Mr Paul Twum Barimah, the New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s Parliamentary candidate for Dormaa East Constituency, has withdrawn from participating in a Parliamentary debate to be organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in the constituency.
The NCCE scheduled Friday November 27, for the debate between the NPP and NDC Parliamentary candidates in the constituency, to be held at Wamfie, the constituency capital.
But, according to Mr Barimah December 7, polls were close and he could not get time for the debate.
“The NCCE called and informed me about the debate last week, but I declined to participate because the general election is closer.
“I needed to prepare well for the debate, but the call came on a short notice and there is nothing I can do about it. Campaign has already gathered momentum”, he told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview.
“I have no problem with communication and sharing ideas, and talking to the people. I have been a media person before, but my brother you agree with me the time for our election is very short” he added.
That notwithstanding, Mr Emmanuel Hinneh, the Dormaa East District Director of NCCE told the GNA on the side-lines of a meeting of an Inter Party Advisory Committee dialogue held at Wamfie, that the commission would continue with debate.
He explained the debate would enable the parliamentary candidates to highlight their plans and visions and empower the people to make informed choices during the elections.
The meeting discussed Article 35 (9) of the 1992 Constitution and goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
Discussions were further centered on topics such as citizenship, who’s a Ghanaian, the rights and responsibilities of citizens before, during and after the elections stating some outreach and sensitisation programmes on the elections have also been held at some churches in the area.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Francis Akwasi Asante, the Dormaa East District Police Commander advised political party agents to cooperate with security personnel to maintain law and order.
He entreated them to seek clarification on issues pertaining to the elections only from the EC officials. “This is better, rather than to take the law into your own hands to operate on ignorance and misunderstanding,” he added.
DSP Asante also urged political activists to desist from acting on baseless and unsubstantiated information, which had the potential to trigger violence and disturb the peace of the area and warned that the police would not tolerate any misconduct at the polling stations but deal with all trouble makers.
Nana Appiah Kubi Frimpong, the Dormaa East District Electoral Officer, underscored the need for political party activists to ensure peace prevailed at the polls saying ”where there is violence, confusion and mayhem this turn to scare and disenfranchise voters and curtailed their rights to vote”.
He cautioned political party followers from exerting undue influence on voters to win their ballots in the voting day saying voters had their right to secret balloting.
Mr Moses Adomako, the Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Committee, expressed optimism that the upcoming elections would be violence-free considering the level of preparation, efforts and commitment of all stakeholders.
The Inter-party Advisory Committee comprises 24 members drawn from various institutions in the District.