Welcome to Ghana Pundit: The Home of Politics and Intelligent Analysis


Grab the widget  Tech Dreams

Insist on Your Right to Education

Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Random Acts of Corruption: A National Malady with Enduring Consequences.

The air in Ghana has become harder to breathe, not because of insidious climate change but from being poisoned with a new gas called “corruptogen”, which has reduced the available amount of Oxygen available to the ordinary citizen. During a 2 week visit Kwame casually, heard, observed or experienced the following events without any effort on his part.

On arrival at Kotoka Airport on the morning of Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday, while Akan – speaking Kwame was being processed in the “Other Nationals” line, he overheard the fellow passenger in the adjoining booth saying “I don’t have anything small right now” in response to a demand for cash from the immigration officer dealing with a fellow traveler. It was eventually resolved with “Here’s my mobile number. Call me when you close.”

Later that evening, Abena learnt that her friend’s nephew who had been arrested over a year ago for printing fake $100 US bills was overseas for an extended holiday. How had he managed this feat? For $2000.00, the police had repeatedly told the judge they were still “gathering evidence” whenever the case came up in court.

As the week went on, Paapa learnt from his physician friend that when Ghana government auditors showed up at his hospital, they began by offering to cover up any problems they would find if he agreed to play ball. He said he wasn’t a soccer star!

Not long after, Kwame had to make a quick trip to Takoradi. At Öbi “Nyim Okyena near Elmina, he was stopped for driving above the 50 mph speed limit. The kind officer seeing he was a big man in a hurry suggested that if he wanted to proceed, he knew “what to do”. Variations of this theme repeated itself many times that day. At the Weija toll gate, his co- passenger Kwasi was fumbling for the woefully inadequate 5p fee when the officer in the booth, growing impatient said “It’s alright, drive on!” Did he have the right to deny the state of the 5p? How many times a day does he exhibit this largesse at the expense of the taxpayer?

Then came Kwabena, a young vibrant Ghanaian young man full of promise, who had just relocated to Ghana after completing his Masters in Business administration in California. He had arrived without his California driver’s licence so he announced that he had to take a driver’s test. Later that day he returned home and was asked perfunctorily by his uncle how things went. He reported that he explained his circumstances to the testing officer before the road test began. After a few short minutes, he was bewildered as the officer blurted exclaimed “Bail yourself out!” as he was driving. It took him a few seconds to realize that he was not being accused of a crime but that the officer wanted to receive a cash payment to dispense with the formality of the process.

At the hospital where Maame was visiting her sick brother, he was not the only vulnerable person in the system. The nurses openly asked to be “looked after”, which care if not delivered in hard currency would affect the care her brother was to receive. Did someone mention professionalism? Please go to the cemetery where she resides. It’s so sad that it is laughable.

While Maame was trying to figure out who needed more care at the hospital, two strangers called Mabey and Johnson entered the premises. They had just plead guilty to the crime of being generous to many Ghanaian and other politicians in a foreign land with a reputable court system to which our court system could credibly claim to be related in years gone by. At an agonizingly slow rate and after a lot of legal gyrations and jet –setting, two ministers in the present government resigned because of the kindness of these strangers who were supposedly experts in building bridges.

The CHRAJ is now to determine if crimes have been committed for which punishment must be doled out. Now, if President Mills doesn’t find a serious way to reduce the amount of “corruptogen” in the air, we will all be suffocated in this dear land of ours even before we lick our lips from tasting the much vaunted Black Gold from Nzema. All these problems have a simple solution. After Singapore and Malaysia cleared their air of “corruptogen”, look how rapidly they developed. President Mills is at a point where he is being called to become a great leader not just a president. There is a big difference. He needs to engage the services of the likes of Lee Kuan Yew, Minister Mentor of Singapore and there will be no turning back.

With visionary and strong leadership the air has been cleared of “corruptogen” in many countries. Nothing is more important than the very air we breathe. Let’s hope that in the bidding war between Exxon Mobil and CNOOC of China for the Kosmos stake in the Jubilee Field, the M & J kind of generosity does not become a bridge to disaster for our country. The lesson for the President, all his men and women is simple. No one representing the state should receive gifts for the work they do, while employed by the people of Ghana. The argument that these large sums of money were paid as gifts begs for a decent explanation. In many countries, it is required by law that all gifts received in ones official capacity are surrendered to the state. In order to serve the state with diligence and fidelity, public servants can have no other interests. If the do, they must not be in public service.

The task of ending this pandemic in our country will require more than a “business as usual” bureaucratic approach. It requires creative leadership and believable and effective interventions along with fearless enforcement. Others have done it. So can we, if we are sincere about changing our society for the common good and speedy development. This administration is reminded that “legacy is better than currency”.
Prof. T. P. Manus Ulzen tulzen@yahoo.com

No comments:

Ghana Pundit Headline News

E-mail subscription

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Pan Africa News

Graphic Ghana


Peacefm Online - News with a vision

The Times - World News

The Times - Africa News

Pambazuka News :Emerging powers in Africa Watch

AfricaNews - RSS News

The Zimbabwe Telegraph

BBC News | Africa | World Edition

Modern Ghana

My Blog List