Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Daboase (WR), Oct. 31, GNA - A debate for Parliamentary Candidates in the Wassa East Constituency came to an abrupt end following a rumpus that occurred after one of the contestants questioned the time allotted to the incumbent Member of Parliament, Mr. Isaac Adjei-Mensah,
The moderators for the debate allotted six minutes to the MP to answer three questions posed to him by the constituents, but Mr. Samuel Gidi, the Parliamentary Candidate for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) disagreed with them, insisting that the moderators were giving undue advantage to the incumbent to campaign.
The situation worsened when the MP passed a comment that he wondered why “half-baked graduates” did not understand issues.
The MP’s comment drew massive protest from the supporters and sympathisers of Mr. Gidi thus, compelling Mr. Andrew Acquah, the District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), after consultation with the Police and other security personnel at the venue, to halt the debate.
The debate, held at the Daboase Community Centre, on Thursday, in the Western Region, was to provide a platform for the parliamentary candidates in the area to interact and share their vision with their constituents.
Mr. Acquah told the GNA in an interview that initially the moderators wanted members of the public to ask the candidates general questions, but some of them asked specific questions directed at the MP; therefore, they decided to allow him six minutes to answer the questions without any prejudice to the rest of the candidates.
The debate was jointly organised by the NCCE and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observes (CODEO) in partnership with the Ghana News Agency, Citi FM and EIB Network.
It was supported by the European Union and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The debate was held under the theme: “Election 2016: Promoting Issue-based Debate and Post-Election Accountability.”
Mr. Adjei-Mensah, also a Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, represented the National Democratic Congress, while Mr. Wilson Arthur, was the New Patriotic Party’s representative.
Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Acquah, explained the objectives of the debate and urged the electorate to co-exist peaceful irrespective of one’s political orientation, and to devoid their campaigns of violence and personality attacks.
Mr. Adusei Baaye, the Western and Central Regional Coordinator for CODEO in charge of the debate, said since 2004, it had been organising parliamentary debates in the various constituencies across the country.
These were to highlight policy issues affecting marginalised groups, especially women, the youth and Persons with Disability, in order to shape campaign messages and address pertinent concerns, he said.
The parliamentary candidates answered questions on job creation, mass spraying of the cocoa, fertilizer distribution programme, oil and gas governance, inadequate health and education facilities in the area and other pertinent issues affecting the progress of the citizenry.