is the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA); and our venue is the Great Hall of the University of Ghana in Accra
Now, let’s set the ball rolling:
Bernard Avle: Good evening from the University of Ghana in Accra. I'm Bernard Koku Avle of Citi FM News and I welcome you to this year’s presidential debate organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). This debate, involving six presidential candidates, is live on GTV and Citi FM.
The IEA has divided this debate into two segments on the Economy and Corruption .
Each candidate will get five minutes for a main question and two minutes for a follow-up.
The audience here in the hall has agreed to remain silent. They will not cheer, boo, or interrupt in any way, so that we can focus on what the candidates have to say.
Let’s now invite our distinguished candidates onto the stage.
Bernard Avle: Lady and gentlemen will you please introduce yourself to our audience.
John Mahama: John Dramani Mahama, presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress.
Nana Addo: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party.
Nana Konadu: Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party.
Papa Kwesi Nduom: Papa Kwesi Nduom, presidential candidate for the Progressive People’s Party.
Ivor Greenstreet: Ivor Greenstreet, presidential candidate for the Conventions Peoples Party
Edward Mahama: Edward Mahama, presidential candidate of the Peoples National Convention (PNC).
Bernard: Thank you very much. Now we head to our very first segment on the economy, and the first question will go to President John Mahama. Mr President, the economy is growing at a slower rate than was the case when you took office. Under your watch, taxes have gone up; interest rates have increased dramatically; inflation has skyrocketed and unemployment is still very high. How did we find ourselves in this situation and what did you do to address it?
Mahama: Thank you so much for the question. Ermm… we had some errmm… challenges. The local economy suffered some shocks from the effects of low global growth. The fall in the price of commodities such as gold and cocoa really meant we had less money coming into the coffers, and you know we had to…
Akufo-Addo: What about oil? You had the have the benefit of oil yet you have presided over the worst and most incompetent administration in the history of this country. The NPP did not have oil when we were in power but we delivered a robust economy which you quickly destroyed when you took over...
Mahama: (Laughs) My brother, Akufo-Addo, has not given up this his propaganda….
Akufo-Addo: Oh please…
Bernard: Nana, please let him make his point. For the benefit our audience, we don’t want you talking over each other. Mr President, please continue.
Mahama: Thank you, Bernard, for teaching Akufo-Addo about tolerance. You know… I’m sick and of tired of Nana Addo and his running mate, Bawumia, constantly thrashing the economy. They get up every day and their campaign message is “incompetent Mahama administration”. Have you been president before? You think it’s easy to be president? If former President Kufuor criticises me, I’ll understand because he’s been there before and he understands how difficult it is, but Nana and Bawumia … I don’t think they get it…
Bernard: But they are right that the economy is going through tough times, aren’t there?
Mahama: I disagree. The economy has been stabilised. Look, the cedi is currently the most stable currency in Africa. The economy will grow in leaps and bounds next year. We’ve created thousands of jobs through our numerous infrastructural projects. Have you seen Dubai? I mean the almighty Kwame Nkrumah Interchange? It’s a beauty. That project alone created three thousand jobs. We’ve revived the Komenda Sugar Factory. That’s 20,000 jobs. This economy has created hundreds of thousands of jobs since I took office. The economy is strong… Look, Donald Trump is promising what we’ve have done already in Ghana. We are ahead of the USA in terms of infrastructure…
Bernard: Your time is up, Mr President. Nana Addo, you have five minutes.
Akufo-Addo: Thank you very much, Bernard. It’s extremely sad to hear Mahama say that the economy is strong; that the economy is good; that people are enjoying. Yes, the economy is good, but only for Mahama's family and friends. Yes, people are enjoying, but they are Mahama’s family and friends.
The rest of the population is dying of monumental hardship imposed on us by this incompetent government. I’ve been travelling across the country and I tell you that the suffering is real. The hardship is unbearable. People are really suffering. Millions of people cannot afford three square meals a day. The incompetent Mahama administration must be replaced in December with a caring Akufo-Addo government that will turn things around for the country. We will introduce the “one district, one factory”, "One village, one day" and several other policies that will create thousands of jobs for Ghanaians...
Mahama: This “one district, one factory” things is a dream. It cannot be achieved. It’s just a ruse to obtain votes. I can assure Ghanians that if, God forbid, Akufo-Addo wins, he will not be able to deliver on all his outrageous promises. He’ll be like Donald Trump, who said during campaigning that he would build a wall and deport 11 million illegal immigrants. Now that he has won, he says the wall will be fences in certain areas. On illegal immigrants, he says he will immediately deport two million who are criminals and that the remaining nine million are good people. That’s what Akufo-Addo will do to Ghanaians if they make the mistake of electing him.
Akufo-Addo: You dey go k3k3!
