An overwhelming majority of Ghanaians interviewed by The Statesman have called for the holding of a debate involving all the presidential candidates of the political parties to provide an opportunity to assess the policies and personalities who wish to lead the nation come January 2005.
Of the 47 randomly selected individuals, including officials of some political parties, 41 called for the debate, 5 objected to it, while one did not swing either way, saying “presidential debate or not, my problems would not be solved.”
Others felt it was a waste of airtime because the die had already been cast. Some though Prof. Mills needed the debate like a man on a 12000ft freefall from an aircraft needed an umbrella: “He needs it. Kufuor doesn't. But would it help him?” queried an elderly pollster.
Following the holding of televised debates between John Walker Bush, President of the United States and Republican Party candidate, and John Kerry, Democratic Party candidate in this year's US presidential election, a lot of people have called for the holding of a similar debate involving presidential candidates in Ghana.
The Statesman, on Friday October 15 2004, conducted a random survey on whether there was the need to hold a presidential debate in Ghana, as is done in the United States, prior to the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections, or not.
A cross section of Ghanaians, from students, artisans, through to businessmen, were polled. The views of representatives of the New Patriotic Party, National Democratic Congress, National Reform Party, Convention Peoples Party, and Every Accountable Ghanaians Living Everywhere party, were also sought.
Various reasons were advanced for the holding of the debate. While students and teachers thought it would serve to educate the youth on the policies and programmes of the parties and thus inculcate in them democratic tendencies, businessmen and traders saw it as the best way to see which way the wind would blow the next four year, business-wise.
Another commonly expressed view was the use of the debate to test the oratorical skills of the various aspirants because, as a mechanic put it, “they will talk to other Presidents when they travel outside the country"