The Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation's (ILAPI) flagship organization, Young Africans for Opportunities (YAFO) that focuses on linking young people with opportunities across the globe for a more peaceful, freer, and prosperous future for all by building good relationships with numerous institutions and free market think tanks in Africa and the world at large in order to foster and develop potentials to create a niche of prosperity through the ideas of free enterprise and property rights, organized the Presidential Debates for aspiring leaders of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.
As part of the students’ electioneering process, the presidential debate for 2018 was in two phases; students’ association under the faculty and the hall of Residents. The presidential debate was organized for the Social Science Society (SOCIOSO) and International Association of Students in Agriculture and other Related Science (IAAS-KNUST) on 23rd and 28th February, 2018 respectively. Theme for the faculty presidential debate was THIS IS IT. The debate is to help introduce, accountability, and classical liberal views in students’ political discourse for a prosperous society.
The Social Science Society election had four major contenders for the presidential office. They were Christian Dumenyo, Samuel Gyekye-Fosu, Richmond Obeng Asare and Frank Afful. At the end of the presidential debate Richmond Obeng Asare emerged winner. Its worthy to note that Christian Dumenyo did not participated in the presidential debate on medical grounds. The IAAS-KUNST election had two major contenders for the presidential race with Richard Adu emerging as the winner over Lawrence Kwame. The faculty debate covered the Welfare, Policy, Accountability and Transparency, Finance and Academics and Liberty as the thematic areas for the debate.
Interestingly, both Richmond Obeng Asare and Richard Adu went on to win their respective elections after emerging winners of the YAFO-KNUST presidential debate. Indeed, the performance displayed by the candidates during the debate and the demonstration of intelligence in the defending the how and why of their policies made the events so exciting. Audience had their time during the debate by asking candidates questions directly. It was not surprising for the electorates to have judged the competence of the candidates with the results of the presidential debate.
YAFO-KNUST followed up to interview both newly elected presidential candidates. Samuel who is the vice president of Richard Adu, admitted that the questions asked in the debate was very relevant and reflected critical issues within the IAAS association. Also, Richmond Obeng Asare said that “the debate asked the critical issues and how one is going to solve some of predicaments facing the Social Science Society, in fact the questions asked were relevant than some of the vetting questions”. The newly elected presidential candidates mentioned that the YAFO-KNUST presidential debate has made them understand that identification of problem is not enough. However, knowing how to solve such problem is what is critical. The presidential debate provided the platform to engage on how identified problem can be given practical solution.
In conclusion, both candidate really appreciated the YAFO-KNUST team and our effort to initiate such a presidential debate. It is our hope to expand the presidential debate to other faculties and colleges and to other universities in Ghana. The next phase of the presidential debate will involve the traditional halls, Africa hall and University hall presidential debate will be coming off on 18th and 26th March, 2018 respectively.
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