Mahama’s media encounter must engender issue-based campaigning – Prof  Seidu Alidu 

By Benjamin A. Commey

Accra, July 08, GNA – Professor Seidu Alidu, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, has urged political parties and flagbearers to subject their policies and programmes to public scrutiny to enable the electorate to make informed decisions on December 7. 

He said that would also enable Ghanaians to seek clarification of policies and programmes for better understanding. 

Prof Seidu’s comment comes on the back of Mr John Dramani Mahama, flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) encounter with the media, on Sunday, July 7, during which the former President outlined his vision for the nation if re-elected. 

Key among the promises espoused by the former President are resetting the country within four years, instilling fiscal discipline, improving the free senior high school programme and ruthlessly tackling corruption by strengthening the Office of the Special Prosecutor. 

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on Monday, Prof Alidu lauded the former President, indicating that the initiative was a form of rendering account to the people. 

“I think it is a very good thing to do. Basically, it’s a kind of accountability measure that when you seek to lead the people you should submit yourself to their accountability.” 

Prof Alidu also explained that the former President’s move must encourage other flagbearers to  put before the public their policies for the country, adding that they must avail themselves to the public, particularly the media for scrutiny. 

That, he said, would ensure that such flag bearers were more circumspect in their promises, saying “..if every flagbearer in this country should organise such a thing and allow the media to question him, probe him, ask for clarification on some of the promises that they make on campaign platform or manifestos that they write, leaders would be very circumspective in just opening their mouth and saying anything because they know the media will keep you to account,” he stressed. 

Prof Alidu commended the flagbearer of the NDC on his responses to questions posed to him by journalists, saying it showed his (Mahama’s) level of experience. 

“I think overall, his responses to the questions were very apt. You could see that he had prepared for them and he responds in a manner that shows that he has experience. 

“Even, in cases where he wasn’t very sure about the procedure or what to do, even the way he will respond will let you know that he has the idea but he is not very specific about what to do…. So, I was very satisfied with the kind of responses he gave to the questions,” he added. 

On Mahama’s promise to reset the country in four years, Prof Alidu explained that the four-year tenure was too short for any president and for that matter government to make significant impact. 

He, however, urged the former President to build a strong foundation by taking bold decisions to address the numerous challenges facing the country, including illegal mining, depreciation of the cedi and corruption, for subsequent government to thrive. 

“I agree that four years is such a short time to achieve everything but you can also set the right foundation within four years for others to build on. When the NPP government came to power in 2017, most of the dividends that they had harvested in the first term of the presidency was as a result of the foundation that was laid by the previous NDC. 

“President Atta-Mills also benefited from a lot of foundation that was set up by President Kufuor and President Kufuor benefited from a lot of foundation that was set up by Jerry John Rawlings. So, that’s why we say governance is a continuity, it is continuous process,” he said. 

Prof Alidu added that: “We all know the issues. Sometimes it is the political will and commitment to confront these issues. That has always been our challenge. And I believe that if he thinks that he is doing one term without subject to renewal, he should be bold enough to tackle some of these challenges head-on and lay the foundation before he leaves.”