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Campaign discourse should be substantive, deliberative- Akufo-Addo to NPP

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President Nana Akufo-Addo has emphasised that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) campaign communication for election 2020 should be devoid of ethnocentrism, religion, mudslinging and gender biases. 

He said rather, the party’s campaigns should be based on a more substantive and deliberative discourse.

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The NPP leader wants the campaign to be based on the competencies, records, output and achievements of his administration are presented to the electorates.

The president made the call when he held a virtual meeting with members of his campaign communications advisory team on Sunday in Accra.

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He is currently on a 14‐day precautionary isolation at the Presidential Villa in the Jubilee House, after it was discovered that a member of his inner circle had tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite testing negative for the virus, he is currently on his ninth day of self-quarantine prescribed by his medical team.

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President Akufo-Addo told the team that the December polls, being an historic one where an incumbent president and his predecessor went head to head in an election, demanded that the records of their tenure be outlined before the people and left to their judgment.

He pointed out that it was “absolutely critical” that the NPP’s political discourse towards the polls in December be run on quality of leadership, and a comparison of the records of his administration with that of his predecessor.

“We still have to ask ourselves who can manage the affairs of our country, both in normal times and as well as in extraordinary times like these past three or four months,” he stressed.

For the President, the achievement of his administration in the areas of health, education, social and economic advancement and infrastructure had been one that had positively affected the country and all Ghanaians nationwide. This, he said, is the pivot on with the campaign message should be hinged on. 

“There’s no part of Ghana that can say they’ve been left out of the programmes and developments of this government….and that has to be a very critical aspect of our outreach,” he said.

“Every nook and cranny can point to something we have done which matters to the people, whether it’s the establishment of schools, the enhancement of agriculture, or about the development of infrastructure; the water, roads….all these go into the idea that our programmes are meant to serve the generality of the people, and it’s important that we continue to stress that,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo was very emphatic about the party’s messages being clean during the electioneering season so as to not sully the political atmosphere.

“We have to do a campaign in Ghana which is not about where you come from. Whipping up ethnic sentiments has never helped this country and it will never help us…and we should be the very first to recognise this diversity, this mosiac of Ghanaian tapestry, which is full of so many different elements that come together in the Ghanaian statement.

“We should be stressing the Ghana project. And in making the Ghana project, the other issues, whether you are a Moslem or Christian, shouldn’t be part of our discourse and clearly gender should also not be part of our discourse.

“We are looking at all times…so the discussion before the Ghanaian people should be a discussion about competencies, abilities, achievements, outputs. That is something that I would like us to stress very much on,” he underscored.

The President also made it evident that he had no agenda whatsoever to deny any Ghanaian their constitutional right to vote, as was being bandied in certain quarters.

“All the talk about us having some tribal agenda to disenfranchise people in the north and the Volta, I don’t understand where that is coming from.

It is deliberate. Anyone who knows the mechanics of Ghana, knows that it is artificial and is being done for short term artificial political gains and I’m not sure it is a legitimate way of advancing a political agenda, and certainly not one that I would want to promote,” he held.

President Akufo-Addo impressed on the team to push also the message for the compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols, noting that compliance to these set rules would determine the level of success of the fight against the pandemic.

“I think there is the need to continue stressing on the need for respecting the COVID protocols. We are in government and it is very important that that aspect of our concern about the need for our people to be safe comes out positively in everything we say. People have to take the protocols seriously.”

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