Ghana: Nduom Went for Populism - Arthur Kennedy

The Director of Communications for the Nana Addo Campaign Team, Dr. Kwabena Arthur-Kennedy has described the style of debate by the Presidential candidate of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, during the first Presidential debate organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), as populist politics rather than of substance and visionary leadership.

According to Dr. Arthur Kennedy, Dr. Nduom took refuge under the development agenda of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and kept making outdated references to the vision, whilst he as a consultant to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), advised the divestiture of over 300 State enterprises.

He said the populist style adopted by Dr. Nduom was to get Ghanaians attention and to create the impression that the 2008 general election was not a two horse race between the two major parties of the NPP and NDC.

Dr. Arthur Kennedy faulted the CPP presidential candidate of making an incomplete statement about the success story of Korea.

Speaking to this paper in an interview yesterday on phone, he said it was unfortunate that Dr. Ndoum, who has been part of the success story of the NPP would beat a retreat and ask Ghanaians to vote for CPP. "If there is a failure or success, he is part of the government."

According to Dr. Kennedy, Nana Akufo-Addo has been able to tell his good story to Ghanaians and to confirm to the people that indeed he was the front-runner, even though he was sandwiched by his political opponents.

Dr. Kennedy did not see the reason behind Nduom's constant reference to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah when the nation was yearning for a forward match.

To him, when the CPP candidate was given the privilege of the IEA platform to promote his vision and sell himself to Ghanaians, he virtually was pervasively making references to the US, Zimbabwe and South East Asia, and ended up by failing to articulate any alternative for the current development paradigm and record of achievements of the New Patriotic Party administration under John Agyekum Kufuor.

For a more serious programme of analytical thinking, Nduom appeared playing more to the gallery than addressing issues and selling himself as a visionary leader. Nduom, however, according to Dr. Kennedy wittingly affirmed the credentials of the ruling administration when he admitted that strides had been made by the Government to enhance the growth and development of the private sector. He also affirmed Government's deepening initiatives in promoting trade and integration of the economies of the ECOWAS nation States.

"Let it not seem as if nothing has happened on the part of the current administration to develop the private sector Strides have been made which need to be enhanced or transformed," he pointed out, making sporadic references to when Professor Evans Atta Mills and Dr. Edward Mahama attempted to shoot down the NPP administration for zero growth in manufacturing and agriculture, for example.

Nana Akufo-Addo, who appeared tenacious and calm, in spite of the combative posture adopted by all three 'opposition' Presidential candidates, however, was quick to remind Mills about the figures for growth in Agriculture and Industry.

Mills' cause may not have been helped either by his continuous lies and shooting down of NPP policies and achievements, rather than selling himself, and for which reason the IEA presented them with that platform.

Prof Mills' handlers also failed to keep him in cheerful spirits - for a leader perceived by political opponents, including elements in his own NDC, to be in poor state of health.

Besides, he looked too angry and weak on vision, spending all his energies attacking the ruling administration, whilst goofing on the boundless opportunities that lay in the exploit of nuclear energy for national development and the oil find.

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