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24.11.2019 Feature Article

What are Ghanaians Good at, – Corruption but not Competence?

What are Ghanaians Good at, – Corruption but not Competence?

The would-be or would-have-been referendum on "yes" or "no" on the election of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) scheduled for 17 December 2019 has markedly revealed the disgraceful traits of the Ghanaian. The Ghanaian comes across as heavily challenged when tasked with getting simple things unrelated to corruption, done. This is my view about the collective Ghanaian. And, it is an indisputable fact only able to be refuted by a hallucinating individual that cringes at the telling, or the sight, of truth.

I shall only discuss two reasons assigned by the naysayers campaigning against the referendum seeking to make the post of MMDCEs elective rather than appointive as it is currently so. Among their many negative reasons seemingly making the Ghanaian, the African or the Black man unable and incapable of managing their own affairs as otherwise expected of rational beings are:

1. It will bring about political violence, extreme partisanship and polarization of people at the local levels of the nation's governance.

2. The traditional leaders, thus chiefs and queens, will be sidelined from the administration of the country

To be honest with my fellow Ghanaians, both learned and unlettered, intelligent and unintelligent, wise and unwise, the above two reasons are neither here nor there if we really understood the system of governance the country is practising, thus, democracy. Why are we running away from the very principles of democracy simply because some of them do not sit well with the self-serving interests of some so-called powerful, cunning and avaricious persons in the country?

Let me define democracy as it is meant or stated in the dictionary to help with my arguments. Democracy is understood, or defined, as, "government by the people, for the people and of the people" or "a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system".

Taking point number one above, and Ghana being a democratic country, why are we scared that electing the nation's Local Government representatives (MMDCEs) through political party participations on the local level will bring about political violence to our very towns and villages? Therefore, we had better leave it in its current state of being appointive. Is the election of the MMDCEs not in fulfilment of the requirements of democracy? Is it not about deepening our democracy when our constituency, metropolitan, municipal and district level representatives are elected?

Some people are of the opinion that Ghana is already overwhelmed with political violence and corruption at the constituency and national levels so we should not be seen to replicate them at the district levels hence we had better continue with the president of the country appointing the MMDCEs as stipulated in the constitution rather than electing them on political party-based. This is where I love to draw the line on the fact the Ghanaian is not capable of managing anything responsibly. Are there not many laws out there to deal with those who breach accepted rules enshrined in the nation's constitution, the amended Ghana Criminal Code 1960 (Act 29) or laws passed by parliament? Why can't we enforce the application of such laws to get things done right but rather choose to run away from them shouting we are incapable of doing anything?

Is abandoning a principle of democracy for the fear of some selfish individuals inciting violence the best solution? What is the purpose of employing soldiers, police personnel and other many national security agents if they cannot be used to enforce the laws of the country to guarantee the safety and security of the citizens? Why should we allow a few covetous and/or criminals to take the nation and the vast majority of the citizens to ransom? Why should we abandon normal democratic norms just to appease some so-called crafty politicians, criminals and academics who think they are two inches taller then any ordinary Ghanaian hence whatever they say goes?

The fact that the stupid approach to democratic governance by some Ghanaians culminates in violence, vigilantism, thereby denigrating the system does not mean we should pick and choose which principles of democracy, and when, to practise them while ignoring its other aspects. After sixty-three years of gaining political independence from the British, when do we think we shall be mature enough to practise democracy, or manage our own affairs as rational human beings without giving flimsy excuses to justify our incompetence, inability and incapability to do any sensible thing?

We had better deal with any problem that comes across when exercising our democratic principles at all levels rather than retreating as cowards because of possible problems to crop up.

People with selfish secret agenda will always play on our intelligence to drag us along their path by coming up with all nonsensical fabrications to cow us to have us remain at their beck and call all of the time like fools.

On the second point of taking away the right of participation in local governance from our chiefs and queens, I see that excuse as completely bollocks. Ghana is a republic but not a monarchy. As it is my style to always seek to better explain myself or views, I will define a republic as contains in the dictionary. A republic is "a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them" or "a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state". Why do we still crave for the active participation of our chiefs and queens in the governance of the Republic of Ghana? What are our elected representatives doing? Unless they tell us they are understandably incompetent to govern in which case they have to be sacked en masse, the chiefs must be always held at arm's-length from governing Ghana?

Our current crop of chiefs unlike those in the olden days are selfish, greedy, myopic and do not command absolute respect. By their commissions and omissions, many a Ghanaian, especially those that have travelled outside the country to learn the ways of the superior White race, has no respect for them and does not succumb to their authority. In the olden days, the chiefs commanded respect. They always sought for the collective interests of their community by organising communal labour, organising the people to contribute towards developing the localities and using any money raised for exactly the purpose for which they were raised. They did not have a ferocious thirst for self-serving interests of acquiring immense wealth hence not selling all lands and pocketing the money. They would never think of selling their lands to foreigners for them to come to devastate the lands through their aggressive search for gold or mineral wealth, to result in damaging the nation's water bodies, arable lands and virgin forests.

Why should the non-participation of our chiefs in the governance of the nation be so painfully felt as to be cited as a credible reason for abrogating the implementation of a democratic principle, thus the election of the MMDCEs? Are we not in a republic? Is it not the Ghanaian confusion of fusing together democracy and monarchy that the nation is not moving forward as it should?

Some crooks coming across as chiefs think they are more powerful than the laws and the president of the nation hence they can make or break the nation at the crack of their fingers.

To conclude, I find the above two reasons cited to rubbish the referendum, thereby consigning the election of the MMDCEs to the refuse skip as the mother of all preposterousness or insanities by the Ghanaian. This goes to confirm how Ghanaians are incapable of anything sensible but are experts in executing corruption with distinction. Shame on us!

Until Ghanaians realise the harm their inability to enforcing the laws are doing to them, they will always remain objects of mockery, and be at the mercy of corrupt, incompetent and criminal politicians, traditional chiefs and queens, the few rich persons and the self-tickling-and-laughing academics.

God willing, I shall be back to discuss the other reasons offered by the naysayers in attempt to draw into their camp some hesitant acceptors (those saying yes) of the election of the MMDCEs.

Rockson Adofo
Sunday, 24 November 2019

Rockson Adofo
Rockson Adofo, © 2019

The author has 1860 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: RocksonAdofo

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