by I. K. Gyasi
When a boss will not or cannot discipline his erring subordinates, what can be the possible reason?
In the first place, the boss may be too kind-hearted to move against the wrongdoers.
The boss might say that if he dismissed or even suspended the wrongdoers, they and their families could suffer hardship. Consequently, only the weakest of warnings might be given, if any at all.
Secondly, the boss himself might be deeply involved in the wrongdoing. It could be bribery and corruption, extortion or even outright stealing of State or corporate funds. In fact, the subordinate could well be carrying out the orders of the Boss. Move against the erring subordinate and he spills the beans.
Thirdly, the subordinate might have done the boss a good turn in times past. This might be the case in a political setting where, through the efforts of the subordinate, the boss has got to where he is. How does the boss sack or imprison the one whose money and material contributions made the boss what he has become?
Fourthly, the boss may be under some form of blackmail from the subordinate. If, for example, the subordinate once caught the boss in a compromising position with another man's wife at a hotel or wherever, the boss would be most reluctant to move against this subordinate.
Fifthly, the erring subordinate could even be the boss's blood or marital relative. How do you move against your own brother or sister, or your brother-in-law?
Sixthly, think of all the other kinds of relationships: school mate, church member, club member, fellow townsman, members of the same professional association, etc.
Finally, in our society, the appeal-for-clemency syndrome works very powerfully to prevent any corrective action being taken against erring subordinates.
Let the boss try to take action and, straightaway, he is inundated with a flood of appeals for clemency from all kinds of heavyweights in the society. Chiefs, top politicians, prominent people of the church, close friends and relatives of either the boss or the offender all bring pressure to bear on the head of the unfortunate boss. In the long run, nothing is done.
I am always careful about wading into matters of morality and illegal behaviour. In fact, if I had lived at the time Jesus Christ reportedly challenged the people to throw the first stone, I would have been among those dropping the stones and making off.
However, I also believe that, though we are all morally inadequate as human beings, only we human beings have the moral yardstick to measure our behaviour. This is where we differ from animals that do not have such a yardstick.
When John Agyekum Kufuor was inaugurated as the president of the Republic of Ghana, he told the whole world that the security of the nation would be his top priority.
He also told us that he was going to adopt what he termed "Zero tolerance for corruption."
Not long after that declaration, he had his first test. His own minister, Mallam Issah of "Inshalla" fame, was involved in a case of a missing $46,000.
Did Mallam Issah, then the Minister of Sports, steal the money meant for the Black Stars? Did a person or persons steal the money and made the Minister a fall guy? Whatever the answer, Mallam Issah went to jail.
Enter the case of Mallam Moctar Bamba, the Deputy Minister who does not have a full minister as his boss above him. Who is this Bamba who has apparently caused the president to develop a moral and political lockjaw?
When Raymond Archer, the investigative reporter of The Chronicle, wrote the series of his exposes on Alhaji Bamba, I waited and waited for a refutation in part or in whole of the very serious allegations contained in the series.
Archer had written of a company being floated, of offers of bribes to kill the story, or letters from the Presidency being used and so on and so forth.
Dead silence from Alhaji Bamba. Instead, he comes out with a statement expressing regret for indiscretion that has embarrassed the President and his (Bamba's) constituency.
Indiscretion? Is it mere indiscretion to use Presidency letterheads to fraudulently influence action by the receiver of such a letter?
Even if a bank manager was not fooled, that is beside the point. If I put my hand in your pocket with the larcenous intention of taking your money and you have no money in that pocket, does that absolve me from wrongdoing? Is there not such a crime as "attempt"?
The most amazing thing is the unwisdom and the sheer arrogance with which people in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Government have been rallying round Alhaji Bamba.
There are those who have bluntly said that Alhaji Bamba has committed no offence! There are those who keep saying that the Police are investigating the matter. They say that the Police have taken a statement and told Alhaji Bamba the Police will call him if they want him.
Bamba is still talking of his electoral ambitions for the 2004 General Elections. And there are those who support him.
Let President Kufuor realize that Alhaji Moctar Bamba is a test case for him. If the investigations by the Chief of Staff have exonerated him, let the report come out and say so. This deafening silence at the Presidency is splitting our eardrums.
The Bamba case aside, the media have published stories of apparent wrongdoing on the part of people in Government.
The posture, even from the president, is that if any person has any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of a Government or party official, that person should go to the Police.
On the face of it, the advice is a sensible one. After all, no one should malign another person with mere, unsubstantiated allegation of wrongdoing. People are very fond of "They say, they say" without identifying the source.
Be that as it may, the NPP and the Government must be warned to desist from ignoring all that they see in the papers or hear on the radio. It would be worth their while to investigate the reports further with a view to debunking the allegations or confirming them and consequently taking corrective measures.
The Police are not fools. If someone went to them with a report of wrong-doing on the part of a brother of the President, for example, do you think the Police would seek medals for heroism by going to arrest the President's brother? They would not suffer such reprisals as sudden transfer to a remote part of the country or dismissal or some excuses.
The president, the Vice President and other Government officials do not impress anybody with all those pious declarations about taking action against erring District Chief Executives and others. Like the threats of Cassius to Brutus, there is no fear in the Presidential and Vice-Presidential threats and warnings because, the feeling is that no action would be taken when confronted with cases involving the truly big men and women.
The Bamba case is a clear example. Jake and the Mormons is another. Small fly like Kofi Wilson might suffer but not the big guns.
In 2000, the "defending champions" were the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
They made some mistakes which cost them the election and which the present Government is repeating - shielding of wrongdoers or dismissing them but letting them go away with their booty, complacency, a display of the arrogance of power etc.
For all their wealth, control over the structures of State and their position as defending champions, they lost the elections. The people were fed up.
Yesterday, they were the majority party, able to do anything within Parliament and outside it. Today, they are called the "minority party", crying that it is hell to be in opposition.
Yesterday, they were men and women of integrity. Today, there are such changes against them as embezzlement, extortion and causing financial loss to the State.
The people in the NPP and the Government have apparently learnt nothing.
No party anywhere in this world can hold power forever except in a one - party State.
The other day, Vice President Aliu Mahama stated in ringing tones that the NPP is made of men and women of integrity who came to power already self-made.
Will he repeat that statement?