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It is strange Nana Addo is nervous of debate with Prez Mahama - Dep Minister

By Jeffrey Owusu-Mensah
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Deputy Minister for Communications, Felix Kwakye Ofosu has described as strange, the refusal of New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to accept a challenge from President John Mahama to engage him in a one-on-one debate.

President Mahama in an interview in March, this year on TV3's morning show declared his readiness face Nana Addo in a debate to clear up some "contentious comments" the latter had made.

’I'm willing, even this afternoon, if Nana presented himself, to take him on all those contentious statements that he’s made", he said.

Nana Addo in a reply on Twitter conditionally accepted the challenge saying he was "ready to debate President Mahama anytime, anywhere and any day if the debate was going to solve Ghana's problems".

Seven months after, President Mahama has repeated his challenge insisting that "debates are very important...so yes I still stand by the challenge I threw ," the President who has been branded a communication expert, said.

Speaking in an interview on GBC's Volta Star Radio as part of his campaign tour of the Volta Region, he stated there is so much misinformation being thrown about by his opponents and a debate presents a good opportunity to straighten things.

"If we have a one-on-one debate, we will all have our figures and Ghanaians will be able to see who is telling the truth," he explained.

His challenge this time has been rebuffed by the Akufo-Addo camp who believe his challenge is just hypocritical and insincere rhetoric.

According to Spokesperson for the NPP flagbearer, Mustapha Hamid, if President Mahama's call was that serious, he would have officially written to the NPP about the matter by now.

“If you want to challenge somebody to a debate, you write to him, the presidential candidate, New Patriotic Party… you write a letter, then you sign it, then it is delivered then we give you a response. Then based on our response you can go to the public and say; I invited them to a debate and they didn’t come”, he explained.

He cited the NDC's earlier boycott of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) debate as further proof that President Mahama was just being insincere and hypocritical.

"The IEA said that they had a timetable for presidential debates. He said that he was not interested in that so at what point did he realise that debates are suddenly interesting. So this is hypocritical, it is not sincere.”

But speaking on Citi FM on Friday, the Deputy Minister of Communication though "engaging Nana Addo in a debate is not President Mahama's topmost priority, it is strange that he [Nana Addo] is nervous about meeting him [Mahama]in a debate".

According to him, the NDC was not seeking to organise a debate but want a neutral and fair platform to organise it

"Is the IEA the only platform that can organise presidential debates in the country?", he retorted, maintaining that, "the IEA are not neutral because they have been compromised".