Bye-Election: "Brofo" is a big issue
The campaign for the Odododiodio by-election, took a humourous turn yesterday when two of the four contestants, New Patriotic Party (NPP)'s Lennox Mankattah and Mr. Christian Shanco Bruce, the 64-year-old candidate for the Convention People's Party (CPP) clashed over the use of the English language.
The two were interviewed on an Accra based radio station so that each of them could give an account of what transpired at the Palladium Cinema hall on Tuesday, during the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)-organised forum for the four candidates contesting the August 30 by-election in the constituency.
Describing the action that triggered Mankattah's decision to walk out of the programme, Mr. Shanco Bruce explained that midway into Mankattah's delivery, "there were cheers and boos from the crowd which made Mankattah to froze, to freeze...and stop". He proceeded to tease the young man, stressing that he was going to offer him a full one-hour on Friday, August 26 to enable Mr. Mankattah to address the Odododiodio crowd. Replying, Mr. Mankattah insisted that Shanco Bruce is not the one to provide him a platform to speak to the people, since he is not afraid to face any crowd, anywhere in Ghana. "Whether I can speak English or not come September 3, 2005, English will be made", he said. He later corrected himself by stating that, "whether I can speak English or not, History will be made on September 3, 2005", meaning three days after the election.
He told Shanco Bruce thus, "you bring the whole crowd of Ghana, I shall face them."
Observers believe that the account of Shanco Bruce gave him away as someone rather whose mastery of the English language was suspect.
During the exchanges, Mankattah asked the CPP candidate what kind of language he expected him to speak.
"I am a church leader, who teaches, so I don't understand why you are saying I can't speak English fluently", he protested.
He then proceeded to show his level of knowledge and understanding of the English language to Shanco Bruce.
"My father was NDC, I'm NPP and I will make history on September 3", he emphasised.
When he called upon to give his comments on the development, a leading member of the NPP, Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe indicated, it was not necessary to make English an issue in the Odododiodio by-election since even the English man himself makes mistakes.
Hon. Kofi Attoh, a former Member of Parliament for Ho Central, contributing said although parliamentary debates are made in English, it should not be the sole consideration for voting for people to go to the August House. He said there are many MPs who hardly speak on the floor of Parliament but have made phenomenal impact, in seeing to the development of their constituencies, adding that "we should not use language as a barrier to people aspiring to go to Parliament.