Opinions Mon, 15 Oct 2012

Routing out Corruption from Ghanaian Society?

Nana Addo and his NPP have the way Forward.

Corruption has been a strong topical issue not only in Ghanaian politics but also in most social discussions, suggesting that the society appears to have been corrupt beyond redemption from the canker but I believe that, Ghanaian society and its institutions can be relatively corrupt-free or as minimally corrupt as any country of the Western World. This piece aims to look at the climate that breeds corruption and assesses what measures various administrations have ever put in place to combat it and also to test the waters if the prevailing wind that carries the pathogen can either be averted or cleansed of the germ.

Looking closely at the world around us, there is a clear distinction between Eastern and Western socio-political and institutional outlook on issues of socio-ethical advancement and corruption. Whereas the institutions of most developed Western countries are minimally corrupt, most or all the institutions of Eastern and developing countries are very corrupt. The reason for these differences can be found in socio-political and economic ideologies that can have serious telling influence on society and its institutions. A typical example can be seen in the difference between property-owning democracies as against the democracies, dictatorships or totalitarian regimes of the Eastern and developing countries of the world. Whereas the former are relatively affluent and enlightened the latter are riddled with poverty, high levels of illiteracy and ultimately corruption. Therefore, the first stop at combatting corruption can be located at the spread of economic justice, fight illiteracy and poverty together. By economically empowering the citizenry through creating enabling environments that would foster social affluence, people work hard for themselves as proud property owners. Coupled with broad social interventional support, more and more people aim at and afford to become enlightened as in big society concepts of Western democracies. Conversely, a socio-political and economic system that immerses itself in dirigisme not only trails along with it a socio-economic system of total dependency on State subvention but also dependency on others; resulting in putting over-burdened strain on the State and its limited resources as in many banana republics. Common sense tells us that when so many chases so few, corruption in all its colours come alive as in most former communist societies of Eastern Europe. This is reasoned from a simple elementary economic theory as well as from simple observation and simple common sense reasoning

The NDC as a Party is made up of unconscious ideologues and insincere political practitioners who profess social democracy but practice self-centred extreme oligarchy when in power, also best described as common sense egoism. These are people who not only envy but are wistful to become elites and affluent yet by the adage of sour grapes point at elite and affluent individuals with venomous odium, in which case they would cheat and thieve State resources to be thus at the least opportunity.

Nana Addo, the most promising candidate to lead Ghana out of NDC misrule into a future socio-economic bliss has been constantly attacked by detractors as being of an elite and affluent extraction therefore he feels no empathy for the poor and needy Ghanaian public. In rebutting this baseless and infantile assertion, I can state emphatically that, Nana Addo is so principled and has a most sympathetic heart towards the poor and oppressed like that of C19th American President, Abraham Lincoln who though married to Miss Todd the daughter of a ‘slaveocrat’, he strongly opposed slavery and its spread in America, initiated its abolition and called for emancipated compensation. Nana Addo has the heart of the Albanian nun, Agnes Gonxa Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa), who devoted her entire time to charity for the poor irrespective of her elite and affluent background; her father was an affluent businessman who owned a building company and a food shop. Unlike Yosef Vissarionvich Djvugashvili, alias Josef Stalin who professed respite for the poor and oppressed yet terrorised and scorned millions, the most monstrous cruel revolutionary dictator the world has ever seen. Others are Carl Marx who was a failure in everything he ventured to achieve success so found vocabulary strong enough to condemn self-made successes. The world sees the most cruel and oppressive rulers such as Napoleon to have come from poor background who have no regard for the indigent. Such are NDC members.

It is not uncommon to notice that the indigent who rises to power wantonly uses the power so acquired to illicitly exploit, by grabbing affluence from left, right, back and forth to satiate previous state of hunger and thirst ever lived through before attaining power. The Awhoi brothers, Asiedu Nketia, Fiifi Kwetey and a host of others are typical examples in Ghana’s ruling NDC Party in government who believe that the best way to remain on top is to check that those who hold them in awe never advance to anywhere. There is therefore no doubt that the NDC are a bunch of unconscious ideologues who profess social democracy yet down-play on social improvement and advancement. These are so-called politicians who tell lies for power which once attained practice ‘thievocracy’ of State resources.

Comparing the record of social interventions by Ghana’s political Parties that have ruled in relation to their length of time in office, it can be proudly stated that the NPP currently led by Nana Addo has the country best at heart because, as I borrow an expression from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, ‘when that the Ghana’s poor hath cried, ex-President Kufuor of the NPP hath wept and Nana Addo, his then Minister of Justice and subsequently Minister of foreign Affairs hath sobbed’. Though of affluent extraction, together they empathised with the poor, scrapped the cash and carry hospital treatment system in Ghana under an NDC rule, a system that adversely and severely affected mainly the poor and indigent, and replaced it with a nation-wide National Health Insurance Scheme; provided for free maternity treatment; free school meals, free bus fare for school children etc. These are system facilities for the poor that a so-called socialist NDC frowned on for almost 20 years in power. Since Rome was not built in a day, to kill poverty incident to killing corruption, the poor must be made to feel some leverage lifted off them that had weighed heavily on them. This is exactly what the NPP has done to establish and ensure poverty alleviation.

Apart from further strengthening the established NHI system, an Akufo Addo government would add a right to nation-wide free education for all Ghanaians up to Senior High School to prepare for a future Ghana of high rate intellectual aptitude; a future system of mass enlightenment imbued with moral and socio-ethical advancement to foster mass awareness of individual’s rights and obligations towards a better understanding of individual and national welfare. The Progress Party put in place the Centre for civic education to educate the ordinary Ghanaian about citizens’ rights and responsibilities aimed at fighting corruption with a slogan, ‘Don’t give bribes, they corrupt’. The J A Kufuor-led NPP administration brought in zero tolerance for corruption. The NDC in government, then and now, has had not one policy on fighting corruption.

Once citizens are enlightened with knowledge of their rights and responsibilities, institutions would school themselves accordingly to achieve the best for the nation whereby corrupt elements in institutions would either melt away or face prescribed punishment, a conduct that all would see as reprehensible abomination rather than as a norm which hitherto used to be, due to acquired formal educational enlightenment.

Since over 50% of Ghana’s population depend on agriculture, a President Akufo Addo government to be established already has the utmost goodwill of anti-corruption local and foreign investors who would contribute immensely to eliminate poverty from especially the highly impoverished savannah regions of Ghana with the introduction of modern forms of agricultural technology in his conceived Northern Development Authority programme that would aim at providing perennial exportable and locally process-able cash crop that would turn poverty amongst the northerners around, shoot up per capita income as well as augment Ghana’s GDP.

With a combination of force from providing next to free health care, absolutely free education for all, financial empowerment through agriculture and industrial development that would create a general awareness, epitomised by leadership by example as he has vowed, corruption and corrupt individuals would not be able to withstand the power of the vortex that would prevail therefrom. It must be strongly stressed that those of us intellectuals who favour a better governing body for Ghana do so not because as the proverb goes ‘giving a hand in desquamating the hide is not for eating it rather it is in the interest of all enjoying the rhythm of the drums so made out of it’.

In fact there are also several institutional remedial changes that if not made would continue to facilitate corruption which a ‘President’ Akufo Addo from January 2013 would see to, in order to combat and annihilate corruption from Ghanaian society for a future Ghana to achieve a status as corrupt-free as the relatively corrupt-free Western societies. Any well-wisher for a corrupt-free Ghana would vote en masse for Nana Addo and the NPP.

Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London UK
Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa