The Centre for Social Democracy (CSD-Ghana) in partnership with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is to organize pre-election candidate debates for aspirants in the upcoming NDC National Executive Elections.
The novelty, which starts on Wednesday, October 17, seeks to promote a healthy competition among aspirants to explicitly explain their idea to delegates and also engender internal democracy within the NDC.
The members of the Debate Advisory Board are Mr Lee Ocran, Professor Jane-Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, Dr. Michael Kpessah-Whyte, and Dr. Zenator Rawlings.
Speaking at the launch of the debate in Accra on Monday, Mr Michael Nii Abbey, Programmes Coordinator at FES Ghana, said the debate sought to test the leadership capabilities of contestants and their ability to hold their own against one another and communicate coherent ideas in connection with the thematic issues.
He noted that it would test the candidate’s composure under pressure and ability to articulate their thoughts, to the rank and file of the Party
Mr Abbey said the debate, would test the ability of candidates on characteristics including meanness of spirit, ability to listen, willingness to improvise, humour and goodwill.
“The debate will not place a premium on articulateness. This is because not all well-spoken candidates, who could speak most clearly and most quickly, think more clearly,” he said.
“There are many people who think clearly but speak slowly while acting quickly; this debate is equally interested in such candidates. It seeks to unravel the ability of candidates to withstand the challenges of the position they are seeking.”
Touching on the partnership, he stated that participation in the debate would be strictly by invitation and that the Debate Technical Committee of CSD would work out the modalities for the debate and would be validated by the Debate Advisory Board.
He said to reach many people the debate would be widely publicized via radio, televised and streamed live on Facebook.
Mr Abbey recalled that globally, pre-election candidate debates were becoming an integral part of democracy and that over sixty countries across the world had developed a debate tradition.
Mr Bede Ziedeng, Acting Director of Elections of the NDC, said the Party, as a social democracy, was in the process of reorganization and rebranding toward Election 2020.
He said, “Elections sometimes turned acrimonious and was easy for a contestant to involve issues that were not essential to the campaign. Since the Party was formed in 1992 it had not organised internal debate such as this. This is a novelty that we have embraced”.