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Opinions of Monday, 21 October 2013

Columnist: Akwah, Nana

Criminal Behavior, Unruliness, Corruption

As a consequence for the masses to live with, the National Democratic Congress and the National Patriotic Party have been successful in reducing to rubble Ghana, while the rest of us have stood by and watch over the two contending parties take the country down the road of destruction. I remain surprised, that a society so endowed with brilliant minds, and so thoroughly populated with both Christians and Moslems of high integrity, could be so be short of wisdom and foresight, and so bankrupt of courage and conviction - as a consequence the current crisis that has encase the country. Not a soul can say that we did not see the harsh conditions approaching. The writing has been on the wall for a long period of time, regardless of the sweet talk; and the insistent of the opposition and the direct admonition that the nation was heading for a crisis, very few of us seemed to have been keeping our mind on, and whilst a smaller number hitherto, prepared to speak the truth to those in power and to stand up in opposition to the destructive undercurrents of untested youth in governance. The starting point of the challenge has been the vicious nature of ethnic politics, but even more piercing, had been the broad spectrum of corruption that has infected and plague-ridden all the critical segments and institutions of the country, as this has led to powerful synergies with criminal networks inside and outside of Ghana. It is no surprise that right now both NDC and NPP politicians in a whirlwind or whirlpool of alleged corrupt activities and are usually accused of fraud that give rise to the setting up of probes and trial for. The end of Kwame Nkrumah's experimentation with democratic socialism in the '50s and 60s’ all together signified the end of the period of national sacrifice and the bringing to an end on closed-society responsibility. The answer most appropriate for such development was that the Convention People’s Party, having won power in the colonial times through the ballot box, abandoned, once independence was secured, the democracy it had promised to established, and immediately instituted a dictatorship, built up its leader Dr Kwame Nkrumah into an almost godlike figure, flunging its political opponents into jail and then indulged in an orgy of ostentatious spending, corruption and general mismanagement that was bound to end in national disaster. The period of the '70s and 80s’ ushered in a new era of individual enrichment and vitriolic self-interest that was manifestly different from what existed before. It has now turned out to be everyday talk that the day of politician and political figures being poor under the military regimes or constitutional democracy was over and that it was the "politician time to make money". What has also become apparent from that time till now has been a story of the free-for-all greed with the related physical appearance of political corruption and its prevalent complicity all through the sectors and branches of the society. As the tentacles of corruption apparent and unfolded, they produced an inherent accessory to public officials, the police and private citizens as well, while the governmental and institutional makeup which is already leaky and fraught with weaknesses and loopholes fell victim to well-hidden and pervasive dishonest practices. In surroundings of unrestrained corruption, carefully planned wrongdoing always finds a perfect milieu and as a result flourishes, and so it is with Ghana. In the midst of no regulations or restrictions on campaign financing, with weak civil society, and very few independent voices, the connections linking political parties and criminal networks had grown and become hard-edged. As the relationship that has reared up, had become give-and-take - you scratch my back, and I scratch yours - I will ensure that you win elections, and you will ensure that I partake in the bounty when your party turns out to be government. Needless to say, the way to guarantee that the system or the status quo is maintained and controlled is to ensure access to military and the other security apparatus where sycophancy becomes the other of the day. As a nation interested in politics; shrewd and gifted that as we are, it was a matter of time for the ordinary person to get the picture of how the game was been played, and they got along with. The "look sharp"-to- live through mindset meant that, advertise bribes to whoever and wherever it was desirable - customs, police, public servants - you name them. It was the way to get things done, and the undeniable way to put food on the table. Furthermore, it was also the strategy to put together scandalous empires, like the Asongtaba, GYEEDA etc, while some of them taking on multinational dimensions. Finally, the chickens have now come home to roost with the John "Assurance" Mahama mess intensifying by the minute. To a large extent, the masses have been left up to their own tactics and the end result is what is at the moment unfolding before our very eyes. It is a story of how a criminal empire established deep roots in the hearts, minds and pockets of inner-city people - those Ghanaians who have been abandoned, abused and exploited by the political establishment. It could be easily argued that John Mahama himself is a victim of a vicious political system. When the legitimate government disrobes itself of its role and responsibilities to the citizens of the country, it opened the door for illegitimate rule, and area leaders and dons walked in. The country could not have had such type of government without a corrupt political system, and while Mahama must take personal responsibility, the truth is that the system encouraged, facilitated and made possible his ascendancy to power. We must come to an understanding that corruption increases in bounds in unruly environment, and the Ghanaian society has been pushed slowly into a state of unruliness and panic by those undercurrents, administratively and clandestine, whose object have been self-seeking and expedient, with those who see criminal behavior as the material means to the political end. It is in simple terms mind-boggling, that a country with such incredible natural and human resources which it possesses, could turn out to be in a social context and politically scrawny; and in debt and now on show in the glare of the whole world as a good-for-nothing state, in which dishonesty is venerated and protected. Then again is what is even more worrying, the vast disadvantaged whose way of life has been knotted with criminal activities to the point where there is no difference of opinion between right and wrong. It is clear to me that the task of rebuilding and restructuring both social and the education needs of the masses must be pursued tenaciously if this country is to survive.