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Accepting Election Bribery as Part of Ghanaian Culture

Thu, 9 Jul 2015 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

Kwaku A. Danso

Dear friends and readers.

Ghanaian society has been under the fear and intimidation of the PNDC military junta for over 33 years now since the brutalities after the Dec.31, 1981 coup. However, every society and her people have to accept and bear the responsibility for what they endure and cope with. We can only blame foreigners so much, and for how many centuries can we be fooled after slavery, colonialism, and now total exploitation of our natural and human resources! We borrow from the World’s financial institution such as the IMF and they tell us to privatize our schools, stop free tuition, sell our state- owned utilities and communication networks, the basic core of our national security, because our leaders refuse to use their minds and our people don’t act to throw them out.

I'd like to share the ff. exchange on our WhatsUp Forum "Widows Mite" (slights edits). Ghanaians know there is open corruption even in voting and yet nobody has made a report or said a word and we keep going! One wonders if the Ministers and MPs on the GLU list could care to comment so we can all find a solution to a problem that they themselves may have been forced to partake without options in order to win their seats, and they knew it was illegal and it was wrong but forced to accept that as a culture.

7/7/15, 1:52:28 PM: Emmanuel Kwame Ameyaw, MD:

Independence, Democracy, sovereignty have no practical meaning to the ordinary Ghanaian. They have only worsened his plight.

7/7/15, 6:28:32 PM: Dr. K. Danso:

So Kwame, Honorable Kwame (we have to give you one of those titles????) what can the people do?

Our culture teaches us that Justice will come from God. When is Onyankopong coming to the rescue of our people paying 50-200% imposed duties, taxes and levies and yet with no planned water, sewage, electricity and clean environments and facilities in the modern age?

Any Ideas welcome!

7/7/15, 9:08:49 PM: Emmanuel Kwame Ameyaw MD:

The only way we can get our leadership to think of developing Ghana is to change the constitution to strip them of all their benefits and rights so that they can feel the economic heat in Ghana just as the civil servants. But how possible? The African politician is financially more comfortable even more than those in Europe and America.

Unfortunately all that our political leadership think about is how to remain in power. And they do anything at all to ensure this. And to do that they accumulate money meant for development till election time and they use it to bribe the people for votes. Example is what has happened at Talensi. The amount of money NDC and NPP have spent on bribery for votes in the past few days on the soil of Talensi could have developed Talensi district and taken the indigenous people out of poverty.

So what is the value of leadership to the ordinary, rural poor Ghanaian? It is totally meaningless. Our leaders are wicked and callous.

All the headship we are experiencing in Ghana now is the result of leadership culture in Ghana. Mahama and his people are keeping all the money they can amass as much as possible to buy votes in 2016 rather than sinking it into the economy to protect the cedi to make life a little bearable for the people. In 2016 we will see the money they will pour into the country to win the election. And they will be matched by NPP. So the suffering and hardship will continue

7/8/15, 7:51:16 AM: Dr. K. Danso:

Kwame, but the people are aware and nobody raises the question about bribery being illegal and they take the money! And the givers give! And onlookers clap and walk away!

Prof. Ayittey used to say our leaders are stupid and buffoons; but maybe it's the people of Ghana who are easily fooled! And hence stupid! Nobody reports police corruption! Nobody reports passport office personnel accepting bribes in order to renew passports or issue new ones!

Nobody reports candidates offering open bribes to delegates! It’s the People!! The MPs and politicians are the smart ones - maybe won’t call them moral and ethical people - who know the weaknesses of our people and exploit them!

Of course you may say "who do you report them to?

I don't know all the answers but I bet if all the many so-called Think-Tanks and NGOs, IMANI, Institute of Economic Affairs, Institute of Democratic Reforms, etc., Ghana Bat Association, all stood up, the President, even a corrupt one, would be pushed to call on the BNI and CID to do something! Why do we pay taxes to pay these Police and BNI and other investigators when they cannot even do these basics of crime investigations?

Ghanaians I think have a culture that allows dictatorship! It may not be that our people are that stupid but perhaps we are used to it from our culture and don't even see and understand the meaning and value of this whole new way of self-governance and our rights to even question our leaders when water and electricity and sewage and so forth we pay taxes for are not being delivered.

Some of us overseas can only weep for Ghana so much and then go about our own business! We can only pray that some of the youth will honestly and sincerely know they have rights and stand up!! We can reduce our investments in Ghana and perhaps, like me, delay trips to Ghana due to dumsor. However that is not enough! The people themselves have to stand up! And even if they do, who do they complain to?

Every society develop their culture of survival. White people cannot save us. Many of them are Christians and sincere and care but the white man perhaps meets our leaders all dressed up at the UN and other international meetings and simply laugh at us as “ignorant African fools”! The big rich boys of course go to Church but from Monday to Saturday they want us to act like fools, dictators in democratic clothing, as they come and exploit us for the oil and gold and could care less if our people starve to death! Our NGOs and Think-Tanks, Professional Associations such as the Ghana Bar Association, and various pressure groups ought to stand up and demand investigations to curb this bribery in our politics! Period! It is ridiculous for a small town that cannot even produce enough local revenue to build a $100,000 school building to spend say $500,000 on elections! Ridiculous!

Kwaku A. Danso

President – Ghana Leadership Union, Inc.

Moderator, GLU Forum

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.