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Opinions of Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Columnist: Ghanaian Chronicle

The Tap Root of Corruption

by Clement Sangaparee

African countries including Ghana opted for democracy which means a government of the people, by the people and for the people - however I stand to be corrected if I have given the wrong quotation. Africans imported democracy from Western Countries but cannot practice it because it debases our culture.

Therefore if, for example, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the Yagbonwura, the Ya Naa, Togbe Dagadu of Volta Region or Amoatia Ofori Panin of Kyebi and Nii Amugi of Accra,- all great Kings of Ashanti, Bole, Dagbon, Volta Region and Accra respectively would sit in state and call their people and subjects together and inform them to find or choose dedicated MEN and WOMEN to represent their areas of jurisdiction with honesty, dedication, commitment and loyalty to the people for the speedy development of their various regions, and some men and women come out in their numbers to dish out corn mills, cars, mobile phones, bicycles, motor-bikes, roofing sheets and RAW CASH to Nananom (the various kings) who are custodians of the land to SEND them as the true representatives of the people who will represent them faithfully with honesty dedication, commitment and loyalty to the people, what will be your impression about all those who gave out such gifts including millions of cedis to these honourable chiefs? I will NOT comment on it but the reader must answer it for him/herself.

This has been happening in Ghana since independence and it has assumed alarming proportions since the ruling NPP government won the 2000 elections questionably.

The MONEYCRACY, INSTEAD OF DEMOCRACY has engulfed all the political parties nationwide to the extent that the highest bidder and NOT patriotic people who are committed and loyal to their various political parties in this country rush to contest for positions; and if this trend should continue, without state funding of political parties there will be a time when minority political parties would cease to exist because their party members would NOT get such huge amounts of money to bribe their treacherous constituency executives as well as the entire electorate in order to win their various parliamentary seats.

Some people may NOT understand the main reason why I described constituency executives in the various political parties as treacherous and I will explain it in simple terms like this.

In all the constitutions of the various political parties, it is spelt out clearly in black and white that constituency executives must remain neutral and allow as many contestants as possible to collect their nomination forms and contest the parties' primaries. Does the executives in the various political parties comply with these directives the answer is a capital NO.

FACTIONS

Rather most executives of the various political parties form factions in their various constituencies nationwide and secretly or at times openly campaign for their preferred candidate who may win the primaries and turn out to become liability to the constituency and not an assets as it happened at Bekwai in the Ashanti region in May this year.

Yes, the candidate has won the primaries alright, but the electorate who are to vote for him to go to parliament are demonstrating against his victory and since he cannot be dropped, the end result will see his party supporters voting skirt and blouse and a different member from another political party will eventually become the MP for Bekwai whether the NPP likes it or not.

This writer is an executive member of one of the registered political parties in Ghana and he knows what he is talking about. At Bogoso constituency, the secretary deliberately deleted the names of 12 delegates from the list and a dynamic popular candidate lost the primaries.

At Nhyiaso, a suburb of Kumasi, a constituency secretary played hide and seek with an aspiring parliamentary candidate with the aim of preventing him from even buying the forms to fill and contest the primaries until he tracked that wicked secretary's car to Suame and deflated all its four tires before the Regional Executive members of that party intervened in the impasse and that shameless secretary released the party forms to the candidate. Earlier on, that particular secretary had rang the aspirant that he was in Accra while infact he was in Kumasi.

AMENDMENT AND SANCTIONS

If most Ghanaians complain that politics is a dirty game it is very true as demonstrated by the various constituencies of all parties during their parliamentary primaries nationwide. At Akwatia, the founder of a political party openly stated that a particular candidate contested parliamentary elections twice and lost, so they should not vote for him since he was a liability to the party - but that particular candidate won the primaries convincingly and will go on to win the seat for his party alright, I am 100% sure of that this time around all political parties should therefore put clauses in their party constitutions which would enable their parties to dismiss constituency executives who take sides directly or indirectly in support of some parliamentary candidates to the detriment of others.

When the parties insert such clauses in their party constitutions, it will instill discipline and check those treacherous stomach politicians in the various constituencies who by their selfish and jealous behaviours cannot identify a political disaster when they see one, because parliamentary candidates are elected and NOT IMPOSED OR APPOINTED in the constituencies as most party executives believe; so if politics is a dirty game, it is the general behavior of all political party executives and their utterances which makes it NOT only dirty, but very shameful and destructive leaving those who cannot stand the stench of insults, blackmail, backbiting, pull him down tribalism, jealousy, treachery and holier than thou attitude in the various constituencies to shy away from politics in the country.

POST PRIMARIES

It is now an open secret that after a lucky candidate wins the parliamentary primaries, all the constituency candidates must come together to throw their weight behind him to win the seat for his/her party but are they doing that?

I remember a particular constituency in which the organizer openly stated that once his sister had lost the parliamentary primaries, he will resign from the party altogether and since then he has not been active in party activities to support the winner.

