Presidential Debate was torture – Public servant

A public servant, Mr Raphael Boadu, said on Thursday that the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was unscientific when it kept the four presidential candidates on their feet for almost four hours when it held a debate for them at Tamale last Monday.

President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Abu Sakara of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mr Hassan Ayariga of People’s National Convention (PNC) and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (NPP) took part in the marathon debate.

The event was for presidential candidates whose political parties have representation in parliament and drew to the Northern Regional capital the top brass of the NDC, CPP, PNC and the NPP.

Mr Boadu was among a cross section of people the GNA interviewed on their reaction to the debate as far as its duration was concerned. The 55-year-old public servant said he was surprised the IEA, made up of top class professionals, kept the presidential candidates, the President and three potential presidents, on their feet for such a long time when those who were throwing questions at them were comfortably seated.

He said the youngest presidential candidate is 40 years old and the oldest is 68 and they have been running round the country campaigning which energy is sapping. “It is absolutely wrong to keep them standing, rooted to one spot, for almost four hours when they could have been made to sit down comfortably. I am sure some of them went home with swollen feet,”

Mr Boadu said. Mr Mohamed Gariba, a businessman, said he was surprised the debate lasted more than three hours and he did not understand why the IEA, made up of seasoned professionals, could keep elderly people on their feet for such a long time.

“The IEA has a retired senior officer of the Ghana Armed Forces as a member and he is aware of highly trained soldiers collapsing on parade grounds. May be, the IEA wanted some of the candidates to collapse,” he said.

A journalist said he regarded the debate as a torture session for the candidates and wondered how President Mahama, Dr Sakara, Mr Ayariga and Nana Akufo-Addo kept their focus for almost four hours, answering questions from “archeology to zoology.”

The journalist, who wants to remain anonymous, said he went to bed before the debate ended and added “If I, a journalist, could not sit through a programme related to my profession, then there was something wrong with the programme.”

He said the debate would have no effect on the December 7 election and walked down memory lane to the 2008 debate. In that debate, he went on, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, then presidential candidate of the CPP, was outstanding but his performance at the poll and that of the party the late President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah founded is now history.

A medical officer told the GNA that if he were a presidential candidate he would withdraw from the rest of the debate because it would not serve any purpose. “Those cracking their tired brains to answer questions should be comfortable and not the lady and the gentleman asking the questions,” he said.

He said the lady Professor was too hard on the audience, almost treating them like school boys and girls in a classroom. He said it was a political event and the candidates were there with their supporters and the top brass of their parties.

Therefore, the audience would sometimes clap to encourage them and as a reminder that they were there for them. “There was nothing wrong with the clapping and I do not believe the clapping distracted the candidates. They are politicians and politicians love noise, they are used to noise,” he said.

Source: GNA

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