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23.11.2004 Politics

CDD continues organising forums for candidates

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Kumasi, Nov. 23, GNA - Supporters of Parliamentary candidates contesting the Bantama Constituency Seat on Sunday booed and jeered at the aspirants as they took turns to explain their programmes at a forum held Kumasi on Sunday.

Dr Kwesi Aning of the African Security Dialogue and Research, who moderated the debate with Dr Nic Amponsah of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, at various times had to cut in, with the assistance of the Police, to bring to order noisy supporters of New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Convention People's Party (CPP), who gathered at the Kumasi Cultural Centre to listen to the candidates, to order.

He warned the gathering, which turned rowdy intermittently with scenes of near fights, that the forum would end abruptly if they did not comport themselves.

The aspirants were Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah of the NPP, Alhaji Alhassan Baba of the NDC and Mr Yaw Owusu Boafo of the CPP. The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), with funding from the Open Society Initiative of West Africa and United States Agency for International Development, organized the forum for the candidates, as part of its support programmes to Election 2004.

The Bantama Constituency Debate was one of the debates the CDD-Ghana was organising in 25 selected constituencies across 10 regions of Ghana to provide a common platform for the parliamentary candidates to meet the electorate face-to-face and articulate their programmes on issues of concern to the constituents.

Madam Dapaah, who is a Special Assistant to President John Agyekum Kufuor, observed that doing politics was not a fight, and called on the people to get united to develop the Constituency.

She said she would jointly work with the traditional authority, opinion leaders and classmates' unions and Bantama Citizens in the Diaspora, promising to hold a durbar every three months in the constituency to discuss her work in Parliament and concerns of the Constituency.

Alhaji Baba, contesting on the ticket of the NDC, promised the electorate "qualitative change" in the development of the Constituency and called on the people to be united to move the Constituency forward. "Parties will come and go, we all have to remain united," he said. As Assemblyman for Bohyen for eight years, Alhaji Baba also promised to use his lobbying skills in Parliament and added that he would continue to offer his garage available for the training of the youth to keep them out of the streets.

He promised to tackle sanitation and called on the people to ensure peace in the area for its development.

Mr Owusu Boafo of the CPP said he had been ordained by God to lead the Constituency in Parliament after the elections, adding "now is the turn of the CPP to lead the constituency after NDC had ruled for eight years and the NPP, four years."

He promised to make education, which he said was the main panacea and key to providing solution to all the social and economic problems of the Constituency a priority. He promised to organize supplementary classes for all final year students in junior secondary schools and senior secondary schools in the Constituency.

Mr Owusu Boafo also promised to collaborate further with the Assembly to modernize educational institutions.

All the candidates stressed the need for continued education, abstention and protection against the deadly HIV/AIDS. They also pledged their support for the notion of the District Chief Executive to be elected rather than appointed to ensure accountability to the people.

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