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15.11.2004 Education

Candidates place education high on agenda

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Tarkwa, Nov. 15, GNA -The development of education in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Constituency is high on the agenda of three of the five candidates contesting the Constituency's parliamentary seat at Election 2004.

The plans of the candidates include the giving of scholarships to needy but brilliant children, continuation projects in education and the establishment of a new secondary school and training college in the constituency.

The candidates: Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Solomon Kwabena Amoah of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Mr John Nyamekye Ansah-Mensah an Independent Candidate, stated their programmes for the Constituency at a Parliamentary Candidates Debate Forum, organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), at Tarkwa on Sunday.

The debate forum was to provide common platform for the candidates to articulate their programmes to the electorate for them to make informed choices of whom to represent then on Election Day, December 7, 2004.

The two other candidates, Mr John Ekow Armah of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), and Mr Sly Dick Ofori-Kay, an Independent Candidate were absent.

Mrs Kusi, who is also the incumbent Member of Parliament, seeking re-election, spoke on her achievements for the past three and half years, and said 70 per cent had been on education and health. She said under her leadership, the former Kwame Nkrumah University of Science School of Mines, now Western University College, became a full and autonomous university, a new mortuary was built at the Tarkwa Hospital, and the Wassa District was adopted for a pilot project to reduce child and maternal mortality.

Mrs. Kusi, who is also a professional medical sociologist, said she also saw to the putting up of 10 nursery schools, and an Education Fund from which, 15 students had benefited, championed the Safe Motherhood Life Education, adding that a sod would be cut for a new maternity ward at the Tarkwa Hospital next week.

She called on the electorate to judge her by her works and renew her mandate and return her to Parliament to continue her service to the people.

Mr. Amoah of the NDC, graduate teacher and former Chief Executive for Wassa West District, promised to tap the skills of all professionals and talents in the constituency to develop it.

He spoke of road projects, and a scholarship scheme, which were about to be functional before the NDC got out of office in 2001, and invited the people to vote for him, promising to co-operate with the Assembly and the constituents, without partisan considerations, to develop the constituency.

Mr Amoah said his vision was to ensure unity among the parties to develop the constituency.

He agreed on widening the tax net, along with adequate incentive to revenue collectors; increase the Scholarship Fund for the Wassa West District Assembly, adding that small-scale business people should form co-operatives to access credit facilities and market for their products.

The Independent Candidate, Mr. Ansah-Mensah said he would see to the establishment of a Teachers Training College; and a secondary school to admit more Junior Secondary School graduates, as well as build a new hospital for the Tarkwa community and raise Tarkwa from an urban to a municipal status.

Mr Ansah-Mensah, said aside being a Business and Public Administration Expert, he was also part of the Consultative Assembly, which drafted the 1992 Constitution, and promised to put his 30 years' experience from working with local and foreign organisations at the disposal of the constituency.

He said he would ensure that government payments due retrenched and pensioned workers of the Bonsa Tyre Company were honoured, reactivate the company, and see to the building of a modern stadium along the standards of the Len Clay Stadium at Obuasi.

The candidates agreed on election rather that the current Executive appointment of the District Chief Executive, and some members of the District Assembly to ensure accountability.

Mr. Ansah-Mensah suggested a constitutional amendment to clearly define the roles of the District Chief Executive and the MP to avoid tension and uneasiness in the discharge of their roles. Participants however, expressed different opinions, with Mr. Ansah-Mensah, stating that there was no need for an extra tax to cater for people living with AIDS.

He said there was already a total tax net of 15 per cent, and added that any tax to care for People Living With AIDS, should be made part of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Dr Kwesi Aning of the Africa Security Dialogue and Research, assisted by Dr Nicholas Amponsah of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Mrs. Nana Yaa Agyeman Boadi were the moderators of the debate.

Mr. Elvis Otoo, Programme Officer of CDD-Ghana explained that the Debate was part of the support programme of the CDD- Ghana, towards Election 2004, and it was being conducted in 25 selected constituencies, in all the 10 regions across the country.

He said factors such as newly created constituencies, where election was expected to be keen and where women were contesting, were considered in choosing the constituencies.

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