Kumasi, Nov. 22, GNA - All the five Parliamentary Candidates contesting the Asokwa Constituency Seat in Election 2004 on Sunday presented their programmes of development to the electorate at a forum at Ahensan, Kumasi, amidst the shouting of party slogans by the supporters of the candidates.
The candidates were Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, who is contesting on the ticket of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP); Mr Ismael Butler for the National Democratic Congress (NDC); Mr Peter Amankwa for the Convention People's Party; Mr Mahama Nyaba for the People's National Convention (PNC), and Mr Kobina Amoo-Aidoo, an Independent Candidate.
The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) organised the forum as part of its election support programme for Election 2004. The debate forum was also to provide a common platform for the candidate to meet the electorate face-face to articulate their programmes for them to make informed choices of who to elect to represent them in Parliament.
The CDD-Ghana is organising such debates with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and the United States Agency for International Development in 25 selected constituencies in all the 10 regions across the country, based on issues posed by new constituencies, and where a keen contest was anticipated.
Mr Jumah promised to use his experience as a student's leader, teacher, and city mayor to make Asokwa Constituency a showpiece among all the other constituencies in Ghana.
He said the time he set for himself to serve as Chief Executive was up, and it was now time to move to another area to become a Member of Parliament (MP) for some one else to be the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE.
He said he would collaborate with the new MCE to develop the Constituency.
He cited the rehabilitation and expansion of major markets in the Metropolis as some of his achievements as well as the resettlement of residents of Dompoase, which had been used as refuse dumping site and the use of the refuse to generate electricity.
The NDC candidate, Mr Butler asked the electorate not be swayed by words but judge the performance of the NPP and vote it out of power and replace it with the NDC to enable it to revive and continue with all development projects that had been stalled since the NDC went out of power in 2000.
Mr Butler promised to make the environment his primary concern, and added that he would rehabilitate the drainage system from Kejetia to Kaase.
Mr Amankwa of the CCP promised to make the youth and their employment his concern and said he would advocate the building of stores for the traders whose kiosks had been demolished by the City Authorities.
The PNC Candidate, Mr Nyaba said the Party would revive the policies of the Nkrumah regime and give equal opportunities for the education of both the rich and the poor.
He advocated a return to traditional puberty rites and a test for HIV before marriage to check the spread of the disease. Mr Amoo Aidoo, the Independent Candidate, said he was in for women and children and promised to give free education to children at the basic school level with funds from special contributions from industries in the Constituency, Donors and from his own resources.
Earlier, Dr Kwesi Aning of Africa Security Dialogue and Research, who was assisted by Dr Nicholas Amankwa, of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, to moderate the Debate, apologised to the candidates over an opening prayer from a member from the audience for God to preserve the current government. The woman who prayed also called on the audience never to stop supporting the NPP.
Dr Aning explained that the forum was not for political sloganeering, and called on supporters of the political parties to be civil in their campaigns because the crises in war-troubled countries in the West Africa Sub-Region started from election issues.