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Opinions of Monday, 20 October 2014

Columnist: Anor, Ofori G.

A Generation So Corrupt

To every generation is assigned the task of taking on the challenges of the era, challenges that must be met full throttle or the nation's destruction, marginalization or both is assured. Every generation, it is said gets the Dracula it deserves.

Successful and powerful nations are those where generation after generation have succeeded in not only accepting the challenges of their times but rising, meeting, navigating and resolving them

Once upon a time, a very powerful world power had a myriad of challenges thrust before it. They stretched from the scourge of organized crime, civil rights and entrenched racism, space exploration, "cold" war, nuclear warfare to the "threat of Communism." Organized crime and corruption had seeped so deeply into its national politics that elections for public office in the land was virtually determined by the huff and puff of big bad mobsters. There were evidence everywhere attesting to the influence of big time gangsters in every facet of national affairs.

An unpopular ill-conceived war was being fought far away from home to contain a competing ideology, i.e. communism. 

A long suffering portion of its citizenry was dreaming and marching for equal opportunities to be dispensed according to content of one's character and not by the color of the skin. 

A hostile nation had audaciously planted deadly missiles on its doorsteps. With a novice president in power, the rest of the world gasped and watched. This hated and despised enemy had leapt ahead in the exploration of outer space, dealing a severe embarrassment and blow to the national psyche. 

When Jack Kennedy became the 35th President of this nation, the United States of America, he became the face of the generation that had to confront these challenges. It could be said that by at least by words, he summoned, recruited, motivated and managed the energies of his generation towards giving testimony to their national loyalty. Jack Kennedy proclaimed in his 1960 Inaugural Address that "the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans", a Baby Boom generation that would "ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what your can do for your country...... pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty".  Though it would cost them their lives, he and his brother Edward took on the crime bosses and won. Ironically it was these same crime bosses who had aided him winning the presidency. Within a year, the national psyche would explode when US science landing a man on the moon and brought him back. Young traveled all over the world selling the American brand, not as economic refugees but as Peace Corpers Americans Can we forget Malcolm X's 'by any means necessary" charge, Martin Luther King's dream or James Brown being "Black and proud. Though it would cost some of them their lives, they nevertheless did not shank but welcomed the responsibility. They brought energy, faith and devotion to light their country and the world.

Meanwhile in the Gold Coast, soon to become Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah had become the face of the Independence Now Generation. He thought and spoke about the challenge(s) of the time better than anyone. He organized and motivated everyone better than anyone and led that generation to succeeded at attaining its single most immediate goal -- independence from colonial bullies. Thereafter, he attempted to create the Young Pioneer Movement. It would produce a generation of fiercely patriotic Ghanaians who would be ever ready for the cause of Ghana and Africa. He was soundly and roundly betrayed and thwarted on the altar of sabotage and treachery by some self serving nincompoops. What followed were succession of lost generations for about a twenty year stretch -- Kafo Didi, Yentua/Operation OFY/Fa Wo To Begye/Kalabule generations. One thing they all had in common were the dangerous invectives of their leaders. They collectively courted the incubation narcissistic inclinations in the land. 

Then came Rawlings. He may have had a perception of where we were. He spoke well and loud enough to emerge leader of the Eye Hann (Let There Be Light) Generation. Like Nkrumah, he eloquently stated the challenges. For a while, he succeeded in motivating his compatriots to rise up to the challenges of the time. Rawlings was unable to continue to inspire, sustain and manage the energies that had been let loose. His revolution therefore took a detour and never offered sustainable solutions to important problems. Instead of creating "an active network of forward thinking and connected individuals from whom they can receive feedback and grow ideas", Rawling's revolution inadvertently gave us "a cul¬ture that brings out the narcissistic behavior in all of us”. Rawlings did not create narcissism among Ghanaian. His failed revolution hatched it. 

Generation Agege (Anywhere But Ghana) evolved from that historical reference point that extreme self self-centerdness, materialism, high self esteem, lack of caring for others, high self estimation and hollow values, the identifying mark of narcissistic inclinations, are the be all and end all of human endeavors. Afriyie-Ankrah, Ablakwa Okudzeto, Vicky Hama, Woyome, Nyantakyi, Mallam Issa, (the Sports Minister who lost $40,000 on official assignment during Kuffour's administration), the 2014 World Cup characters, NSS directors, the CHRAJ woman, GYEEDA and SADA managers, the "Tweaa" DC, etc are all hatchlings of those lost generations. Social entrepreneurs they are not. Their enterprise is built on self love and excessive self worth. Ball players for whom wearing the national colors should be a matter of infinite pride and honor, see it as an entitlement based on one's personal abilities.

Dr Samuel Adjei Sarfo, in his brilliant article ("On the Question of Corruption II" Ghanaweb 10/10/14. wonders "why on earth somebody will decide to steal the people’s money and hope to have any peace of mind in life. What on earth will anybody gain through dubious judgment debts (as in the case of Woyome); or through fudging figures (as in the case of the world cup debacle); or mortgage the hopes of the people through corrupt practices (as in the case of SADA and GYEEDA)? What has been the state of mind of the CHRAJ boss now that she has become the subject of this decibel clatter of condemnation and utter calumniation? What about the rot revealed in the National Service Scheme? How can these arch architects of this criminal enterprise look at their faces in the mirror again and see themselves as human beings? ….. what is their conscience whispering to them in the middle of the night when they go to sleep after steeping themselves in the murk of theft? Are they genuinely resentful of the sea of corruption now drowning the nation?" 

We are many who are wondering with the good doctor. Evidently governments past and present are not wondering with us. One leader would not lose sleep over a human condition, i.e. corruption, that according to him, predates Adam and Eve. Another would rather expend public funds to purchase sanitary pads for school girls (as if that is what would cause Embassy officials in Burkina Faso to bill the nation $600,000 for a fence wall). It hasn't as yet occurred to him that corruption in Ghana has assumed “frightening proportions”(Emile Short, former head of CHRAJ) that must be studied, understood and dealt with in all its frames of references - economic, historical, political psychological and even religious. We cannot afford to lose any more generations because negotiating a workable social contract from the position of corruption, self service and lack of caring for others will not cut it. 

G. Ofori Anor

New York