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Opinions of Monday, 25 November 2013

Columnist: Bayor, Cephas Kanyiri

Who is watching the watchman?

It was in my JHS 3 class when my social studies teacher told me that Ghana is "an elephant meat". When it gets to your time, cut as large as you can chop and move on…. I now realise he was right. A working visit to CEPS by the immediate past President of Ghana, the late Prof. J. E. A. Mills lamented in his speech “Every day we hear reports about malpractices, people collecting bribes with careless abundance - people who think they are entitled to take bribes". When we keep on doing the same things all the time, we should not expect any different result. In Ghana we have made it a condition that people should give money before services are rendered to them especially in the public sector. Corruption has been covered up and the rot permitted to continue at all levels of the Ghanaian society. Everyone is trying to make the most of the other. The average Ghanaian can elaborate all the problems in Ghana but simply lack the will to solve them when there is an opportunity. The big question is “Who is watching the watchman?”

Government properties are handled carelessly. In Ghana, public workers or officials do not protect government properties; since it belongs to the government they rather handle them carelessly. Government drivers drive on rough roads just as fast as they drive on good roads. They do not make a distinction between potholes and good roads because they know that they will not have to pay for the repairs. If it is public property, the Ghanaian worker will handle it carelessly. No wonder government cars wear out faster than commercial vehicles. Government properties and vehicles break down more frequently than our own and it is not because of usage but because of carelessness. Office furniture becomes write-offs, computers break down more frequently and government buildings become death traps simply because they lack proper usage, supervision and maintenance.

That is not all; in Ghana no policeman will dare arrest a politician or a big man. A big man in Ghana does not only refer to age, but to position and authority. It is an unspoken law that you simply do not arrest an important man in Ghana especially if he is a politician. When a big man or a politician breaks the law, they get cover especially when their party is in power. Our big men and politicians sometimes turn to undermine our legal system but however seek to use the same system and defend it, thereby enhancing bribery and corruption.

It is an established fact that the Ghanaian society demands absolute respect for these big men and politicians and so forbid us from questioning any action, statement, decision and even the motives of them. Coupled with this let’s assume that once someone becomes a big man or politician, all his actions, decisions and motives are noble. So under normal circumstances no committee of enquiry in Ghana will find a big man guilty if he can be helped. In Ghana therefore our big men or politicians are clothed with automatic integrity, decency and dignity and any attempt to question that integrity and nobility is regarded as disrespectful and unacceptable. Our young people cannot see how they can make it in Ghana because they have been destroyed by someone higher who felt threatened by the youths’ prospects.

Addition to that, our big men or politicians will always cover each other and speak a lot of “fine-fine” English to us. The only time they attempt to do their duty is when the media keeps a matter alive, let the media moved on to another issue and the matter is left behind.

Anytime there is a problem committees of enquiry are set up and as usual it is always constituted by high powered and experience persons but nothing comes out of their finding. What we usually hear is that investigations are still on going and this can take several months and even years. Watch the outcomes and findings of the many committees of enquiry and the way certain allegations against corruption have been handled and you will understand what I mean. Aside all these problems we still give ourselves awards for excellence, aren’t we ashamed of ourselves?

The Judges also are frustrating Ghanaians, criminals are granted bail in court even when all evidence connects them. The Police will gather enough intelligence on criminals, arrest them some time at night despite the risk involve and when they are sent to court they are granted bail. An example is a case in Kumasi the Ashanti region , where the KMA court granted bail to three suspected armed robbers standing trial of murder and robbery although the police had gathered and presented enough evidence that links them to the crime. These robbers were arrested in connection the robbing and murder a security man at Bantama Ash-food court hotel. In most cases the Police will provide all evidence needed in their trial but some Judges are making money out of the pains and sweat of complainants and the Police. A time will come where the Police will go to sleep and we all will live under the command of these criminals.

In some cases the police turn to do us more harm than good by lancing with suspects or team up with the court to release criminals and at the end of the day they are out there terrorizing people again. The police on its own are making money out of these criminals and granting them bail without proper prosecution, thereby giving them the opportunity to committee more crimes. Their investigations end there after granting bail and even if investigations continue it wouldn't be proper enough to convict them. Sometimes instead of the Police to go after these criminals rather go to them for monies making room for them to operate or allow them to escape. The Police on the other hand will relent in its work hence conduct poor investigations into cases reported.

We shouldn’t put all the blame on the police because they sometimes do not get Justice anytime criminals are put before court. This I think has compelled the Police to now sometimes open fire on suspected criminals and the result - some innocent people are killed. A typical example is that of Winneba in the central region, where policemen mistook their colleagues for suspected armed robbers and opened fire on them, killing them instantly.

In Ghana you cannot get anything done without paying a bribe, this include getting admission into schools, to get a bed at the hospital when admitted, etc. The person who wants to protect the interest of the state against the corruption of greedy people is given a bad name and sent parking. People who stand up against corruption in any setting are framed up and dismissed and those who did that get away with it. Why do these things happen? Who is going to make society a better place? – it begins with you.

By: BAYOR, Cephas Kanyiri

Kumasi, Ghana


Tel: +233245001658

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