“War On Corruption”

Sat, 17 May 2014 Source: Atta-Boakye, Ken

"NGO's Should Come Together to Fight Corruption"

Ghana has become a nation where an opportunity for progress turns into an open-door for corruption. It was soul-consoling when the President stated at his recent meeting with the Council of Elders that he was going to fight corruption on two fronts: “exposing and dealing with corrupt practices when they come up and tightening the systems to prevent corruption from occurring” Moreover, he stated, "People are corrupt because they get the opportunity to be corrupt" I couldn’t have agreed with him any better than the fact that Ghana is downhill because of the proven selfishness of most of the leaders to create opportunities to steal as well as looking out for opportunities to serve their personal interests. Ghana has not benefited as we should have from its abundant natural resources. It is a shame we shoot ourselves in our foot and call for a bail out from international powers. This is not right. We can do better with a mass mobilization voice that can ensure that efficient checks and balances are in place.

Our Presidents have not been able to back up their talks through their deeds. Had the Presidents we have had followed through with their talks and backed the demand for change with action, Ghana would be a success story. Actions speak louder than words. It is action that will compel the leaders to be more responsible and accountable to the people. It is thrilling Ghana has qualified to participate in the World Cup Soccer Competition. FIFA will generously reward us with appearance money. The Ghana gov’t will also set money aside for GFA to use for its budget. This gives an opportunity for GFA to serve their personal interests first. After the event is over, your guess will be as right as mine- the audit report will be a shocking news. There will be cases of unnecessary committees that were formed, questionable members on the committees, and dubious cheer group members to Brazil and so on. There will be siblings and friends of the GFA heading the committees with huge sitting allowances. What of night allowances? Should my guess be wrong, Ghana would be happier for this new and positive change.

During CAN 2008, the committee that was appointed to oversee the operations thought it convenient to purchase cars to transport and shuttle our dignitaries rather than depend on the hotels for transport. Realizing an opportunity to serve their interests, the leaders purchased about 120 expensive cars. After the event was over, no proper accounts were given as to how these cars were disposed of and to whose benefit. The public was even more enraged about the accounts the Secretariat rendered. These are the leaders we continue to recycle when the opportunity knocks. Let us get serious about issues concerning all Ghanaians.

From May 13th to 16th 2014, there is a-four day National Economic Forum at The Royal Senchi River Resort. There will be about 300 participants. Hotel accommodation is between $650 to $1000 a night. It is a collection of the nation’s economic gurus. NPP has boycotted it for short notice and the fact that the Minister of Finance has already discussed and sent request to IMF for a bail out. Some people think NDC is doing this because President Rawlings organized an Economic Forum at Akosombo. President Kufour also organized one during his tenure, so the thought process is President Mahamah should also organize an Economic Forum. I don’t worry about the merits and demerits. I worry about the lens with which our leaders see our problems. The problem with the economy is not necessarily about the economic policies but corruption. It doesn’t matter the policies put in place if we don’t have people with integrity to run the nation, it will ultimately bring us back to square one. The National Economic Forum is a waste of resources. There wouldn’t be anything new that the economic gurus didn’t know.

Ghana has a vibrant media and dedicated investigative journalists. Through Adom FM Talkshow, our lady Afua Pokuah, discusses burning issues with vim. We appreciate all the efforts they make to get the news to us- the public. Sometimes, some of the issues she discusses are really burning and rotten to the core. The investigative journalists also alert the public with clandestine activities and shady deals that bring the nation down. Through their positive reportage some of the leaders are unable to continue with their selfish motives. There have been cases where the investigations of Anas Aremeyaw Anas have also led to some sweeping changes in governmental institutions. These have not produced the results we envisage. Corruption is compounded. The President has to walk the walk and follow the talk through. The masses have to be wide awake now.

It is my strong feeling that the NGO’s should come together to form one big voice with mass mobilization to fight corruption. When these NGO’s fight alone and by themselves they are less effective. This is the broom theory- United we stand, divided we fall. It is time to put pressure on the leadership to rise up to their responsibilities. If the masses refuse to compel the leadership to do the jobs for which they were elected or appointed to do, they will not do it. Ghanaians should not sit on the fence and allow the leaders to take the nation for a personal joy and ride. Power belongs to the people. There are true opinion leaders on face book and twitter who can inspire the masses to come together to fight for a common destiny. These individuals can be of good help: Franklin Coudjoe, Kojo Bentil, Rodney Nkrumah Boateng, Israel Leayer, and Bright Simmons. Ghanaians are looking up to you to connect with the masses to redeem the nation from corrupt leaders.

In any case, I want to take this opportunity to commend Nhyira FM “Ewiase Mu Nsem” for the niche to deal with indigenous idol worship and cultural issues decisively. Majority of the population believe in idol worship and it cannot be repudiated outright. Good Job producer Adjei, Kofi Gyimah Ankoana (MC), Nana Brenyah (My nephew), Nana Bila Kantanka, Agya Mansoo and the entire crew. Your positive impact is much appreciated.

Ken Atta-Boakye (kenattaboakye@gmail.com)

Woodbridge, Virginia: 703.986-8438.

Columnist: Atta-Boakye, Ken