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Opinions of Sunday, 24 December 2017

Columnist: Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem

Should government fund campaigns of all political parties to fight corruption?

Few weeks ago, I read with bemusement and dissatisfaction about the IEA and GII initiative to, as part of the efforts to fight and alleviate if not eradicate corruption in our social milieu as a people, organize an anti-corruption debate among tertiary students in their various campuses' Parliaments to celebrate the "anti-corruption initiative' day.

The selected universities included the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast and University for Development Studies UDS.

We appreciate the government efforts to coup-de-grace the oldest canker that has amputated our general welfare since independence.

It is indeed a bold step in the right direction considering the nauseating degrees of greed and corruption in our country at least since the inception of the Fourth Republic.

But for how long must we reduce the fight against corruption to the mere podium?

Is expressing our disgust at the practice of corruption the only sine-qua-non in its fight?

Why do we always declare war on corruption then do worst and unthinkable behind closed doors?

President Akufo-Addo is doing well fighting the menace but corruption is not a headless monstrous animal that the president can make good use of article 32 of the 1992 constitution by declaring a state of emergency and unleashing military to wage war against it.

Corruption is not a rodent that the government can chase to kill and bury forever.

It is the open display of "corrupt conscience" and depleted integrity that requires the only strict practice of rule of law to combat it by any magnanimous, patriotic, and forward and straight thinking leader without twisting the arm of justice!

Until governments stop the continual engagement in an obvious emotional blackmail with issues of corruption, Africa would continue to be miles behind the rest of the world and ironically considered to be the "food basket" of the world.

Corruption can't really be defeated if we continue to identify who is in opposition and those in government in its fight.

The mere declaration of being an anti-corruption crusader on a campaign trail is not enough!

And president Akuffo-Addo is my witness.

It is not the president himself, it is his appointees who helped him catapult into political grace by decent minded Ghanaian voters.

Engaging tertiary students in a national anti-corruption debate to celebrate anti-corruption day is good but what pragmatically can they do to inculcate the traits of patriotism and incorruptibility before joining the corporate landscape?

I think the battle against corruption can't ever be won till the conversion of the Jews if we have commercialized form of leadership.

If people always have to mobilize more resources to "buy" the offices they are coming to serve, Ghana would even attain 160 years still wallowing in underdevelopment!

I believe authorities of tertiary institutions should keep an eye on their students' leadership and make sure that leadership within the student fraternity is not "commodified"!

Students Representative Councils (SRCs) in various tertiary institutions across the country elections must be funded by the Councils themselves to create a level playing ground for all interested students to participate without financial barriers.

Likewise the State itself. I am of the humble opinion that, every government of the day should use State resources to fund campaigns of other political parties to campaign. No political party should pay anything to Electoral Commission. It should be FREE and fair.

People must not use their own resources to vie for public offices. Let the people they are coming to serve take care of it through their taxes.

If people don't use their own resources to occupy public offices, it can minimize and finally push corruption out of the public space.

And after this, anybody caught or convicted culpable of looting the remaining paltry resources of the State must be "crucified"!

Likewise, in the tertiary institutions so as to produce incorruptible graduates.

Students must not be exposed to the dog-eat-dog kind of politics that has characterized our national politics. Otherwise, the nation can only boast of more sophisticated, dangerous, and cruel thieves in few years to come. Because they would mimic the current low, gutter, and uninspiring politics we have been practising since independence.

"Be the change you want to see"

Long live Ghana.