Prime News Ghana

Mahama's debate call was dead on arrival - Baako

By Jeffrey Owusu-Mensah
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako
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President John Mahama's challenge to New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for a one-on-one debate was dead even before it was uttered, Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has stated.

President Mahama last Thursday during an interview on Volta Star Radio as part of his campaign tour of the Volt Region reiterated his willingness to engage in a debate with Nana Addo saying, "debates are very yes I still stand by the challenge I threw".

A similar call by him in March, this year  that he would like a one-on-one debate to clear up some "contentious statements" made by Nana Addo was conditionally accepted by the NPP flagbearer who stated on Twitter at the time that he was "ready to debate President Mahama anytime, anywhere and any day if the debate was going to solve Ghana's problems".

However, last Thursday's call has been rebuffed by the NPP who deem it the challenge hypocritical and insincere rhetoric.

In an interview on Citi FM after President Mahama's call, Spokesperson for Nana Akufo-Addo, Mustapha Hamid stated that, “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”.

"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”, Mr Hamid added.

But according to Mr Baako, considering the timing, President Mahama's call for a "one-on-one debate is dead on arrival".

"Ideally, I'd like us to have the debate, but now, it will be a waste of time", he stated.

Speaking on Joy FM's news analysis show, Newsfile on Saturday, he said besides the timing, the premise for President Mahama's call was wrong because "a debate must be on all the issues, but he [Mahama] seems to have singled out particular issues to be debated".

He also did not understand why the NDC would boycott the IEA's proposed debates only for President Mahama to turn around and call for such a debate at this time.

"The IEA said that there was an increasing call for a debate between President Mahama and Nana Addo but the NDC  fought it and said IEA should go back to the drawing board and publically apologise President Mahama for suggesting a one-on-one debate, so why this now?", he questioned.

He, however, expressed his disappointment in the inability of the NPP flagbearer to appear on the IEA platform.

"The NPP kept giving their manifesto as an excuse on three different occasions but there is no letter to the IEA to that effect. I am disappointed that the NPP and Nana Addo did not come onto the IEA platform", he said.