You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2017 12 22Article 611835

Opinions of Friday, 22 December 2017

Columnist: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie

Afanyi Dadzie Writes: Our ‘enemy’ is CORRUPTION, not AID

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

There’s nothing excruciating as having exerted so much energy and time into something you were very much convinced about, and spent days, weeks or even months to settle on it, and actually put into action, only to find out in the end that you had the wrong target, and that you have misfired.

What happens is that you can’t have that time back. Time is transient so you’ve lost it. And then you’ve also lost energy, which is often not so easy to rejuvenate, especially when you ponder over the initial zero results vis-à-vis the efforts you put in.

It appears to me that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, may be headed for this unpleasant destination.

The ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ mantra that the President and his Vice continually articulate like ‘parrots’ with so much elation and optimism; is really becoming a nuisance to my ears, not just because nothing significant is really happening to realize this, but also because we are missing the real adversary.

It is indeed the dream of every individual or group of people to become self-sufficient, how much more a country that is nearly 60 years after gaining independence from its oppressors.

Besides, the book of proverbs reminds us that the borrower is a slave to the lender, so we really must be free economically to give existent meaning to our independence.

Even so, I do not think that AID is our biggest headache; our greatest predicament is the unrestrained CORRUPTION.

And this is even confirmed in the fact that, regardless of the huge public debt they inherited, this very government that is shouting ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, has opened itself to some amount of AID, although in some cases for embarrassing purposes, such as the one million dollars from the Indian government to shamefully renovate our national pride, the seat of government, the Flagstaff House.

If AID was truly the number one enemy, the same Nana Addo and Bawumia will not open itself up for AID, and then later turn around to play with words, by trying to give their kind of AID a different meaning with all the semantics.

Truly, no one is an island. Even the bigger and stronger economies, require some form of help at times from elsewhere. Hence, giving a helping hand either solicited or unsolicited, cannot generally be bad a thing as some seem to suggest.

So we must see that, it is the poor management of the AID that in most cases in Ghana and elsewhere, lead to the poor results that we see in terms of development.

For instance, if you go for a loan with interest rate that you were satisfied with after your cost benefit analysis, to invest in a commercial public entity that should be run to pay off the loan by itself; and you mismanage it through corruption that goes unpunished, how do you in your working brain, blame that loan or the lender for your mess or bad debt? And this is just one of the typical situations of AID mismanagement in this country.

So if we are truly strong-willed with integrity and enthusiasm, they must be channelled into bulldozing corruption head-on without fear or favour.

Indeed, AID from countries such as the United States and elsewhere are reducing over the years, and may get to an all-time low. But I don’t believe that the donors are pulling out because they think or know that AID doesn’t develop any country. That for me is a lie being forced down our throat, and I will never swallow it.

The very reasons why most of these AIDS are being cut are largely because of the levels of CORRUPTION that exists in these receiver nations. Most of these donors simply massage the truth about their withdrawal not to hurt diplomatic relations, but they are truly aware that we are misusing these monies, and so they have started advising themselves.

There have been instances I have heard an Ambassador of the United States Embassy and the Danish Embassy in Ghana, speak very gravely about CORRUPTION levels in Ghana. It is for this same reason that Denmark is now moving from AID to trade in their relations with Ghana. We actually tend to think these donors are dumb or blind, not to know about the stinking rot in our system.

On this AID subject, my good friend Nana Ama Agyemang Asante, who agrees with the notion that AID hasn’t helped Africa said, “Where is the country built by AID? Why hasn’t the continent moved to a different stage with all the AID that pours in? In fact, there is research that indicates that, African governments get away with corruption because half the monies they squander come from AID, and the other half from natural resources. If they were taxing us to develop our countries, we would be harder on them than we are on the football team.”

And this was my response to her “So you are of the firm belief that when they [Government] tax us and not rely on AID, they will be forced to put the money to good use? If you have the courage to squander the money you get with sometimes huge interest and suffocating conditions, why then will you be afraid not to squander the one that you generate internally with less or no conditions from a largely dormant population? From your post, the problem is the CORRUPTION and not the AID. These kinds of researches you are quoting are the problem.”

I am not a political scientist or a governance expert, but in my ordinary wisdom, I strongly disagree with this overstated notion that AID from the West only stagnates Africa’s growth and development.

We really need to disabuse our minds of this misconception and redirect our energies to the real source of the problem. The problem lies with the managers of the AID, It comes from the bad deals they negotiate; the sickening levels of CORRUPTION such as the latest one in which a Ministry has budgeted Ghc800,000 for a mere website; these are to blame and not the AID itself or the donors.

The reality that scares me is this; even if we generate enough wealth internally, and the unbridled CORRUPTION is not drastically minimized, if the selfishness and the almost incurable greed eating us up are not dealt with, we will remain where we are with or without AID.

Nobody puts a gun to our necks to take the AID, we go for them willingly, and then a few individuals misappropriate the chunk of it. People have built private business empires with all forms of AID, why can’t we build a better country with our share of the AID?

There can be no sense in turning around to blame the DONOR or the borrower, after misusing your AID or loan.

Besides, it is this same CORRUPTION that permeates our judiciary, police service, public health system, Immigration Service and many facets of our national life, for which reason we haven’t had a holistic development after 60 years of independence.

Mr. President, AID or no AID, your gaze should remain on CORRUPTION like an eagle hunting for its prey. You either get this target, or anything else is a waste of precious time and energy.

And let there be real action in dealing with the vultures within and without. And wisdom should also teach you, that per how we have fought corruption across the various political regimes, you will only earn higher praise if you hunt down the crooks in your circle, and not only those outside of it.

The talk is too much; the earlier you act, the better for you because the early signs are disheartening.