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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Columnist: Kuunifaa, Cletus D

Declare!!!

If asset declaration won't curb corruption, then putting corrupt public officials to firing squad will do it, I bet you. How is asset declaration not even an effective measure of curbing corruption, Mr. Freddy Blay? Why don’t these politicians tell us how much they are worth, how much they have before assuming public office? Is it so cumbersome a task, anyway, to declare one’s assets before embarking on that political journey? Is it not a constitutional obligation for our politicians to declare their assets before assuming public office?

Most countries across the world do expect their top leaders to declare their assets before assuming office. Should they fail to do so will always surely breed suspicion, tension, and God forbids if that turns into political instability.

The public purse is for the public and not for some hell-bound-stylish-greedy politicians who do nothing, nothing to bring about transparency and prosperity but rather “piping” and draining the public purse.
I m inclined to believe that the non-declaration of asset is a recipe for corruption and indeed why are we even surprised that there is so much corruption in the system?

Most of our public officials of past governments including the current government were and are particularly unqualified to be really unavailable in their positions, and yet their availability was and is a drain on the public purse.

We need our politicians to think outside the box, do some critical thinking to proffer solutions for the numerous problems Ghana is bedeviled with. Instead, we have most of them preoccupied with the sole purpose of lining their pockets. What a shame!

Assuming that Alhaji Asuma Banda comes into politics, who doubts that his wealth was not by the sweat of his brow? Assuming that the former UN Secretary General Dr. Kofi Annan ventures into politics, who doubts that he is not a self acclaimed personality? Assuming that Professor Gyimah Boadi of CDD gets into the political trail, who doubts his credibility in contributing to knowledge and greasing the wheels of democracy? Even if Mr. Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Ghana ventures into it, we know his organization has survived the test of time and though we might have divergent views on issues, it nevertheless precludes his organization not to be recognized by the sweat of his brow in the Ghanaian system.

All of these personalities mentioned have done it in their own little ways to be meritorious going into politics proper, should they want to, and they would have been some genuine reasons to do so from their end: a call to service.

But, here is the contrast to these personalities: a category of politicians that includes some mum parliamentarians, very inarticulate, no space for critical thinking except back benching along in chorus; yeah... yeah.
And then, the other category; they are probably out of college, straight to public office, no declaration of assets, and by the way, what do such individuals even have to declare, and then, bam: mansions, cars, a string of various property splashed all over. Why shouldn’t we be concerned about this ill gotten wealth?

The bane of our problem as we know it is a lack of commitment, a lack of patriotism to serve owing to the greed of our politicians fueled by a lack of transparency in governance.

Politics must be seen as a call to service and not the other way around, being an avenue for money making.

Make no mistake: asset declaration is a regular and recognized tool for fighting corruption. The general consensus is that asset declaration aims to increase transparency and the trust of citizens in public administration, by disclosing information about assets of politicians and civil servants that shows they have nothing to hide.

Given that it is a constitutional obligation for public officials to declare their assets before assuming office, this provision must be adhered to and followed to the letter. It is even imperative and a legislative obligation binding on members of parliament to fulfill this legislative duty.

Cletus D Kuunifaa
TMC Group
Can be contacted at dipnibe@yahoo.com or Follow him on twitter @ckuunifaa