Tarkwa (W/R), Nov. 16, 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 included the giving of scholarships to needy but brilliant children, continuation of educational projects and the establishment of a new senior 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 forum provided common platform for the candidates to articulate their programmes to the electorate, so that they could make informed choices of who to represent them on the day of the election, 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, spoke on her achievements during the past three-and-a-half years, and said 70 per cent of them, had been on education and health.
She said under her leadership, the former Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology 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 a Medical Sociologist, said she saw to the establishment of 10 nursery schools and an Education Fund, from which 15 students had benefited. She also championed the Safe Motherhood Life Education and added 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, Teacher and Former Chief Executive for Wassa West District Assembly, promised to tap the skills of all professionals and talents in the Constituency for its development.
He invited the people to vote for him, promising to unite 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 and agreed on widening the tax net, along with adequate incentive to revenue collectors and to increase the Scholarship Fund of the Wassa West District Assembly.
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 brand new hospital for the Tarkwa Community and raise Tarkwa from an urban to a municipal status.
Mr Ansah-Mensah said, aside of 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 of experience of working with local and foreign organisations at the disposal of the constituency.
All the candidates agreed on the election of District Chief Executives instead of the present system of appointing them to make them more accountable to the Assembly.
Mr Ansah-Mensah suggested a constitutional amendment to clearly define the roles of District Chief Executives and Members of Parliament to avoid tension and uneasiness in the performance of their roles. The candidates expressed divergent views on the imposition of a special tax to cater for People Living With HIV/AIDS.
Mr Ansah-Mensah 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 and Mrs Nana Yaa Agyeman Boadi moderated the debate. Mr Elvis Otoo, Programme Officer of CDD-Ghana, explained that the Debate was part of the support programme the CDD- Ghana was making towards Election 2004, and it was being conducted in 25 selected constituencies across the country.
He said factors like newly created constituencies, where elections were expected to be keen and where women were contesting were taken into consideration when choosing the constituencies.