The evil monster hiding behind Attivor’s rant is not tribalism - Part 2

Fri, 13 May 2016 Source: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

Human beings are not angels, and we don’t expect our leaders to be one. If we were, there wouldn’t be any laws. Laws are meant to be broken. Security, they say, gives way to conspiracy. Why are there so many laws meant to protect government procurement? Because we know that the temptation is very great for abuse. The only way we can stop this ugly underbelly of our democracy from showing up every four years is to eliminate the fertile ground that encourages the cultivation of such bad practices.

We have been practicing this self-immolation since independence and it is not helping us in anyway. Yet, people who are supposed to know better write infinite nonsense in the praise of this evil ideology called socialism. The corruption that is drowning the machinery of government today had its baptism at the time of Nkrumah when 10% of government contracts went to the coffers of the CPP party. This is the practice which has been passed on from one generation to the other, and it has metastasised into deadly blatant theft by government ministers. Yet, instead of them to face the music when they are caught with their pants down, they prefer to see their country in flames rather than going to jail.

This Nkrumah inspired socialism is not working in Ghana, but rather creating huge bitterness, poverty, animosity and division in Ghana. It is time to pause and go back to the drawing board. As Winston Churchill eloquently put it, ‘however beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results’. People have been very critical of Attivor and they all have the legitimacy, but what I can’t stand is those usual suspects who are making so much noise, but fail to see that the policies they espouse is what gave birth to this tribal imbecility. If government ministers are appointed to be referees and not involved in the allocation of resources, we would not be having this problem.

The only way to extricate this deadly millstone around our neck is for the government to get out of the business of trying to provide direct employment. If the government builds a factory it has to appoint its director. In most cases it will be a party functionary, a close associate or a tribesman of the person with the muscle to take that decision. If A, B and C pay their taxes for the realisation of that factory, why should it not be A but rather B. The conundrum can be solved if the government relinquishes that responsibility to the private sector. And it can be done without a sweat. Those bleeding heart socialists should tell me why we need the government to be involved in transportation. They cannot even manage to produce an acceptable brochure for the independence celebration, and you want them to run a complex business like Transportation?

The Brits are reputed to have an incorruptible civil service, though that reputation is gradually kissing the dust with the introduction of socialism after WWII. However, in the eighteenth century they were known to be a nation of smugglers and people who have contempt for the law. So we have to ask ourselves how did a nation of law breakers and smugglers transformed into a country of law abiding citizens. It was the introduction of laissez faire capitalist policies, which literally eliminated laws to break. The British are not exceptional men of character, what makes the difference is that if a trader is free to bring anything into the United Kingdom you are no longer a smuggler. And, for that matter, the civil servant has nothing to arrest you for, which under normal circumstances will give him the opportunity to take bribe. The word smuggler became meaningless. Restrictions to set up businesses were removed hence the British civil servant became incorruptible, because there was nothing to bribe him for.

Not too long ago, one of the usual suspects was spouting ignorant analysis of drug cartels running the country when private enterprise is given free room to run the country during one of the perennial Otabil’s storms. This is the question I would like these people to answer honestly. How did the American mafia have a grip on that country’s black economy? The Prohibition laws was the culprit. It was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. This unmitigated silly law provided fertile ground for crooked civil servants to line their pocket and made Al Capone fabulously rich simply due to unenforceable law.

Majority of Ghanaians are very outgoing and outward looking. There is always going to be a minority who will not play by the rules, and these ones are like the bad apples; they will destroy the whole barrel. All that it takes is one unscrupulous or unprincipled politician and almost sixty years of peaceful co-existence goes up in flames. We pride ourselves that Ghana is a peace loving people, and there is no doubt about that. But there is a limit to that Ghanaian character and we can ignore it at our peril. We will not be the first people that lived in peaceful co-existence that turned into a nightmare overnight. Before independence, Sri Lanka, used to be a model state that different ethnic communities thrived together. Then a politician, Bandaranaike, decided he want to be prime minister and he pitched the Sinhalese majority against the Tamil minority that plunged the country into 25 years of civil war with unimaginable atrocities on both sides. We can be wise by learning from such unfortunate history, or keep our heads in the hot tropical sand like ostriches.

Philip Kobina Baidoo Jnr



Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina