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Opinions of Sunday, 6 December 2015

Columnist: Atchulo, Joseph

Ghana on the Verge of Corruption

On the 6th of march 1957, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, said on the famous Independence day declaration that “At Long last the battle has ended, and thus Ghana, your beloved country is free forever”
I believe today, Nkrumah will be turning is his grave, in deep pain, anguish, and disappointed to have realized that, the battle he declared to have ended over 50 years ago has only just begun.

Nkrumah Would be turning in his grave today to see that Ghana and Africa has become in the words of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as the ‘’scar on the Conscience of humanity’’.
Nkrumah would be turning in his grave today, to have realized that Ghana our beloved country indeed, has won yet another Olympic medal in the wrong things such as corruption indexes as measured by Transparency International.
It is sad to see a continent such as Africa, blessed with an overabundance of natural resources and yet poor. I agree with PLO Lumumba, that the only reason we are described as a 3rd world is because there is no 4th or 5th world, if not we would belong in them.
Corruption is something that we have condemned, it something that we talked about, it is something whose negative influences we have complained about, it is something that even the corrupt acknowledge is a bad thing, but the tragedy and irony at once is that those who engage in corruption love it, the tragedy at once is that those who do not engage in it directly accommodate it, our high level of tolerance for corruption in Ghana is simply amazing.
Corruption has almost become a culture in Ghana, every driver who has encountered a policeman or woman is most likely to have paid a bribe, the police do not care the shape of your vehicle as long as they can get their GHC 5. Our government officials are corrupt, our institutions are defiled, our businessmen and women have all gone astray.

As PLO Lumumba once put it, we live in a country and countries today, where our young men and women who have recently attained the age of puberty cannot even afford sanitary pads, but our men and women in public offices have ipads which they do not even know how to use. Our Leaders steal from us and are so scared to save the money here in Ghana, as a result when they are dead and long forgotten; the Swiss enjoy the money because they wouldn’t even tell their wives and children. Today we have a culture in Ghana and Africa where everyone is desperate to be rich and no one will question the source of your wealth, even our churches today will not mind the source of your wealth as long as you can pay tithes and give huge offerings.

98% of Ghanaians are religious, belonging to one religious group or the other, but yet the most corrupt, so the question is where do these corrupt individuals go on Fridays and Sundays? In the very mosques and churches of this country. This Nation including the Clergy and the Imams have sinned and fallen short not only of the Glory of God, but of the expectations of Ghana our Motherland. We have failed not only ourselves but the men and women who fought that we might be free, we have failed those who laid their lives on the altar of sacrifice and handed over the destiny of this Nation to us. We have failed not only ourselves but our ancestors and the future generation, if we do not rise up and loosen the belt of corruption and injustice that is so tight around our waist.
32 Judges in whom we entrusted the law of this country into, were proven by Anas Aremeyaw Anas to have failed us times without number. They sold out justice at a very cheap price; they sold out justice for chicken, yams and goats. We live in sad times, I am left wondering today, how many innocent victims of this withering injustice will be rotting in jail today.

Am left wondering today how many breadwinners of families today have been cast into prisons and left children to wander in desperation, without proper health care, food and housing, just because a judge received a bride and cast their dad into prison, we could all just sit down and fold our arms and pretend we didn’t care, but I cannot do that, as feeble as my voice may seem, yet I shall speak, that perhaps one soul may be liberated from the scourge of corruption and injustice, which has drowned the destiny of this nation.

A Very long time ago, a Great Greek Philosopher said that ‘'it is in the nature of man to hang the small thieves and to elect the big ones into public offices, we do that in Ghana, we do that in Nigeria, we do that in Tanzania, we do that in Sera Leon, we do that in Africa, and that is why Africa remains the Poorest continent in Earth.

So the question is, what must we do going forward? Just like Nkrumah said in his Independence Day declaration, ‘’we must change our attitude’’, until and unless Africa changes its mind set, until and unless there is a paradigm shift in our mindset, Africa is going no where. And no wonder in the ages of enlightenment in Europe, the great Rene Descartes said ‘’cogito ego sum’’ which means ‘’I think therefore I am’’, and therefore if Africa will begin to make a meaningful contribution in our own affairs, then Africans but begin to think, but the question is, are we thinking
We have carpenters in their numbers, but the last time I checked the chairs in our parliament was imported from China, the Government claims it want to boost the capacity of local industries by giving the printing industry 20% of printing jobs for all public schools, but the last time I checked, they were just given 2% of the printing job and the rest were imported, this is the tragedy of Africa ( Daily Graphic 31st August 2015)

The tragedy of Africa is that Africa does not believe in her own, Africa does not love her own, Africa does not even know herself. We have Universities In their numbers, Ghana has universities including KUNST , UDS, Legon etc. we have civil engineers whom we have trained, but the last time I checked, the Sawla-fufulso road was not made by Ghanaian civil engineers, the last time I checked the eastern corridor roads in the Northern part of Ghana was not made by Ghanaian civil engineers, it is the Chinese who are present in this assembly who are making our roads, and therefore we have engineers who cannot even make roads, that is the tragedy of Africa.
The Ghanaian Government will import cars from Germany, Japan and everywhere in the world but will not dare buy a single car from Kantanka our very own. Why are we so depraved in our thinking, our leaders behave sometimes like an ostrich that hides its head in a hole and think the rest of the body is protected, our leaders do not mind selling the wealth of the economy for a pathetic 1% that will go into their private accounts, we cannot continue like this and except to develop.
Africa has a long rope to pull, a long way to go, this generation has failed those who laid the foundations of this country and this continent, the men and women who laid down their lives to free us from slavery and oppression, we have failed ourselves as well, but at least, again I say at least, my brothers and sisters, let us not fail our children yet unborn, let us not fail the future generation, if we do then we doomed indeed.

What do we see today in Africa, we see an African youth who have no hope and no confidence in Africa, what they seek is the ‘’Almighty Green Card’’ because to them it is the source of prosperity and liberation from a dark continent to Europe and America. Not so long ago, a group of Africans drowned next to the island of Malta because they were running away from Africa, not so long ago a group of over 400 Africans drowned in the Mediterranean next to the island of Lampedusa, because they were running away from Africa, this time round Africans are not wailing and kicking as they are been taken away to be enslaved, but this time round they are been seen wailing and kicking as they seek to enslave themselves in Europe and America, this is the tragedy of Africa.
Africa must wake up, Africa must arise, we have won enough Olympic medals in the wrong things like poverty and diseases and corruption, it is time to forge ahead towards a bright future, Africa is not poor, Africa is the richest continent on earth, the wealth of a Nation is measured by Gold reserves, and Africa is the source of the Gold. We are poor because we have allowed ourselves to be depraved in our thoughts and in our thinking. I could have gone on and on, but wisdom will not be served if I go on and on, wisdom will only be served if I stop now, because too much words adds little contribution to formal logic.

Atchulo Joseph
The writer is the founder of Rising World Initiative (RWI), a movement designed to instill in the youth the spirit of entrepreneurship and creative thinking.