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Source: citifmonline. com - The Incumbent Member of Parliament for the Asutifi South Constituency, Alhaji Collins Dauda, and the Parliamentary Candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Raymond Kofi Dankwah, on Friday failed to turn up for a 2016 parliamentary debate. 
The debate was organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), with support from the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and Coalition for Domestic Elections Observers (CODEO), and its partner organizations towards next month’s general election at Hwidiem in the Asutifi South Constituency of the Brong Ahafo Region. The debate was to provide a platform for the parliamentary aspirants to outline their vision to the constituents. 

A similar debate organized by the local council of Churches in the area two weeks ago, was also boycotted by the NDC, CPP and the PNC. 

According to the organizers, all necessary consultations and discussions were done; and therefore expressed surprise and disappointment at the absence of the NDC and CPP at the event. 

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary aspirant for the constituency, Cecilia Gyan Amoah, and the People’s National Convention’s (PNC) parliamentary aspirant, Adu Samuel, who participated in the programme answered questions on the Economy, Education, Health, Corruption, Disability and Oil and Gas sector amongst others. 

The NPP parliamentary candidate in a remark, said education, health, agriculture and job creation was her priority areas, and appealed to electorates to vote massively for the NPP in the upcoming elections, to enable her execute her vision to bring development to the area. He noted that the NPP was the only party with the antidote to the country’s unemployment situation with its policy on industralisation. 

On his part, the PNC candidate tasked electorates to cast their votes for a peaceful leader who is focused on development. He touted his credentials as an educationist and a development worker, as a sure way to woo investors in the area to create job opportunities to reduce poverty. 

The Hwidiemhene, Osudumgya Barimah Appiah Dwae Boafo II, in a speech read on his behalf by Nana Gyimah Karikari II, commended organizers for the programme, and hoped it will afford residents the opportunity to demand and track politicians on their promises. 

He tasked the aspirants to conduct their campaigns in peace without insults or intimidation. 

This, according to him, will ensure that candidates highlight only their strengths and priority projects, and tasked electorates to ignore and vote out candidates who insult or cause trouble in the constituency. 

He expressed disappointment with the absence of the NDC and CPP, and appealed to the organizers to conduct deeper consultation with all parties and stakeholders to ensure a smooth conduct of subsequent debates. 

In his welcome address, Nana Hagan of CODEO Secretariat, disclosed his outfit in collaboration with CDD-Ghana, has conducted the debate since 2004, to afford parties the opportunity to highlight policy issues affecting the society. 

He said the main interest of the organizers was to help make the 2016 election campaign issue-based and less of personality driven attacks, addressing issues that affect the lives of the people, and reduce the situation where campaigning is full of insults and intimidation of political opponents. 

The debate, which is happening nationwide, has been organized in Banda, and similar ones will be organized for Kintampo South and Tano South early next week.


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