Opinions of Tue, 11 Sep 201812

We are not serious as a nation, are we? (I)

The revoltingly cyclical corrupt practices amongst the political elites and other public officials have indeed culminated in Ghana’s underdevelopment, excessive public spending, less efficient tax system, needless high public deficit and destabilization of national budgets, heightened capital flight and the creation of perverse incentives that stimulate income-seeking rather than productive activities.

Let us be honest, it is never unconscionable to assert that after 61 years of independence, a nation like Ghana should be rubbing shoulders with the emerging economies like South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Given the circumstances, I will venture to state that we are at where we are today due to leadership paralysis. Indeed, our leaders have not been keeping their heads above the water.

Which sovereign state on this planet (Earth) would its chiefs, politicians, regulators and law enforcers sit idly while some conscienceless foreign illegal immigrants despoil its natural resources and denude the environment in the process?

Of course, anyone can claim birth right to patriotism. However, patriotism is not mere rhetoric and political gimmicks.

Indeed, we could only evidence our patriotism through our actions and inactions. That is by showing our affection, solicitude and strong inclination towards our country in whatever we do as a people.

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country (John F. Kennedy).”

Why must true patriots keep mute while some individuals hide behind narrow political lines devoid of patriotism and squeamishly stealing from the national purse as if tomorrow will never come?

How could any true nationalist keep quiet when a sibling of a former president disgustingly refused to pay import taxes to the tune of GH12 million? How can we develop as a nation with such irresponsible citizens?

In recent times, there have been numerous allegations levelled against Ibrahim Mahama. The most damning of such allegations is the 30 years bauxite mining lease which was issued by the Ghana Mineral Commission to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power.

Apparently, the vast majority of Ghanaians decried the nepotistic nature of the agreement and beseeched the government to abrogate the multi-billion cedi bauxite concession.

Consequently, the multi-billion cedi bauxite concession granted to Mr Ibrahim Mahama’s company was revoked in September 2017 after the former Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, had contended vehemently that the contract to Exton Cubic, Ibrahim Mahama’s company, was invalid.

No true patriot, in all honesty, would keep his/her silence when a group of bank executives decide to conspire and surreptitiously withdraw billions of cedis belonging to ordinary Ghanaians.

Some of us, as a matter of principle, cannot keep our silence when individuals who claim to be social democrats dipped their hands into the poor farmers money and built a luxurious mansion at an alleged cost of GH7.7 million for their own comfort. How pathetic?

Let us face it, it would be boundlessly unconscionable for any true Ghanaian to sit aloof while some conspiratorial plotters gleefully squander funds meant to transform the lives of the penniless in society through corruption scandals such as the Brazil World Cup, the infamous bus branding, SUBA, SSNIT among others.

How can any true patriot assume that it is alright when some cabals can conspire and pay dubious judgement debts to the tune of GH800 million?

Why wouldn’t true nationalists scream and upbraid the shameful racketeers who squeamishly created, looted and shared monies belonging to GYEEDA and SADA, which were meant to transform the lives of the poor and the disadvantaged in society?

Trust me, in so far as the elites among the ‘four legs animals’ continue to exhibit unbridled selfishness, lack of patriotism, and disgustingly look down upon the ‘four legs downtrodden, Ghana may never develop meaningfully in our lifetime.

Apparently, greed, selfishness and lack of empathy have been the order of the day. Indeed, it is an illustrative case of ‘every man for himself’.

The unpatriotic and selfish attitudes of the men and women we often put in responsible positions have indeed cost this nation dearly.

Of course, we have in our midst some honest men and women who have the wellbeing of Ghana at heart to put things right. Suffice it to stress that we will require courageous and ever prepared law enforcement bodies and the judiciary to crack the whip without fear or favour.

There is no denying or hiding the fact that since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), we (Ghanaians) have regrettably lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through wanton sleazes and corruption. And yet the various methods used by the successive governments in fighting the menace have been extremely disappointing.

Corruption, as a matter of fact, impedes economic development by distorting markets and collapsing private sector integrity.

“Corruption also strikes at the heart of democracy by corroding rule of law, democratic institutions and public trust in leaders. For the poor, women and minorities, corruption means even less access to jobs, justice or any fair and equal opportunity” (UNDP 2016).

We should, however, take solace in the fact that the current Attorney General is seriously working towards bringing the suspects to book. Take, for example, on 14th March 2018, the State filed a case of causing financial loss against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited.

And what is more, President Akufo-Addo has shown seriousness and commitment by establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor with the responsibility of investigating, prosecuting and retrieving stolen monies from the corrupt public officials.

Apparently, some of us are of the firm conviction that the introduction of the Office of the Special Prosecutor is a pragmatic way of tackling the rampant bribery and corruption cases head-on.

Dearest reader, wouldn’t it be somewhat refreshing if the justice system descends heavily not only on goat, cassava and plantain thieves, but as well as the hardened criminals who hide behind narrow political colorations?

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

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