Our campaign discourse should be substantive and deliberative – Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has emphasized that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) campaign communication for election 2020 should be devoid of ethnocentrism, religion, mudslinging and gender biases.
Rather, the party’s campaigns should be based on a more substantive and deliberative discourse, where the competencies, records, output and achievements of the government are presented to the Ghanaian electorate for comparison with that of opponents.
The President made the call when he held a virtual meeting with members of his campaign communications advisory team on Sunday in Accra.
He is presently on a 14‐day precautionary isolation at the Presidential Villa in the Jubilee House as a result of a member of his inner circle testing positive for COVID-19. He is in his ninth day of seclusion though he tested negative to the disease.
President Akufo-Addo told the team that the December polls, being an historic one where an incumbent president and his predecessor went head to head in an election, demanded that the records of their tenure be laid bare before the people.
He pointed out that it was “absolutely critical” going into the December contest, that the NPP’s political discourse hinged on the comparison of records of his administration and that of his predecessor, in terms of the social and economic advancement of the country, and the quality of the leadership that they both provided during their time in government.
“We still have to ask ourselves who can manage the affairs of our country both in normal times and as well as in extraordinary time, like this last three or four months,” he stressed.
For the President, the quality of achievement of his government in the areas of health, education, infrastructure and the economy, had been one that had positively affected the country and the entirity of Ghanaians, an important message which the campaigns should reflect.
“There’s no part of Ghana that can say somehow or rather they’ve been left out of the programmes and development of this government….and that has to be very critical aspect of our outreach,” he said.
“Every nook and cranny can point to something we have done which matters to the people, whether it’s the establishment of schools, the enhancement of agriculture, or about the development of infrastructure; the water, roads….all these go into idea that our programme is meant to serve the generality of the people, and it’s important that we continue to stress that,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo was very emphatic that the party’s messages during the electioneering season should not at any material time rouse negative sentiments of any kind, or sully the political atmosphere.
“We have to do a campaign in Ghana which is not about where you come from. Whipping up ethnic sentiments has never helped this country and it will never help us…and we should be the very first to recognise this diversity, this mosaic of Ghanaian tapestry, which is full of so many different elements that comes together in the Ghanaian statement.
“We should be stressing the Ghana project. And in making the Ghana project, the other issues, whether you are a Moslem or Christian, shouldn’t be part of our discourse and clearly gender should also not be part of our discuss.
“We are looking at all times, records of competencies…so the discussion before the Ghanaian people should be a discussion about competencies, abilities, records, achievements, outputs. That is something that I would like us to stress very much,” he underscored.
The President also made clear that he had no agenda to deny any Ghanaian the right to determine who led the country, as was being bandied in certain quarters.
“All the talk about we have some tribal agenda, we want to disenfranchise people in the north and the Volta, I don’t understand where that is coming from.
“It is deliberate, it’s artificial anyone who knows the mechanics of Ghana, knows that it’s is artificial and is being done for short term artificial political gains and I’m not sure it’s a legitimate way of advancing a political agenda, and certainly it’s not one that I would want to promote,” he held.
President Akufo-Addo impressed on the team to push also the message for the compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols, noting that compliance to these set rules will determine the level of success of the fight against the pandemic.
“I think there is a need to continue stressing on the need for respecting the COVID protocols. We are in government and it is very important that, that aspect of our concern about the need for our people to be safe comes out positively in everything we say. People have to take the protocols seriously.”