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21.11.2005 General News

President Kufuor Under Fire

By The Insight
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The Executive Secretary of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Mr Daniel Batidam has cast doubt over President Kufuor's commitment to the fight against corruption.

“It is particularly disappointing that the current administration which rode on the back of 'zero tolerance for corruption' is now backtracking and persistently abdicating its responsibility of tackling perceived corruption in its own ranks.

“They keep telling us that we have passed this and that law, as if the laws will walk unto the streets to enforce themselves,” Mr Batidam said in a telephone interview with The Insight last Wednesday. He explained that even though anti-corruption laws were necessary and very important to fight corruption, the passage of more of such laws was not the panacea to eradicating the canker.

According to him, the political leaders at all levels must have the “political will” to be able to enforce these laws. “We have to activate the laws. Laws are not an end in themselves but a means to an end,” he noted. He observed that examples abound of lack of transparency in official governmental transactions or public sector transparency which he described as “a mark of failure on the part of both the current and past regimes.”

Mr Batidam opined that Mr J.A. Kufuor's “zero tolerance for corruption” was “an expression of intent” and would not give meaning to the fight against the canker if it was not backed by resolute and decisive action.

He commended the Kufuor-ld administration for starting the fight well but accused it of not being “consistent” and “able to sustain what he started.” “When you throw the first person into jail for corruption, then you must sustain this action.” A situation where some people are thrown into jail for corruption and others are left off the hook for the same offense committed is not fair. We need to be fair and consistent,” Mr Batidam advised.

He reiterated the need for transparency and accountability in government so to increase public trust and support for governmental policies.

According to him, if laws are passed but there is lack of transparency,” we will not achieve anything.” “If there is no transparency we can have more laws and call them names we like, we will not go anywhere. “Transparency is not achieved by grudgingly allowing access to information,” Mr Batidam observed. He urged political leaders at all levels not to indulge in “mere sloganeering and political rhetories” but adopt “concrete preventive actions and system-based solutions,” towards the fight against corruption.

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