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Citizens’ Quota to Corruption

Many a time when we think or talk of corruption what first erupts from our minds is “politicians” . Well, you can’t really chide the ordinary Ghanaian for thinking so, can you? Considering the level of national disarray Ghana is being plunged into if not already plunged, by those whom we give the mandate to govern us and make our lives better. Even a baby born less than forty eight hours can rote the problems confronting this country, in view of the ordeal it experiences at the hospital and its journey back home.

Would it be ignorance on my part to say nothing substantial, nothing deliberate, nothing concrete is transpiring in order to transform the lives of the masses. Even if anything is happening, it is not executed to it’s logical conclusion or not executed effectively and efficiently. For example, constant limping of the NHIS, the infamous power paralysis a.k.a “dumsor” the intermittent strike of some public institutions,you mention them. I honestly think it wouldn’t. And I’m sure you side with me. All we are seeing in this country is the provision of lip service by our politicians, and it’s very pathetic. Always sweet-talking, embarking on actions which only deserve temporary applause, issuing directives which don’t exceed exactly where they have been issued, distribution of freebies to some unprivileged citizens ranging from sanitary pads to sandals.  Simply put incompetent leadership. But citizen empowerment through effective and efficient social intervention is not my focus today.

Many politicians have contributed massively to the impoverishment of the masses in this country. However, my focus today is how to a copious extent, their contribution is as a result of their response to the very people they serve.  Yes! the actions of some of our politicians is precipitated by the sort demands and behaviors of the people.

Several instances abound, particularly in our electioneering periods where many electorates and even political party delegates demand items before they exercise their franchise. This is where the root of competency is uprooted and thrown to the dogs, this period in our political dispensation is where integrity is replaced with avarice, and potential selfless leaders are swapped for self serving  politicians all because of money, this is where we lost it all. If delegates of a particular political party say they wouldn’t vote in primaries in order to nominate a nominee who would contest on the ticket of a political party in a general election unless their hands are made wet as it were, then our political parties are wolves in sheep skin, they would be drawing us into an endless abyss of worriment and exhaustion. The aftermath of this pathetic politics where aspirants with heavier pockets carry the day is palpable. In that, these aspirants when elected to power, try to recoup much of the monies they used to campaign. Apparently, this is why we see many of our development projects start in earnest and come to a halt.

What’s more, If a member of parliament knows that every morning he would have a queue of community folks ranging from elderly men to school children in front of his house waiting to receive various amounts of money for a variety of activities, from engagement to funerals, would he or she even border about tackling the nitty-gritty issues pertaining to the livelihoods of his or her people? Essentially, the monies to build that community library, that community health center have been given to a group of folks to organize a funeral, some for naming ceremony and to pay school fees, this is because it is based on these petty petty freebies that the people would use to asses the MP, hence who ever the MP is would respond to that. Yes, because it’s natural. This arguably, and to some extent points to the impoverishment and a slack in our developments, especially in the grass roots. It also reveals how corruptible many of those governed are. I want to state categorically that i’m not in any way disagreeing with politicians, particularly those in power of being munificent, not at all. But I simply believe that if monies allocated to MPs to embark on some small scale projects in their communities, those monies should be used exactly for that for all to benefit. After all, the key responsibility of a Member of Parliament is to make laws to reflect the lives of the people they serve in other for the people to benefit directly or indirectly, it’s only a little fraction of their entire responsibilities renders that they embark on certain community projects with funds from the District Assembly Common Fund  (DACF).

Indeed, our infinitesimal comprehension of what political governance and leadership is has enormous adverse effect with respect to the relationship with our political leaders.  if citizens understand that leadership is selfless service, being responsible and accountable to the citizens, not stooping low to make petty request which benefit only but a few, then the course of governance is going alter significantly. We must understand we vested our collective power in our political leaders to govern, hence they should not behave as though they are rather doing us a favor. Basically, many a Ghanaian have reversed the course of governance and created a system which doesn’t work for us but rather seeks to entrench our hardships, as one writer said “….we are the co-authors of our misfortune…” We must demand what is duly ours from our political leaders and dispassionately and properly express our displeasure by voting them out for non-performance.

To conclude, I would like to end with the words of an anti corruption crusader, Patrice Lumumba, who said in one of his speeches, “Africa’s Greatest Tragedy” that “our levels of tolerance for corruption is amazing, those who do not engage in it directly, accommodate it”.

By: Kamal Deen Issah