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General News
IEA sets agenda for Election 2008 campaign 7/8/2008

Accra, July 8, GNA - The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA Ghana) on Tuesday outlined pro-active electioneering campaign benchmarks to guide the electorate to determine the choice of a President. Mrs Jean Mensa, IEA Ghana Administrator told the Ghana News Agency in Accra that the benchmarks were to ensure that the electorate understood the issues at stake, which had retarded progress over the last 51 years.

"We are compelled to raise questions about the approaches that have been adopted to solve the development problems of our nation, why after several years of structural adjustment programmes, economic recovery initiatives, debt forgiveness, liberalization and other interventions our infrastructure is still at the rudimentary stage." Mrs Mensa expressed concern that over the past 51 years, the railway network, water infrastructure and electricity infrastructure had expanded only marginally and questioned why the structure of the economy had not changed.

She urged the electorate to vote for forward-looking leaders who can take bold and sometimes unpopular initiatives in the interest of Ghana to further achieve growth.

The electorate, she said, should be able to select a leader that has the capability to find home grown solutions to the nation''s numerous social-economic problems.

"These are some of the difficult issues that confront us as we go into 2008 Election."

Mrs Mensa noted that the nation continues to depend largely on agriculture and the export of primary products, while the industrial sector remained weak and uncompetitive on the local and external markets.

"As a country we have constituted ourselves into distributors of goods manufactured from every corner of the world, thus exposing our manufacturing sector to unrestrained and unnecessary competition." She urged the electorate to demand from the flag bearers their strategy to transform agriculture from its present small-holder base - the hoe and the cutlass, that their grand fathers used in a country that relied on agriculture for its growth and employment to modernize system.

Mrs Mensa said the IEA''s evening encounters that were held for presidential aspirants offered the electorate the opportunity to determine which among the flag bearers was the most suitable for the high office of the President of Ghana.

"Through the platform, the IEA created an opportunity for the electorate to acquire inquisitive skills that would enable them to take ownership of the electoral process to demand accountability from politicians before they vote for them.

"Let me emphasise again that, the Evening Encounter is one of the various initiatives that we in the IEA plan to introduce into the Ghanaian body politic to consolidate and deepen multiparty democracy and good governance in Ghana."

Meanwhile, political parties which were not invited to participate in the Evening Encounter have expressed disquiet about the modality used by the IEA to deny them the opportunity to sell their policies to the electorate.

The Democratic Freedom Party, New Vision Party, Democratic Peoples Party and Great Consolidated Popular Party - said the IEA Encounter, designed to enable only flag bearers of political parties with representation in Parliament to outline their visions, was discriminatory.

In separate interviews with Ghana News Agency, leading members of the parties, while commending the IEA for the initiative, suggested the removal of the clause that debarred parties without representation in parliament from taking part.

"We must all be given an equal playing field to campaign," said DPP flagbearer Mr Thomas Ward-Brew.

They also called on the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Association of Ghana Industries, which created a platform for four flag bearers to outline their energy and business visions to extend the same facilities to all elected flag bearers.

Source: GNA

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