Democracy And Corruption: The Case Of Ghana

Feature Article President Nana Akufo- Addo
JUN 30, 2017 LISTEN
President Nana Akufo- Addo

Corruption is a complex and creates multifaceted problems for nations,families and organisations.Transparency international, the United Nations and other researchers,define corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private benefits.The basic fact is that, corruption involves the delegation of power and a conflict between the private and public interest. Corruption for decades,has been the most potent allegations political parties use when in opposition to oust incumbent government and has become the opium used to daze voters during elections by politicians. The phenomenon starts during our political campaigns when people and powerful organizations with their own agendas and resources,skew voting.

They secretly or openly give big donations and other supports to the political parties with the expectation that, their political cronies will offer them juicy contracts etc when they win political power.With this support,our parties buy votes instead of winning them. The effect of this phenomenon is that we elect elect into office, politicians who steer away good governance. All the decisions they take in office benefit those who funded their campaign and the public interest always cones second. Our economy has suffered decades of bruises because of this phenomenon,our scarce resources are diverted from poor and disadvantaged people.We've are going through this crisis because of our weak democratic institutions,illiteracy and certain provisions in our constitution.

The media which was ( is) expected to keep our governments and other institutions on their toes has failed and failing to execute this important role leaving the politicians to operate freely and confidently within the corruption environment. The current President Nana Akufo-Addo in opposition,promised corruption free government when elected into office. What are we seeing few months after reiterating his philosophy during his inauguration? The bond issue, the ongoing BOST oil issue and other revelations suggest that we are either moving beyond what he condemned,or greasing the status quo. When he made that strong anti corruption statement, I wept quietly for him knowing the kind of problems he was going to face.

And I know he himself knew very well that his statement was just one of the usual platitudes meant to either incite voters against the incumbent,or, to attract the sympathy he needed to crash his opponent. I held that position because of the kind of sponsorship the parties receive during electioneering campaigns and the huge impact the business class have on our political parties. Former President Rawlings recently mentioned how some Nigerian Businessmen and organisations supported the NDC'S 2008 campaign.

The media did not question him about that revelation to know the interest of those Nigerians in our internal elections. President Kufour prior to the 2000 elections,received support from some foreign entities and businessmen including a Japanese who was known in the political circles as "Sacho" this support influenced his appointment as Ghana's special rep in the gulf region.

That arrangement was made possible by some young businessmen one of them was Osei the man who deliberately drove into President Kufour's convoy at Opeibea. Did the media find out why Osei was left to walk away freely after the police had detected that he was under the influence of drugs at the time he drove into the convoy. We heard about the Sahara oil deal and the many strings detected. Our politicians travel day and,night to Nigeria during their campaigns and we see top Nigerian businessmen in the country during election season yet,we either deliberately refuse delving into this trend,our do not have the slightest of knowledge about this international deals our politicians engage themselves.

About 79% of persons appointed to various positions by our Presidents are people they have no knowledge about their competence,incompetence and general attitude,they are fixed there through manipulations by the various lobbyist groups in our parties,friends, cronies, family members,party executives etc to serve their parochial interests and these are the people who spearhead corruption in our public institutions. The current BOST boss for instance is a professional printer and we know of his role in the Macmillan case and other issues under the previous administration. He was however appointed to head this sensitive agency as his reward for sponsoring the party's 2016 campaign.This is not the only case all the parties and we can even trace it to the first republic are guilty of this phenomenon.

Governments have suffered dearly from these reckless appointments usually pushed on their leaders by powerful hands in our parties. We must not only effect profound changes in our fight against corruption,but must also overcome the more or less open resistance from individuals or organised interests who make gains from this evil status quo. We need strong leadership to superintendent over strong institution as happened in Singapore if we really want to bury this canker. Most of the so called undemocratic regimes easily make corruption unattractive because of the space to take fast decisions on corruption cases without going through rigorous and well webbed processes of democratic dialogue and accountability with their cumbersome dilutions. Corruption reduced considerably after the June 4th revolution because of the hell situation corrupt officials and businessesmen went through. It however resurfaced when the PNP took over and we started seeing economic setbacks.

The introduction of NIC, the tribunals etc ensured speedy trials and sentences under the PNDC administration and we heard mind boggling corruption in our schools and other public institutions and many of our bursars left Ghana to escape prosecution. We should have gone through this hell under the current dispensation because the essential idea of democracy is that we have the right to determine who governs us and the constitution gives us the right to hold them accountable. But can we confidently same this is the prevailing situation? Our laws if allowed to operate according to its spirit and letter, would have imposed legal limits on government's authority by guarantee us certain rights and freedom when fighting against these evil practices in our institutions but unfortunately for us, certain provisions and attitude of party apparatchiks make our leaders automatic dictators who act without limitations.

The other danger is the kind of support party supporters and other actors offer these corrupt officials when caught by the system. Npp supporters will always defend their own and vice versa when it comes to NDC. This instill confidence in corrupt officials to steal confidently when in office with the hope that there are already standby party supporters ready to fight on his behalf whenever power changes from one party to another. Well organised jackals in our parties are released on people who dare condemn these practices and the power of social media in our contemporary politics is worsening the situation. Some countries in Africa such as Rwanda, Botswana and Namibia are making significant progress because of the active press in these countries. The press enjoys reasonable freedom making them vibrant and effective. In Ghana,most media houses and journalists have been rendered docile and toothless by our politicians and in some cases, by owners of the media houses. Serious corruption issues are either suppressed, or fanned aggressively depending on which party is involved.

The other problem is the situation where governments in their effort to curb the canker through sincere handling of corruption cases in their administration, fall victims. President Kufour said he will not expose corruption in his,government to dent the image of his administration. How we mischievously play the masses against leaders who expose corruption in their governments, justifies President Kufour's assertion.I say so because of how the Npp made political gains from from President Mahama's decision to prosecute his officials found to have involved themselves in corrupt practice.