Corruption; The Bedrock of Africas Problems
I love this quote from Theodore Roosevelt, which says: “A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” I couldnt agree with him more. The educated and the elite in Africa are the connoisseurs of the corruption clouding our beautiful sky. Their knowledge is channeled to create a system that benefits the few in society to the disadvantage of the majority.
There is also a saying that, ‘’when the ordinary citizen works hard, the educated uses their pen to steal.’’ I can say that Africa’s progress is hindered by the educated in society; it looks like they want to find solutions to our predicaments, but they are opening the wounds than healing them.
Corruption has become an acceptable norm in Ghana and Africa as a whole; we don't see anything wrong with it anymore and even if we do, we do not know how to fight it. Corruption has moved from those times when the menace was done behind the curtains, to a different status of it taken centre stage in the light.
Corruption in Africa spans from the corridors of power to the ordinary person on the street. What is making corruption a vicious cycle in Africa is that, the leaders are highly involved, and they also invite their cronies to the party. Their level of corruption is killing the development of African nations. However the populace also is engaged in bribery and corruption on a small scale.
Hence they think their level of involvement is nowhere near those in the political sphere so they should be given the benefit of doubt to engage in it. But this scenario is like sin; every sin is sin and there is no category of sin that predominantly outweighs the other.
What we tend toforget is that those that engage in corruption on a small scale later grow to become the leaders of the country, and then the cycle continues. This is the reason why corruption has become like a terminal disease in our part of the world.
Therefore corruption has become a cultural practice because the consequences are no longer heaped on those who are involved in the act; hence many think that, if they dont participate in corrupt activities then you are losing out of the immense benefits documented by those that are highly involved.
According to an article by Transparency International dated November 30 2015, ‘’Nearly 75 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated to have paid a bribe in the past year – some to escape punishment by the police or courts, but many forced to pay to get access to the basicservices that they desperately need.’’ This is further reiterated by the chairman of Transparency International, José Ugaz: he says,;Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation.” This depict the fact that the damaging effects of corruption is unprecedented and the earlier we deal with it the better for the sustainable development of Africa.
The question is how do we fight something when the custodian/the makers of the laws of the land to the highest hierarchy of positions are involved? Is it a battle that can easily be won or it seems an insurmountable task?
How do we fight such a war and win? The questions are endless and the answers are few.
The fact is, corruption as in any part of the world cannot be eradicated but it can be highly minimized.
No corrupt person would wake up one day and say;I have changed my mind and henceforth I will stop my corrupt activities; This means that this menace can be dealt with, if we build strong institutions and use technology as a tool to control it. Our leaders must show exemplary leadership and the citizens should be committed to hold the leaders accountable; this is the fundamental principle in dealing with corruption.
Everyone has a role in fighting corruption. The bottom line is you cannot fight anything in life that you don;t have knowledge of. The Bible says, ;for the lack of knowledge my people perish.
Hence understanding what the law says about corruption is your first weapon in fighting bribery and corruption; knowledge is the key to get out of the dungeons of corruption.
We also need to start challenging the status quo; Our institutions have done things in a certain way with the baseline of corruption. It's time for us to challenge those unruly procedures that have siphoned resources to the detriment of the ordinary citizen. The battle is not for one person but for all those that are hungry for change.
Our political leaders in the past and present have not been able to have a firm grip in fighting corruption in Ghana. Hence the battle to fight it continues unabated.
During this election, my advice to all voters is to, vote for the leader who would fight corruption; that leader who has the development of the country at heart and one who makes the people first in his/her developmental policies and not self seeking gains.
This is a great opportunity for us to vote for the leaders that will create an atmosphere that breeds success. I will end by calling on all the great citizens of GHANA to have a peaceful election where we will exercise extreme patience, tolerance and co-existence in spite of our differences. Meaning PEACE should be the mantra of this election.
Always remember it is possible if only you believe. God bless Ghana, God bless the people of the land.
Details of Author
Name – Oscar Bimpong Bio – Transformational Speaker and Business Consultant