Ghana on one hand, since its return to democratic rule in 1993, has experienced a continuous growth in consolidating its democracy, leading it to be one of the most referred to success stories of democracy in Africa. On the other hand, corruption continues
to be a problem in spite of the several proclaimed measures by governments to curb it. Several people have tried to find out why corruption still persists in Ghana despite the various anti- corruption laws being formulated and implemented in the country all
aiming at curtailing the growing canker.
The causes of corruption are myriad; and they have political and cultural variables. The Centre for African Democratic Affairs (CADA) has recently observed that there is a strong perception that
seeks to establish a link between corruption, social diversity and ethno-linguistic fractionalization.
CADA has noted with a great amount of concern that corruption today has become widespread in most African countries including Ghana. The culture
of corruption of the Ghanaian society has made almost every citizen more prone to corrupt activities. However, CADA is of the view that the fundamental factors that engendered corrupt practices in Ghana include: great inequality in the distribution of wealth;
political office serving as the primary means of gaining access to wealth; conflicts between changing moral codes; the weakness of social and governmental enforcement mechanisms; and the absence of a strong sense of national community.
as a growing child of Ghana over the past two decades has however changed my idea on why corruption seems to be gaining grounds in Ghana. I rather see corruption striving in the country due to the refusal of individual citizens to abhor the practice by reporting
individuals they percieve to be corrupt to the appropriate law inforcement agencies for investigations and possible prosecution. Despite the blantant refusal of anti-corruption state agencies like the Commercial Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Commission
on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), The Economic and Organise Crime Office (EOCO) and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to fullfill their constituational mandate by fighting acts of corruption, the active participation of citizens
in the fight against the corruption canker will be a panacea to ending the corruption menace currently existing in the country.
How many of us Ghanaians have ever called the Economic and Organised Crime Office or the Bureau of National Investigations
to report a public official who spends more than he or she earns in a month or a year? How many of us try to question the source of wealth of the so called "rich men and women" in Ghana? All that we do is to glorify them and thier filthy riches, and give them
front seats in churches or mosques, titles and accolades that make them small gods and goddesses in the country.
Members of parliaments in Ghana who are paid a gross salary of 90,000 Ghana Cedis annually are sometimes seen expending more
than 100,000 Ghana Cedis within a month on projects they claim are funded from thier pocket money. You then ask yourself, where did they get that huge amount of money to spend if their annual salary is nowhere near the amount spent in a month. Do we
ask where the extra money came from?
We need to start asking questions. The more we ask critical questions about people's extravagant spendings and lifestyles and report them to anti-corruption institutions for investigations, the more perpetrators
of corrupt acts will begin to think of minimising thier evil trade, if not ending it.
The first president of Ghana was asked what he is doing to fight corruption and his response was amazing. Let me paraphrase what Nkrumah said "Until we begin to build
a strong public opinion against corruption, it will be difficult to fight it". This was said over fifty years ago when some ministers of Nkrumah's government were accused of recieving bribes and dolling out juicy contracts to foreign companies.
estimated that about $500m of public funds are embezzled or misappropriated every year even when over 40% of the people in Ghana live below the poverty line ($1.25/day). The majority of Ghanaians do not have electricity, clean drinking water, and access
to primary health care. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiries since 2000 have seen billions of dollars of state money misappropriated with no recorded prosecutions and negligible success in retrieving this stolen cash. Corruption destroys development
and we all, I believe, want our country to develop to become an advanced society with just opportunities for all. Dissipation of national revenues through corruption has left little legacy of development.
It is time for every Ghanaian to wake up and
be a citizen vigilante against acts of corruption.
Ghana is yet to elect a leader who will be ruthless to acts of corruption; those elected have all played the rhethoric by promising to fight the menace but end up promoting the act in thier administration.
I have the strong believe that Ghana can wean itself from financial aid if we are able to plug all the corruption loopholes within both the public and private sector of our economy. How can we go in for an IMF bailout of 900 million dollars when we lose more
of such amounts of money to corruption annually.
Ghanaians should not be concerned about electing leaders who will build schools, hospitals, roads and other social amenities, but be concerned with those who have shown demonstrable ability of weeding
out corruption to its minimal level in the country, for if corruption is reduced to its bearest minimum, the provision of those basic social infrastructural amenities will come by itself.
I must confess that I have been disappointed with the current
NDC administration's handling of acts of corruption committed by individuals and organisations over the past seven years running into millions of Ghana Cedis with little or no prosecution. Reading through the 2014 Auditor General Department reports from the
various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, Public Boards and Corporations, state agencies and pre- tertiary schools on financial malfeasance and misappropriation made me shed tears whilst in the aircraft travelling from Ghana to Germany.
I will for once disagree with US president Barrack Obama when he said "Ghana needs no strong leaders but strong institutions". The case of Ghana is different; Ghana indeed needs strong leaders with strong public institutions. As we speak now, almost all
the public insitutions in Ghana need "medical resuscitation" since almost all including the anti-corruption agencies are in a state of "COMA".
We need leaders who will show strong positive commitment to fighting corruption.The country desperately needs
leaders who will say enough is enough by showing examplary leadership and paving the way for all others to follow. If the leader is compromised, all others are. We are now left with almost seven months to elect leaders who will lead us to shape the destiny
of this country to where we all dream to be. Ghana's problem now is not the lack of water, dumsor, poverty, poor roads, but corruption which is endemic to all spheres of the country like cancer, eating to the moral fibre of the population.
to Karl Kraus, "corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country".
We have a duty as citizens to resist all forms of corruption and fight it
till our last breath, for that will guarantee us the real jobs, the needed social infrastructure, quality education, quality health care and opportunity to rub our shoulders with the rest of the world.
Your neighbour in the Western world will pick a
phone and report you to the police if he or she suspects that you are spending more than you are earning, but the story will be different in Ghana. Remember, "There Are Two Ways To Lead A Life, 1. Do Nothing And Suffer The Consequences, Or 2. Take The Responsibility
To Change It". Ghana is our home, we have nowhere to go if it is destroyed.