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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Columnist: Asare, Kwame Boahene

On the Bribery of Delegates in our Little Democracy

By: Kwame Boahene Asare

June 16, 2015

I was listening to Adom Radio this morning. And an NPP MP was decrying the fact that some people were adding "duab)" to the bribes they pay to delegates. The "duab)" in this context is when delegates are made to swear while receiving bribes that if they don't vote as they promise while accepting bribes, they submit themselves to punishment from the gods. The MP casually mentioned that everyone pays bribes to delegates. He didn't seem to have an issue with this. His issue was with the "duab)".

Now, the bribery of delegates is a well known fact to all of us. I have been waiting for one political leader to initiate a campaign to end this shameful and stupid practice whereby we bribe our way to political power.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? CORRUPTION LIES AT THE VERY HEART OF THE PROCESS BY WHICH WE SELECT OUR LEADERS!

• How could we demand any good from leaders who had to bribe their way to power?
• How could we ask them to end corruption?
• How could we select the best law makers when we have all accepted that the selection process be based on the ability to bribe?
• How could we allow this rot to last to this day!

And yet as I write, I have not heard the public outcry about this shameful practice? Where are our opinion leaders? The churches? The civil society groups?

We have accepted this as a de facto component of our electoral democratic process. Have we thought about its significance? It's impact? Do we care?

For a sense of context, let us note that there are western countries now that put their own citizens in jail when those citizens are found to have bribed one of our citizens while doing business in our country. Those same western countries will sanction our citizens who are found to be engaged in corruption.
From afar, THEY are taking steps to protect US from the canker of corruption. Real steps. Not just words -- they (even the Brits and the Americans) don't seem to be as enamoured with English are we are. We who only need a little English to feel satisfied in the face of all the problems that swallow us whole.
What are WE doing when the process to select OUR LEADERS is riddled with WIDELY KNOWN and ADMITTED acts of bribery?
The delegate who asks for a bribe and the aspirant who pays the bribe are conspiring to throw our country to the dogs. Do we have a judicial system? Do we have laws? This practice is not hard to stop.
Is there a better use for our prisons that this?