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Why are the Assemblymen and the DCEs that Corrupt?

Sun, 8 Mar 2009 Source: Rockson Adofo

I witnessed a duel between Mr. Good and Mr. Bad. It is a normal belief that in a contest between the good and the evil, the good always triumphs. In this very contest I am about to narrate, Mr. Good was not only found given a knockout blow, but sprawled on the floor weeping uncontrollably. The excruciating pain he was going through could well be read and confirmed from the gnashing of his teeth or the ugliness of his grimaced face. This is Ghana, where the perpetration of evil is in a projectile ascendancy.

I do at times regret the path of selflessness, dedication to duty, and determination to be of service to my people that I have undertaken. Is it worth dying for Ghana, I have started questioning myself? I can hardly understand the mentality of Ghanaians. In a country where the good never gets recognition but evil, my assumed path is a laboriously fatiguing struggle. Corruption is an innate defect in the Ghanaian. Any attempt to battle it will be a challenging uphill battle if not a total failure. Do we all then have to enjoy this seeming delicious but cancerous recipe which will surely end in death to all Ghanaians sooner or later? For how long, should the silly endemic attitude of "monkey de work, baboon de chop" philosophizing be allowed to ravage Ghana with impunity? Enough is enough!

An aspect of the Ghana's constitutional requirement on the selection of the District Chief Executives needs to be amended with immediate effect. People are required to present themselves for nomination and selection at the district level. They then proceed to the regional capital to be interviewed and short-listed. The two or three qualifying names are forwarded to Accra for the President of the Republic of Ghana to nominate one of them for the post of the DCE. The nominated name or person returns to the district to be voted on by the district assemblymen and women in what may be an electoral college representing voter choices. I would personally not have had any qualms about that if it was without that grotesque concomitant component of corruption. Why should corrupt and incompetent handful of assemblymen and women be allowed to choose the DCE for a district? I am moved to write this because of what my telephone conversation confirms about ongoing mischievous intentions of some assemblymen and women in this regard. An effort is being made to get competent, honest and dedicated people to assume the office of the DCE. However such efforts expended will come to naught if the intended evil-mindedness of these assemblymen is allowed to become an impediment which they always are.

The assemblymen and women of a district are jubilating that with the election of a DCE looming, they are going to have a field day. They are saying whoever can buy them over with a big sum of money will get their nod to be appointed the DCE. I am very sure this absurd unpatriotic anticipation is not unique to the district in question (name temporarily withheld) but many others, if not all of them. It is rather what happens in all the districts. The presupposing question is, assuming a contesting candidate spends GHC 6,000 - 10,000 greasing the palms of those vested with the power to ensuring he or she wins, how does such candidate recuperate the money so spent bribing his/her way through? Should the money be borrowed from the bank or a wicked money lender, the incoming DCE will stop at nothing dipping his/her dirty hands into the public fund he/she is to administer. Once they succeed and become infatuated, they will ensure embezzling public money in an attempt to satisfy what is always their insatiability becomes the norm. No wonder, some DCE acquire unimaginable wealth and property in a short space of time to the astonishment of the inhabitants of their district. While the district lays bare without any infrastructural development of any sort, these crooks will be walking many strides ahead of their compatriots glowed in wealth.

* To prevent the devastation to the districts owing to the thievery spearheaded by the DCEs as triggered by the assemblymen's hand twisting for bribe as aforementioned, the inhabitants of each district should be allowed to vote for their own DCE. This will make the DCEs be accountable to many people they will find it hard to buy over as against the present corruptible requirement.

* The assemblymen and women are not competent enough to understand the complexities of Electoral College they are made to play now. In America where it is practiced mostly, the Electoral College decides the eligibility of one based on their merit but not on how much bribe one can pay. This always helps them to choose the best people.

* Why the duplication of work? If the President will refer his final choice of candidate to be voted on by the assemblymen, what the heck does he allow the contestants to go through gruelling hell of interviews at the hands of party leaders on both district and regional levels to get short-listed? He may either appoint them after the short-listing or allow the inhabitants to vote for one of their choice as does in the situation of Members of Parliament. * How much money goes to a district must be disclosed. This will not only help us check the excesses of the DCEs but to monitor how the money is spent to the benefit of the district. We require of our DCEs transparency and accountability but not indemnity for themselves in the execution of their public duties.

* Most of the DCEs are like Secondary school bursars, they will always have a smart way to steal. How do we check that? We can only stop or limit their propensity to steal by being permitted to elect our own known competent and trusted people for the post. Some of them aware of the future repercussions if caught out in their nefarious activities will prefer acquiring property in the names of friends or other family members. Do we let them continue to do this to underestimate our intelligence without doing anything?

The evil has emerged victorious in the contest, from Ghana's point of view. Our assemblymen and women please do refrain from accepting bribes before electing the best DCE for our districts. "Good name is better than riches" is anathema to the Ghanaian politician. Oh, what a shame!

Columnist: Rockson Adofo