The parliamentary candidate after winning the primaries will have to meet chiefs, opinion leaders, church leaders, civil society, groups, attend funeral ceremonies, outdoorings and social groups at their invitations or even write to inform them that he wants to meet then at their own convenient time. After meeting them, instead of listening to his manifesto or programme for the constituency if elected to parliament, most social groups DEMAND MONEY FROM HIM - WHY? The answer is very simple, do you remember that some prominent kings and chiefs met their people and decided to send a honest dedicated man/woman to represent their interests in their various Regions or constituencies, and you BRIBED YOUR WAY with cash and other properties to go and represent them in parliament?

You must pay the ordinary people too, where will you get the money now and what is the guarantee that all those who collect your money, mobile phones, corn mills or motor-bikes would even vote for you?

Is it therefore surprising that some losing contestants go round with schnapps demanding their monies from delegates or they invoke some river gods to curse them? Yes, this is Ghana's democracy at its best.

Therefore, the TAP ROOT of corruption starts from our parliamentary primaries right into parliament and most MP's must resort to FAIR and FOUL means to RECOUP their huge investments in politics, reap profits before thinking of their constituencies that they represent, so no wonder that nothing positive is happening in most constituencies and BIG FISHES are falling like mangoes in those constituencies. It is the FAILURE of the CLERGY and our TRADITIONAL RULERS to talk against corruption in the society that breeds and encourages corruption daily and who suffers. The ordinary man in the street and millions of rural dwellers. These two bodies must wake up and talk tough and stop playing the ostrich because Ghana's parliament is now for sale to the highest bidder and NOT the poor who qualifies. We must change this notion once and for all.

CONCLUSION - THE NATIONAL PLEDGE

All educated Ghanaians past and present as well as those who are still in school from class one right up to the Junior High and Senior High schools to the university always recite the National Pledge. "I promise on my Honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana, my mother land. Yes, we always promise on our honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana. Fair enough.

As politicians in Ghana, are we really faithful and loyal to Ghana by deceiving Ghanaians with sugar coated promises that has never been fulfilled? Are we faithful and loyal to Ghana by deceiving the people in order to climb to the top? Are we really faithful and loyal to the country by practicing two laws in Ghana - one for members of the ruling party and the other law for members of the opposition parties in Ghana? Are we faithful and loyal to Ghana when members of the security agencies beat people to death in police cells and brutalize defenseless citizens with impunity?

Are we faithful and loyal to Ghana when politicians continue to black mail each other in order to achieve their own selfish ends leading to a former convicted drug baron describing a former law professor as a poodle and a never do well in society? Well! If you lie to a child, you have abused the minds of many generations to come, teach the child the truth, because it is only the truth that will free their minds forever.

The children are watching and copying us very well because we are telling them to IGNORE our national pledge of being faithful and loyal to Ghana, but rather to indulge in lies, fraud, dishonesty, bribe their way to the top when it comes to district assembly elections, parliamentary primaries, and Presidential primaries in this country. In short, we are directly telling them that it is a crime to speak the truth and fight crime in Ghana.

Are we faithful and loyal to Ghana when false witnesses are paid GH¢5.00 to incriminate hardworking police officers in Ghana as cocaine dealers, and when the truth comes out, these false witnesses later apologies to the affected police officer? Whom do we blame now? Answer:

1) Our traditional rulers called chiefs who are the natural rulers and custodians of the land, and they command the whole population.

2) The clergy comes in handy as the second group who are the direct representatives of God and they also command a sizeable population. Do we really have God fearing MEN and WOMEN in Ghana?

I will not answer it but leave it to the reading public to answer for Ghanaians even though it is a very simple answer. Posterity will NEVER FORGIVE the present ADULT generation in Ghana if we allow this country to go haywire and finally collapse.

The world president Dr. Rawlings and his wife - Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings have been turning and rolling on their beds day and night with sleepless nights to match even though they are not yet dead. No one knows the reason why but this writer knows that it is because of the above reasons.

Therefore, when Jerry Rawlings sneezes, it is described as a boom speech and a particular editor has used his name and speeches to sell his paper daily to make money by describing Dr. Rawlings and his wife-the iron lady -as DEMONS, since January 2001 to 2008 without anybody or any cadre, any member of the December 31st women's movement protesting or defending them. Come on fellow cadres, are you trained to be cowards? We must wake up from our slumber because Ghana is going on a sharp reverse gear, so I ask the famous question, QUO VADIS GHANA?

I am done, but I will soon be back ONLY when our honourable traditional rulers and the clergy come out to tell Ghanaians the way forward. These three Honourable gentlemen should also explain to Ghanaians whether parliament is for sale in Ghana or not. They are the speaker of Parliament, the Majority leader and the minority leader in parliament. We hope to hear from them favourably.

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