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Opinions of Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Columnist: Amuna, Paul

Why the President Must show Decisive Leadership

Tackling Corruption: Why the President Must show Decisive Leadership

By Dr Paul Amuna

Is it simply a turf war, two elephants fighting or signs of a kingdom divided? The issue of corruption is one that must be recognised be government including the presidency, and the president must be seen to be leading in rooting it out. The apparent ‘rough and tumble’ exchanges between Messrs Bagbin and Dogbe, both part of the NDC government of President Mahama seems to suggest the latter.

You do not need another member of the president's cabinet/team to point that out. It is therefore wholly foolish and inappropriate for the presidency or the director of communications to seek to condemn another member of the government when he deems it fit to air his views in public.

After all the president in various speeches has sought to highlight the fact that corruption exists in various forms and some of us have agreed with that assertion. The trouble is: is it enough just to mention it or rather better to DO SOMETHING SERIOUS, TANGIBLE AND CREDIBLE about it?

Unless the president acts DECISIVELY and AUTHORITATIVELY on the issue of corruption, sparing no one (even if it means within his own 'nuclear household', then so he must otherwise he is in danger of being tied with the same brush (even is he is not in fact corrupt himself).

Whilst I think some advice to the president is best given in private (including from his own appointees), it is also quite appropriate in my view for issues of such national importance to be aired in public if those who wish to see these matters tackled decisively feel frustrated that the process is too slow.

There are little glimpses of the government's attempt to address issues of corruption and a number of individuals and organisations have been under the spotlight lately. However there are simply too many of these issues and the number of people involved is protean requiring root and branch approaches, perhaps via a PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON CORRUPTION to really bring the message home to bear significantly on those found culpable.

For me it must be ZERO TOLERANCE for corruption and even if my own sibling in a position of authority is found wanting, trust me, I will act and do so decisively in the interests of the State and to serve as an example and send out a clear message that the business of good governance is accountability at all levels.

The fact is, we do not need the barrel of a gun, in short the military or a dictatorship to 'CLEAN OR KEEP THE HOUSE IN ORDER'. WHAT WE NEED ARE MEN AND WOMEN OF INTEGRITY AND CREDIBILITY with no 'skeletons in their cupboards' willing and able to take on this fight. Ghanaians rather respect and admire those who stand for the truth and who are prepared to stick their neck out or 'tackle the bull (corruption) by the horn.

I support the call for the president to show leadership in dealing with the issue of corruption and though it may hurt people even close to him, in the long run Ghanaians and posterity will judge him kindly for such a BRAVE ACT OF LEADERSHIP.

It is wholly wrong for 'boot lickers' and 'yes men' to surround the president and / or seek to 'mislead' him and that is something he ought to be aware of, and to be weary of. It is better to listen to those who will tell the truth to your face.

I may add also that there are many both in and out of government, from all the various parties who are mired in corruption to their necks and so the root and branch approach will have to be ruthless, and know no personalities nor do any favours to anyone.

Ours is a democracy and for it to function properly and for all to feel they are partakers of it, we need to transform both our thinking (renewing of the mind) and our way of doing things including politics, business, education and even how we run our homes.

The 'everybody de chop for him work side' mentality has never worked, will never work and remains part of our core problem as a nation state. The comparison with what pertains in other countries is both a redundant argument and a foolish way of saying just because we 'chop' less than others makes it right.

I believe we can achieve a decent status quo where people abhor corruption, cheating, bribery and all other forms of ill which affects our governance, irrespective of the trappings and the temptations that come with them.

I would also like to see the day when an intelligent, qualified woman willing to work for their country, a corporation or set up a business will not need to do any favours to anyone in an influential position in order to make a headway. Surely, even such immoral behaviours are at the heart of the corruption we talk about and in this sense, trust me, there are many all over the country who are equally GUILTY.

It is never too late to reverse the status quo and transform our nation of massive 'mega church-goers' and zealous worshippers of all faiths, who are religious on Sundays and during days of prayer camps, fasts and religious 'crusades' but on a daily basis rely on the trappings of ill-gotten fodder as a means of 'making it (wa ye yie).

Let us stand out and be counted folks!!! Let us rise above corruption in all its forms and I admonish the president to take the lead and demonstrate his personal passion and commitment for this ZERO TOLERANCE approach, and let us follow in his example as he leads. Being ‘mild-mannered’ no matter how tough you are inside, and delegating to the ‘wrong guys’ to ‘do the job’ of bringing those whose hands are ‘dirty’ to book is not nearly enough, we need more from you Mr President.