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Opinions of Thursday, 15 March 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Why 7th December 2016 will go down in history as Ghana’s day of redemption

The Founding Fathers of Ghana, as a matter of fact, were real patriots whose blood and toil won for us the desired independence on 7th March 1957.

Our forebears, so to speak, sought to resist the coloniser’s suppression, which in my opinion, was a laudable feat by all counts. However, as to whether the vast majority of Ghanaians have regained their economic and fundamental freedoms and the inalienable human rights following Ghana’s independence, is a million dollar question that would be opened to different interpretations.

Well, if you were to enquire about my honest and dispassionate opinion on patriotism; I would venture to state that the Founding Fathers were the real patriots, who deserve every commendation for taking it upon themselves to elbow their way through for our ultimate freedom from the British.

Ghana’s independence, I must sadly admit though, will remain meaningless, so long as we continue to elect leaders who have no foresight, and are corrupt, greedy and incompetent.

You may take my word for it, dearest reader, this is not an endorsement of former President Mahama’s most recent infamous greedy pigs aspersions, far from it, but I would dare stress that in similitude to George Orwell’s animal farm narrative, Ghana’s independence has largely benefited, and continues to benefit only a few-the greedy and corrupt politicians and other public servants.

Whichever way you may look at it, it has been an illustrative case of “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Take, for instance, in spite of the economic hardships, some greedy and apathetic politicians have been living opulent lifestyles to the detriment of the penniless Ghanaians. The officials of the erstwhile NDC government, purportedly, squandered Ghana’s scarce resources to the detriment of the poor Ghanaians as if there was no tomorrow.

Not long ago, a competent court of jurisdiction convicted two of the several suspects in the infamous GYEEDA corruption scandal and sentenced them to six and twelve years respectively.

But to echo the sentiments of concerned Ghanaians, the sins of the two convicts are indeed meagre in comparison with the other scandalous corruption cases which took place in the erstwhile Mahama administration.

We should, however, take solace in the fact that the current Attorney General is seriously working towards bringing the suspects to book. Just yesterday (14th March 2018) the State filed a case of causing financial loss against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited.

If you may recall, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks came under the spotlight for numerous bribery and corruption allegations, inter alia, ‘the furtive gift (the Ford Expedition Vehicle) from the Burkinabe Contractor Djabril Kanazoe, the Embraer 190 scandal, Armajaro, SADA, GYEEDA, SUBA Info Solutions amongst others.

It is also true that if the corrupt officials of the erstwhile NDC government had not embezzled the funds meant for various developmental projects, Akufo-Addo’s government would have undertaken a lot of developmental projects, including the expansion of the free SHS to cover all the students in forms 1 to 3.

Dearest reader, have we paused and ruminate over how the huge funds involved in the bribery and corruption scandals in the SSNIT, SUBA, SADA, GYEEDA, Woyome, the Brazil world cup, the infamous bus branding, NSS, amongst others would have funded a lot of infrastructural projects?

Given the circumstances, the sceptics could not have belied the facts for suggesting that if discerning Ghanaians had not intervened by showing the NDC administration the exit during the 7th December 2016 election, the rampant sleazes and corruption would have wiped out Ghana off the world map entirely.

Back then, due to the repulsive activities of the greedy and corrupt officials, innocent citizens ended up experiencing economic hardships, starvation, depression, emotional labour and squalor which sent the vast majority to their early graves.

And rightly so, many observers harbour a strong view that Ghana’s current economic meltdown emanated from the unbridled sleazes and gargantuan corruptions which were perpetrated by the officials of the outgone NDC administration.

Somehow, my long held conviction, which might appear to many observers as an isolated thinker’s thought process, has nonetheless been reinforced by the Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

It says that the NDC Party lost the election largely due to the rampant sleazes and gargantuan corruptions.

“In countries like Ghana, which is the second worst decliner in the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index in Africa, the dissatisfaction of citizens with the government’s corruption record was reflected in their voting at the polls.

“Despite being a model for stability in the region, Ghana, together with another six African countries, has significantly declined. The rampant corruption in Ghana led citizens to voice their frustrations through the election, resulting in an incumbent president losing for the first time in Ghana’s history (CPI 2016).”

It is, however, really depressing to witness an opposition party whose responsibility is to provide a credible opposition, and yet disappointingly turning away from its core duty and rather engaging in needless public chat shows.

It is also quite disappointing and somewhat hypocritical that the supposedly anti-corruption crusaders have blatantly refused to speak against the alleged bribery and corruption scandals such as SSNIT, NCA, Ibrahim Mahama’s contemptible tax evasion, the infamous Bus Branding, Brazil World Cup, the Ford Expedition vehicle, GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $200million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee.

Dearest reader, if such a bizarre attitude does not amount to double standards, what is it then?

Make no mistake, corruption hinders the economic, social and political advancement of a country. But despite its negative effects, it would be unthinkable for anybody to suggest that corruption can be wiped out completely from the surface of this planet, let alone in Ghana.

Corruption is, as a matter of fact, a human foible, and therefore, you are likely to find some voracious individuals blissfully indulging in it.

With all due respect, while it is not so easy to stop other criminals from committing heinous crimes, it is also difficult for any leader to stop ravenous individuals from indulging in corrupt practices.

However, what any serious, committed and forward thinking leader could do is to seek to enforce the existing laws as strictly as possible.

It is, however, worthy of note that exposure, prevention and deterrence are the useful tools for combating the canker of corruption.

I have always maintained that Ghanaians are not distant apart in attitudes and behaviours from other human beings elsewhere because we are all susceptible to human foibles.

But what makes the people elsewhere much more responsible than a Ghanaian is the rigidity of their state institutions and the effective laws and regulations.

Take, for example, elsewhere, the laws and regulations are strictly enforced, and as such the vast majority of the citizens and denizens prefer the observance to the stringent fines and the harsh comeuppance.

In truth, given the wanton sleazes and corruption which took place in the erstwhile NDC administration, we can reasonably infer that misunderstanding of true patriotism exists in the minds of the vast majority of the modern day politicians, who would more often than not, choose party and personal interests over the national interests.

Paradoxically, however, in Ghana, greedy and corrupt officials are held in high esteem by the ever so nodding and unsuspecting party loyalists for stealing from the national purse at the expense of the suffering masses.

It would, however, appear that we, Ghanaians, and Africans as a whole, are possessed with bootlicking characteristic of a morally degraded mind which dislikes anything that comes with honesty and integrity.

Corollary, our leaders, having first-hand knowledge of our servile compliance and hero-worshipping nonsense, tend to take us for granted and continue to dip their hands into the national coffers as if there is no tomorrow.

Let us admit, and rightly so, we definitely need attitudinal and behavioural change, for we must not and cannot keep on electing and hero worshipping individuals who are so corrupt and cannot see their backsides from their elbows.

K. Badu, UK.