Friday, November 28, 2008

Political leadership key for combating corruption

Ms Petra Maria Amegashie, Vice Presidential Candidate of the People's National Convention (PNC), on Friday identified political leadership as key for combating high-level corruption.
    "Dr Edward Nasigrie Mahama, PNC Presidential Candidate, has the capacity and will power to combat corruption irrespective of who ever commits it, strengthen anti-corruption agencies; adopt international acceptable norms, work in collaboration with international bodies such as the Integrity International and Amnesty International.
     "A PNC led government would also strengthen the security agencies and other allied bodies with the capacity to deal with corrupt officials," she said, adding; "Dr Mahama and myself would serve with dignity and integrity, set the standard for all the ministers, parliamentarians, civil society organizations and as well as public and civil servants". Ms Amegashie was speaking at the first-ever Vice Presidential Debate at Cape Coast.
     The Debate was on the general theme: "Strengthening the Pillars of Ghana's Democracy". The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) organised it for four political parties with representation in Parliament out of the seven parties contesting Election 2008.
     The other Candidates were: Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice Presidential Candidate of New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Foster Abu Sakara of Convention People's Party (CPP) and Mr John Dramani Mahama of National Democratic Congress (NDC).
     The debate among the aspiring Vice Presidential Candidate according to IEA was to create a platform for dialoguing, discussing issues and to maintain the electioneering campaign on issues that affected the general public.
     Ms Amegashie said PNC had demonstrated its commitment to promoting gender parity in governance by heeding the call of gender activists to become the first political party to consistently nominate a woman as a running mate.
      Answering question on education, Mrs Amegashie expressed reservation about the claim by both the NPP and NDC of being the architect of Ghana Education Fund (GETFund) and the National Health Insurance Scheme, explaining that they were the brainchildren of the PNC.
     She said the GETFund was captured in the PNC 1996 Election manifesto, while the NHIS was captured in Election 2000 manifesto, "unfortunately both governments failed to acknowledge and consult the PNC for experts' advice, a situation, which has led to the teething problems the programmes encountered".
     On which experiences impressed as well as those that depressed her most during her campaign tours over the past month, Ms Amegashie said: "I came face to face with high level of poverty; people living under dilapidated condition without potable water and electricity in spite of their contribution to national development.
      "I was saddened by the plight of people living at the slums even at the urban centres. I was, however, encouraged by the willingness of the people to fight on in spite of the challenges. This gives us hope for the future."  
      Mrs Jean Mensa, IEA Administrator explained that both the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates had offered the electorates the opportunity to make informed choices as to which political party to vote for on December 7th.
     "It has directed the campaign messages of the parties compelling them to move away from one of personality attacks, acrimony and insults, which used to characterize Sub-Saharan African political campaigns," she said.
     The debate moderated by Professor Ivan Addea Mensah, Former Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana and Mr Israel Laryea, a Broadcast Journalists, was attended by leading politicians from the various parties, academia, local and international journalists, traditional rulers and a cross-section of the general public.


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