Bernard: Mrs Rawlings, you have five minutes
Nana Konadu: Thank you very much. The economy is working for only Mahama and his NDC colleagues. The rest of us are living in hell. While we are suffering, they are buying private jets and building mansions. Where do they get the money to do that from? What happened to probity and accountability? The only way to turn things around is to vote out this corrupt NDC administration and elect the National Democratic Party for a transparent and inclusive government that will care for all Ghanaians.
Nduom: The NDC and the NPP have failed us. For over 20 years, these two parties have destroyed this country with their incompetent policies. Several businesses have collapsed because of the high cost of doing business and unfair competition. The rough economic terrain simply made it impossible to continue running such businesses.
It is only the Ghanaian unrelenting spirit that has kept some businesses alive in spite of very high levels of taxes, interest rates, and the difficulties government institutions put in the way of business. This has to stop and it is only the Edwumawura who can fix it. Vote for Papa Kwesi Nduom and I’ll bring back your jobs and transform the Ghanaian economy into the biggest in Africa.
Greenstreet: Did I hear Nana Akufo-Addo says he will introduce “one district, one factory” if he wins? Why didn’t the NPP do it when they were in power? In fact, what did the NPP do when they were in power? For eight years, the NPP…
Akufo-Addo: I don’t understand why Greenstreet keeps talking about NPP. The NPP has been out of power for eight years. Why won't he focus on the NDC, which currently has the mandate…
Greenstreet: No. No. No. The NPP and NDC are the same! Don’t tell us you’ll bring change, because the reason we got rid of you in 2008 is because you didn’t perform. It is time for Ghanaians to give another party the chance to show what it can do, and that party should be the CPP. If Ghanaians give us the opportunity, we won’t disappoint. We will develop Ghana like our first president Kwame Nkrumah did.
Bernard: A round of applause for our candidates as we move to the next segment on corruption.
Bernard: Everyone agrees that corruption is huge problem for the country. Some development analysts have identified corruption as the single biggest threat to development in Ghana. What can we do to win the fight against corruption?
This time, Nana Addo goes first.
Akufo-Addo: (Laughs). I’m just wondering what Mahama will say about corruption, because we all know him. He is the founder of corruption in this country; he is the founder. He founded corruption! And now the country….
Mahama: This is outrageous! How am I the founder of corruption when even your party leader, Kufuor, said corruption started from Adam…
Akufo-Addo: Can I be allowed to make my point?
Bernard: Please, Mr President, you’ll have the chance to respond.
Mahama: Very well.
Bernard: Nana, please go ahead.
Akufo-Addo: Mahama presided over this country’s biggest every corruption scams in GYEEDA, SADA and SUBA. The Smarrtys bus branding scandal is another example of the corrupt schemes that have been engineered by the Mahama administration. If the good Ghanaian people elect me to serve as president in December, I’ll appoint a special prosecutor to investigate some of these criminal schemes. I’m an incorruptible man; I’ve never engaged in any corrupt act. As president, I’ll lead by example and eradicate corruption in this country. I promise you that my wife will not award contracts when I become president. Also, I won’t accept a Ford vehicle as bribe.
Bernard: Mr Nduom, you have five min….
Mahama: I have to respond to Akufo-Addo.
Bernard: Do it in two minutes, please.
Mahama: Akufo-Addo has no right to talk about corruption. He should tell us where his party’s missing $2 million Ecobank money is. Where is the Ecobank money? If you cannot fight corruption in your own party, why should we trust you to protect the national purse?
Look, no government has fought corruption than this government. We have exposed several corruption cases and disciplined corrupt public officials. I asked my former transport minister to send in her resignation over the Smarrtys case. We exposed the national service directors who tried to rip the country off. The difference between John Mahama and the NPP is that I expose corruption, while they conceal it.
Bernard: Mr Nduom, your turn.
Nduom: As a country, we must rein in corruption quickly. We need a very credible and honest party to do this job. The NDC and the NPP cannot the job done, because corruption is in their DNA. Only Papa Kwesi Nduom and the PPP can do it. We have an anti-corruption action plan and we hope that Ghanaians give us the chance to put this plan into action.
Greenstreet: The corruption problem is real and it puts our country at risk. I agree with everything Nduom said, except the part where he said only his party can fix the problem. He is wrong on that one because it’s only the CPP that can do it. And we promise Ghanaians that if they vote us into office, we will start fighting corruption on the very first day.
Nana Konadu: There has never been a government as corrupt as this current NDC government. That is why my husband is not campaigning for them. This current government is a government of Mahama and friends. That’s why Ghanaians are facing serious hardships. If Ghanians vote for the NDP, we will restore the principles of probity and accountability to our politics. We’ll form an inclusive government that will work for all Ghanaians, and not just a few corrupt people.
Bernard: I thank all our candidates for participating in this debate.
Bernard: That brings to an end this year's IEA presidential debate. We thank the University of Ghana for having us. The decision is now up to Ghanaians to elect who they think is the best of these candidates. Thanks to our audience and viewers at home for being with us. Good night.
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