The whole point of a political debate is to present critical and concise argument of a position or policy, have them questioned by others, and defend them when questioned.
In the process, you explain to the electorate HOW and WHY what you are selling to them is of better qualities than what your opponents are hawking.
In general, you can expect that the whole debate will last between 90 minutes and two hours, tops.
With over 10 ego-driven, self-important, larger-than-life Presidential aspirants, some of whom may be so enamoured of their own voice and importance that they will frequently forget to stop talking when required, how can we have any meaningful debate, when we decide that, we should parade all of them on one stage?
In 2008, when Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, was the presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), he won, at least based on the objective discussion of national issues in the estimation of Ghanaians, the presidential debate organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
It will be recalled that in 2012, Dr. Abu Sakara, who also represented the CPP, won the debate, but his performance after the ballot was abysmal to the say the least.
The question is, what then is the rationale in lining all presidential candidates, when we know the election is a two horse race, between the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
I zeroed in on Dr. Nduom, because among all the presidential candidates, he is the only person, I have heard take issues with the IEA, describing their action as undemocratic.
I would like to believe that Dr. Nduom and his Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) know the difference between a debate and a speech or press conference, asking that, we give equal opportunity to all candidates, could reduce the debate to ridicule.
Sometimes, it is better to call a spade a spade, instead of a digging tool. Ghanaians have had enough of the cacophony that informs the utterances of some candidates. They insult our democracy and make mockery of it.
How can I separate those people from Dr. Nduom? It is hard to do that because, although he is a better candidate, his party has failed to make even one percent of the votes.
Benard Mornah, also spoke on behalf of the People’s National Convention (PNC), as usual he always sung the song of the victim, crying like a child, who has seen a friend with a candy.
Since 1992, the PNC, have taken part in every election, I do not recall the party making past two percent of the valid votes cast. In fact the fortunes of the party have dwindled, with over four Members of Parliament (MPs) , to just a single member, a seat they are losing on November 7.
If PNC, want to be taken serious and considered a major player in the electoral discourse, the party must first increased it representation in parliament, as well as the number of presidential votes, it is only then that, they can be considered a force to reckon with.
Talk is cheap and that is all the so-called smaller parties are doing, whilst, the bigger and formidable parties are out there canvassing for votes, they sit in Accra and do nothing.
Bernard Mornah, your party PNC in 2012, made the debate lose it relevance when your then presidential candidate, Hassan Ayariga, made fun of the whole debate.
If I am IEA, my criteria for which political party qualifies to take part in the debate, will be a straight forward one, make 15 percent or more of the valid votes cast, before you can be considered.
The fact that, the Electoral Commission (EC), gives a blank cheque to every Tom, Dick and Harry to form a political parties, does not mean that, a private entity like the IEA, must do same, when it comes to its activities.
The PNC, want to play with the big boys, they want to be given a seat at the high table, yet the party has not or is not doing what is necessary to propel them and put them at par with the two major parties.
The baby tears and wanting to be treated equal won’t increase your votes.
The CPP, as I mentioned earlier performed well in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential debates, but the party failed to capitalize on that to increase their electoral fortune.
The votes of the party have been dwindling after every election; they have shown that, the debate means nothing to them, because if they do, the party will have taken advantage of 2008 and 2012.
The CPP is also crying foul for what I don’t know.
I perfectly agree with the IEA, it is this kind of motivation that, the smaller parties need to wake them up. Because by separating the men from the boys, they are made to understand that, in order to be considered in the big leagues, you need to work hard, by increasing your votes.
They have been treated with kid cloves and pampered for far too long.
Really what is the difference between the PNC, CPP, PPP, National Democratic Party (NDP), All Progressive Congress (APC), United Freedom Party (UFP), United Renaissance Party (URP), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), etc.
How many times, have any of these so-called smaller parties issued any statement or held a press conference on a national issue?
They are blown by the wind depending on which direction the NDC or NPP, want them blown. They exist because the two major political parties say so, yet after selling their conscience, they turn round and want to be treated like the big boys.
Dr. Nduom, should prepare to debate Akua Donkor, Bernard Mornah should prepare Dr. Edward Mahama to debate Odike that is caliber of persons they will be debating, not President John Dramani Mahama and Nana Addo.
What kind of democracy are we building, if we do not let the irrelevant political parties, know that they are irrelevant?
Which of them, can confidently say, they are a third force? Even the spoilt ballot we get at the end of every counting on Election Day, is more than all the votes of the smaller parties, put together.
They should give us a break.