Despite Ghana being officially a secular state, most of the citizens consider the country as a de facto religious state because of its large size of Christians and Moslems. According to the 2010 Census cited in the Wikipedia, 71.2% and 17.6% of the population are Christians and Moslems respectively (together a whopping 88.8% of the entire Ghana population). It is important to mention that many politicians, senior public servants and other dignitaries also consider themselves as Christians or Moslems. For instance, President Mahama as well as former Presidents Kuffour, Rawlings and Mills (late) all consider themselves as Christians, while the late Vice President Aliu Mahama was a Moslem.
Despite the high level of religiosity among our politicians, senior civil servants and other dignitaries, corruption has become endemic in the country. It appears the level of corruption in Ghana is increasing all the time and in particular, we have witnessed serious corruptions such as GYEED and SADA scandals in the current NDC Government.
Accordingly, I will use the rest of the article to discuss why Christians and Moslems should not engage in corruption.
On 11 November 2013, Nick Squires of the British Telegraph Newspaper, reported that Pope Francis of the Catholic Church delivered a fire-and-brimstone sermon that:
• “The corrupt should be tied to a rock and thrown into the sea.”
• 'Christians who lead “a double life” by giving money to the Church while stealing from the state are sinners who deserve to be punished.'
• And quoting from the Gospel of Luke, the Pope said “Jesus says: It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and thrown into the sea.”
• People engaged in corruption are “whitewashed tombs”, explaining that “they appear beautiful from the outside, but inside they are full of dead bones and putrefaction [decay].” And that a life based on corruption is “varnished putrefaction”.
In another sermon, the Pope stated that:
• “Those who take kickbacks have lost their dignity and give their children dirty bread” and corruption was as much of an addiction as taking drugs—“We might start with a small bribe, but it's like a drug.”
• And he also prayed “that the Lord may change the hearts of those who worship the kickback god”.
Similarly, according to GNA news published on Ghanaweb on 5 October 2014 (entitled “Muslims urged to crusade against corruption”), Alhaji Alphas Anas Hamidu, and the Acting Volta Regional Chief Imam:
• Urged Muslims to shun corrupt tendencies and be “fair” in all their endeavours.
• Stated that Islam abhors corruption and challenged them to be good role models in their offices and businesses.
It is clear from the above that both the Christian and Moslem leaders consider corruption as sinful. Further, there are passages in the Bible that specifically indicate that corruption is bad:
• Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them (Isaiah 1:23).
• They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved (2 Peter 2:19).
• A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back to pervert the ways of justice (Proverbs 17:23).
• The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: "It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses (Isaiah 3:14).
• A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished (Proverbs 28: 20).
• Soldiers also asked him (Jesus), and we, what shall we do? And he said… “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages (Luke 3:14).”
• Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel (Proverbs 20:17).
• The Lord looks down from heaven … to see… who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:2-3).
Furthermore, 3 of the 15 Islamic Anti-Corruption Hadiths discussed below clearly indicate that the Islamic Religion also abhors corruption:
• Hadith 12, Abdullah bin … narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "The curse of Allah is upon the one who offers a bribe and the one who takes it."
• Hadith 3, Abu Dharr … narrated: “I said to the Prophet … O Messenger of Allah, will you not appoint me to a public office? He stroked my shoulder with his hand and said: "Abu Dharr, you are weak and authority is a trust. And on the Day of Judgment it is a cause of humiliation and regret except for one who fulfils its obligations and (properly) discharges the duties."
• Hadith 8, Adi ibn `Umairah … narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whosoever among you is appointed by me to a position and he conceals from us (even) a needle or more, he is acting unfaithfully and will bring it on the Day of Resurrection".
"I say that (again) now: Whosoever from you is appointed by me to a position, he should bring everything (of its revenues), big or small. (Then,) what he is given therefrom, he may take. What he is disallowed to take, he should avoid."
It is clear from the foregoing that both Christianity and Islam abhor corruption. It is therefore strange that despite approximately 90% of Ghanaians including the President and other dignitaries claim to be Christians or Moslems, corruption has become so rampant in Ghana. Corruption has a devastating effect on the poor and vulnerable in the Society. However, as Isaiah (1:23) indicates, our rulers have become partners with thieves; love bribes and chase after gifts; they promise freedom [during elections], but they themselves are slaves of corruption (2 Peter 2:19). How can they therefore defend the cause of the vulnerable (Isaiah 1:23) and punish those who engage in corruption? They only look after their families and cronies.
Proverbs 22:22-23 indicate that if you rob the poor and gets away (without any human punishment), God will eventually repay you. So you “greedy ones”, do not fool yourselves that the money that you are amassing illegally is the end of everything.
The Ghanaian politicians, senior public servants and even some religious leaders are only interested in building several mansions and buying several cars instead of doing the work that they are supposed to do, so that everyone will benefit from their positions. They forget that we are only transient in this world and will not live here forever. In any case, how many rooms can one sleep in during the night? Only one room and a half-portion of a double/queen size bed. So why scrambling for several mansions that we, our children, grand and great-grand children may never need, while others are dying of hunger and preventable diseases?
I am certainly not against those that get money legitimately through their sweat, but when one gets money at the expense of the poor or the society, I am certainly against it. They can get away with it today, but the day will come that they will render account to their creator.
1. Pope Francis: corrupt should be tied to a rock and thrown into the sea: by Nick Squires(The Telegraph): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10441960/Pope-Francis-corrupt-should-be-tied-to-a-rock-and-thrown-into-the-sea.html
2. Muslims urged to crusade against corruption: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/religion/artikel.php?ID=329014
3. 15 Islamic Anti-Corruption Hadiths:: http://www.onislam.net/english/shariah/hadith/hadith-collections/465673-islam-hadith-abuse-corruption-power-governance.html
By Joseph Annor – B.A. Religious Studies (Major), Master of Accounting