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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Columnist: Atta-Boakye, Ken

Anti-Corruption Movement

A Follow-Up to “War On Corruption” – Feature Article of Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Ghana New Generation in the Making:

The fight against corruption is not the job for one person but rather, the affected people at large. Corruption defies justice and is upsetting. It has taken full control of the Ghanaian system and is glorified in our culture. Keep your fingers crossed, Ghana New Generation has been found. The movement will link up with the social media to address corruption issues to minimize it. We don’t have to live with corruption or tolerate it. Just cooperate with Ghana New Generation and send your grievances with evidences to the organization. The movement shall maintain consumer sovereignty and customer satisfaction. Tax payers and consumers deserve their due share of the national cake and this is our goal. Those who have illegally amassed the national cake in excess would be required to share. Ghana New Generation is long overdue. It has been in waiting while the people suffered.
As far as the social media is concerned, we shall connect with those who have demonstrated their integrity and justice in the society and link up with them. Our criteria for assessment would be based on their track history. We can easily work with people like Franklin Coudjoe, Kojo Bentil, Rodney Nkrumah Boateng, Isreal Laryea, and Bright Simmons. They are the true opinion leaders on face book and twitter. Another social media is the Talk-Shows. Most of the time, they talk politics and with political personalities parading these places, caution must be exercised. Our best resource will be the academic analysis of corruption posted by Mr H. Prempeh on Vintage Groupps. He is of the opinion that attacking corruption on moral crusade is bound to be futile. He believes in sanctions and his views tally in with what Ghana New Generation has in mind. The draconian approach: arrest them, prosecute them, convict them, jail them, and throw the keys away is only palliative. After the 1979 AFRC Firing Squad, corruption has only compounded.
At the time when Martin Luther King Jr engaged in peaceful demonstrations to fight for civil liberties, Malcolm X used violence as his strategy. Today, MLK, Jr is held in high esteem. So, do not mistakenly conclude that Ghana New Generation has violence under its sleeves. We are also not oblivious of the fact that there will be oppositions along the way. Change from the bottom up impinges civil disobedience. This is why it should be collective. Analyze our dream carefully to come to terms with us. It is not meant to intimidate any group of the citizens. It is for freedom, justice, fairness and happiness for all.
Our package to fight corruption will be short term and long term. The short term will deal with the motives and the opportunities for corruption. For instance, we shall call for amendments in the 1992 Constitution and ensure that those flaws for opportunities are amended. We are saddened by the failure of the Ghanaian leadership to wake up to the realities of governance issues and instead have positioned themselves to their selfish gains and political spin. The former Presidents and the current one (Mr Mahamah) together with the MP’s have refused to call for amendments in the constitution that can stifle opportunities for corruption. Typical is the consensus on the decentralization clause. The President is over-burdened with political appointments. It creates jobs for the party in power so these politicians see it as an opportunity for themselves. The people in a peaceful strategy will ask for amendment. The MP’s who kick against our proposal for amendments would be branded enemies of change. They will face the consequences at the polls. The people have power.
There will be other immediate issues to deal with to serve as deterrents. At this point, the services of the social media would be more needed. People who need justice will present their cases for evaluation just like an arbitration court. There is nothing to do arbitrarily. Every case would be considered on its merit with documents and evidence. The social media will high-light the facts for the general public to be weary of the defrauders. The economic sanctions will follow. About 18 months ago, ML 500 car was shipped from Paris to Tema harbor. Clearing and Forwarding Agent took GHC 100m for duty. The owner lost both the duty money and the car as it was impounded due to fraudulent deals of the agent. It was sold cheaply to a government official. Not even a cedi was refunded to the owner. How can we live in a country where there is no avenue to dispense justice? Ghana New Generation will fill the vacuum.

The idea of sanctions is derived from UNO. When nations violate UN’s regulations, they are placed on sanctions. They finally kotow. Life is inter-dependent and the nations need one another. Ghana can also use economic sanctions in our own special way to make life difficult for defrauders. People should pay a price for their actions. Our activities will be results-oriented. The sanctions will make Ghana New Generation different from the other existing civil societies. Sanctions have been applied before but not with the zeal we anticipate. We shall deal with both cases of fraud and causing financial loss to the state where documents avail. The action plan will include but not limited to:
(i) Announce the fraud in the media
(ii) Pay back all loses to the individual/state
(iii) Withdraw company license
(iv) Freeze assets
(v) Limit travelling visas.
For these to succeed Ghana New Generation shall engage the support and services of all the authorities concerned: (The Police, Banks, Embassies, Accountant General Office, and the Media). If the sanctions are successful, without any aiding and abetting from family members and friends, it will serve as deterrent when the defrauder is reduced to the rank of the poor class. The new wave under the auspices of Ghana New Generation will bring in a turning point. Public officials will think of their actions.
The long-term preparation will center on character education. The theme for this would be, “Corruption is morally wrong”. People who are morally corrupt are dangerous to live with in the society. To this end, we shall treat extensively the cause and effect of corruption. Through conventions, conferences, debates, pamphlets, newspapers, seminars, and workshops we shall ask individuals to testify to their experiences and accounts. We shall account for why many brilliant students couldn’t further their education because corruption was the cause. Such brilliant students stayed in the village to hunt or chase rats for living. There is no progress in most villages because of corrupt leadership. Some chiefs even sell one piece of land to multiple buyers. The court places an injunction order on the land to prevent conflict. Developments suffer. When money is given to trusted family members or friends to put up a project for the other person, they deceitfully use the money for themselves. Situations like these would come under our sanctions. In all these, we shall publish the names of the defrauders in our newsletter. We shall set goals and evaluate our work some 15 -20 years later. Help us fight corruption.
Another enduring thing that shall be part of our endeavors is civic clubs that we shall establish. The clubs shall be in the schools, the colleges and in the communities. The civic club activists will organize voluntary projects to be supported by the masses in the communities. We shall also be looking for avenues to entertain the people. We shall show videos or movies in the community houses that would be both entertaining and educative. Our plans would be capital-intensive and we shall require assistance from wherever we can. In the interim, we call upon individuals, the Ghanaian associations and organizations to come over to “Mecedonia” and help. It is our conviction that this noble cause is the dream of people with integrity in the country. As a matter of priority we need them to run to it but not away from it. We shall set up internal machinery that will deal with all petty squabbles, power struggles, arrogance, and infighting to hold the movement solid. We cannot ask for accountability from the public while we are ourselves unaccountable. Give this a thought. Ghana needs your input and resources.
The success of this movement depends on the public. It is not the first of the kind. Some civil society organizations exist already, others are inactive. The goal is shared by all concerned citizens. It is noble and worth-trying. Give it a positive response so we can do it together. Send your views either to improve upon it or an alternate opinion.
Ken Atta-Boakye (703 986-8438)
Woodbridge, Virginia.