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Opinions of Monday, 15 May 2017

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Ghana: So rich, yet lagging; why?

I could hardly remit my fury whenever I listen to Captain Smart’s “FABEWOSO” show (literally means come and dispute the facts) on Adom FM on Mondays and Wednesdays.

To those of you who are not familiar with Captain Smart’s “FABEWOSO” show on Adom FM, the debonair journalist and his selfless team seek to uncover the corrupt politicians and other public servants who have been cited in the Auditor General’s report.

If you are in doubt about the first part of the question construction of this periodical, with regard to Ghana’s enormous wealth, then make it a date to listen to Captain Smart’s “FABEWOSO” show on Mondays and Wednesdays, so as to acquaint yourself with the facts.

Let us face it, though, Ghana is rich. However, we are not making any meaningful advancement due to leadership paralysis and lack of monitoring and enforcement of the existing laws.

Indeed, I will venture to state that nothing could be further from the truth, if you tell me that leadership has got nothing to do with Ghana’s underdevelopment. After all, it is often said that “fish rots from the head.”

Then also, I would like to disagree with those who harbour a sophistic view that Westerners are ever so righteous than their African counterparts.

Such an assertion indeed could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, Westerners are not less corrupt than their African counterparts.

Well, you may believe it or not, but the fact of the matter is that Ghanaians are not different from other human beings elsewhere, because we all have foibles as imperfect beings.

However, what makes the people elsewhere much more responsible than a Ghanaian is the rigidity of the state institutions and the effective laws and regulations.

Elsewhere, though, the laws and regulations are strictly enforced, and as such the vast majority of the citizens and denizens prefer the observance to the stringent fines and the harsh punishments.

It is, however, worth emphasising that in as much as the followers have a duty of obligation, it is up to the leadership to bring sanity into the system by strictly ensuring that all laws and regulations are enforced without fear or favour.

Let us therefore remind ourselves that a leader provides a new direction and inspires the followers to abandon their old ways of doing things.

In practice, however, genuine leadership must give people a long-term vision that “absorbs” their lives with meaning; it must point them in a new direction and show how their every action is an indispensable part of a positive change ahead, for it is not enough for our leaders to teach us to be productive or efficient; they need to inspire us to change or improve in a productive and meaningful way.

A true leader wants nothing more than to make people independent, as leaders in their own rights. Instead of trying to inebriate us with his or her rhetoric, a true leader reflects our own light back to us.

More specifically, a true leader should be judged by his/her extraordinary qualities, not -- ego, impertinent boldness, and self-interest. A true leader sees his/her work as altruistic service toward accomplishing a goal.

As the sages say, “Leadership is not power and dominance; it is service to mankind.”

And what’s more, in so far as we have leaders that do not bother to fire corrupt, greedy and incompetent appointees, I dare say that Ghana may never advance meaningfully in our lifetime.

And, if anything at all, are we not within our rights to hold the leadership responsible for appointing unsuitable people to fill important positions in the country because of narrow political affiliations?

There is no denying of the fact that Ghanaian political appointments are not necessarily based on the individual’s superior skills, ability, knowledge, experience and qualifications, but are often predicated on the individual’s political leanings.

Yes, more often than not, competence is not a criterion for most political appointments. And as a consequence, the odd practice routinely spawns mediocrity in the system.

The fact of the matter is that narrow political coloration, nepotism, cronyism and sycophancy would not move our dear country forward.

There is no hiding of the fact that we cannot build a prosperous nation with narrow political coloration and sycophancy, but we can only develop as a nation by appointing suitable people to important positions.

The fact remains that we are at where we are today partly due to sheer negligence. Square pegs are often put into round holes, and, the shiftless plebes persistently fail to deliver the goods.

The people we have previously entrusted to manage affairs have been indeed disappointing. How can we command all these resources and still find ourselves in a pickle jar?

Of course, I am in agreement with the widely held view that every Ghanaian has a part to play in the nation building. However, I am of the firm conviction that if the managers of the economy fail to put expedient policies in place, we will get nowhere.

Let us admit, though, Ghana may not see any meaningful development, so long as we have leaders that are not willing to ensure that our laws are enforced stringently and only tend to follow narrow party coloration, devoid of patriotism. The ‘Montie’ three remission is still fresh in our memories.

Given the risible inclinations, we can reasonably infer that misunderstanding of patriotism exists in the minds of many of our leaders, who would often choose party interests over the national interests.

It would, however, appear that we, Ghanaians, and Africans as a whole, are possessed with kowtowing characteristic of a morally degraded mind which dislikes anything that comes with honesty and integrity.

Thus, our leaders, having first-hand knowledge of our obsequious compliance and hero-worshipping nonsense, tend to take us for granted and continue to dip their hands into the national coffers.

Paradoxically, however, in Ghana, greedy and corrupt officials are held in high esteem by the party loyalists for stealing from the national purse at the expense of the suffering masses.

Let us be honest, and rightly so, we definitely need attitudinal and behavioural change, for we must not and cannot keep on hero-worshipping individuals who harbour ulterior motives.

If we continue that way, our beloved Ghana cannot advance meaningfully, indeed, not anytime soon.

How long can we continue to unjustifiably defend the voracious and corrupt officials who do not have the nation at heart?

The fact of the matter is that we cannot develop as a nation if we follow narrow political lines, and continue to defend the villainous officials who only harbour vested interests.

Apparently, we are at where we are, because of the gargantuan bribery and corruption being perpetrated by some individuals in high positions.

The fact however remains that the corrupt individuals close to the corridors of power persistently steal from the national coffers.

Disappointingly, though, the justice system tends to descend heavily on goat, cassava and plantain thieves, and more often than not, let go the hard criminals who hide behind narrow political colorations.

Verily, Ghana may not see any meaningful development, so long as we have officials who are extremely greedy, corrupt, and insensitive to the plight of the impoverished Ghanaians.

We should not lose sight of the fact that corruption is a serious economic, social, political and moral impediment to the nation building, and as such corrupt officials must be held accountable at all times.

Corruption is found in all countries—big and small, rich and poor—but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive.

In sum, going forward, we must not and cannot use the justice net to catch only plantain, goat and cassava thieves, but we must rather spread the justice net wide to cover the hard criminals disguised in political attire.

Obviously, we require a true leadership with vision and ideas, altruistic leadership devoid of corruption, greed, Incompetence, cronyism, nepotism and capable of transforming us into an industrialized and robust economy.