Accra, April 22, GNA - The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on Thursday outlined a number of electoral and political activities tailored to support the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in December.
The activities include a Presidential Debate to enable the country entrench the culture of open public debate in the democratic system and Parliamentary Candidates' Forum to enable aspiring Members of Parliament to engage the electorate in a structured format for effective communication.
Dr Baffour Agyeman-Duah, Associate Executive Director of CDD-Ghana outlined the activities at a media briefing in Accra on Thursday. He said the programme is aimed at improving the policy content of the electioneering campaign and provide voters with meaningful policy choices.
Dr Agyeman-Duah said the CDD-Ghana would work in collaboration with Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), TV3, Global Media Alliance and Friedrich Nuamann Foundation (FNF) to host parliamentary debates in 20 constituencies to be selected from the 230 seats through out the country.
He said all candidates contesting parliamentary seats in the 20 constituencies would be invited to a platform to face the public and discuss policy issues with the electorate and clarify their campaign messages.
Dr Agyeman-Duah said they would also be expected to educate the people on several development issues with particular reference to HIV/AIDS, education, decentralization and accountability. Other activities includes; Pre-Election Monitoring, which would involve the training and deployment of civil society observers throughout the country to observe and report on the conduct of political parties and their candidates as well as instance of abuse of incumbency by the ruling party.
Dr Agyeman-Duah said the observers would also monitor electoral administration to provide an accurate account of the process and help to prevent violence and other electoral malpractices between June and December.
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CEDEO) would also be revived and enlarged for Election Day Observation.
The Centre would also undertake a Research and Advocacy on the Party Funding to reinforce national efforts adding, "This activity would seek to promote effective and meaningful ways to finance political parties to ensure the survival of multiparty politics in the country."
Dr Agyeman-Duah appealed to the Electoral Commission, National Commission for Civic Education and non-governmental organizations and civic groups to work tirelessly to ensure another free, fair and transparent elections, "given the centrality of credible elections in peaceful democratic development of our dear nation."
He also urged the media, political parties, civil society groups and the public to place a high premium on the achievements of Ghana so far to entrench democracy in the body politic.
Dr Agyeman-Duah said: "We enjoin all fellow Ghanaians to demonstrate at all times a commitment to ensuring transparency, fairness, political tolerance and other values that will keep our democracy on course".
Mrs Ajoa Yebaoh-Afari, GJA President urged media practitioners to be conscious of their role as nation builders which must be reflected throughout their reportage.
She expressed concern about recent factual inaccuracies of political reportage and appealed to practitioners to be circumspect, exercise decorum and to respect the sensibility of the Ghanaians. Mr Ernst Specht, Country Director of FNF said the foundation seeks to contribute towards strengthening of liberal leadership especially amongst the youth, women and students.
He said, "as a Country Director, for me it becomes increasingly essential to stress that liberal values and politics are the cornerstones for democratic, economic and social development.
"Only the individual freedom enables the citizen to take over responsibilities, for himself, family, community and country," he added. 22 April 04