The court of Public Opinion in Ghana, is where all manner of people gather to share their opinions on prevailing issues and any other matters arising as it were. Ironically, this court is not in any particular edifice or building as it were. Rather, the location can be any suitable public place.
In this very court, everybody’s opinion is considered right. Except that, the most vibrant voices dominates. Interestingly, on one occasion I happened to join the debate. The topic for discussion at the time was about “CORRUPTION”. Indeed, most of the people contending on the issue that day spoke with passion and vigor.
To some, our ‘SYSTEM’ is carved in such a way that, it permits or if you like allows corruption. Some also holds the view that, the corruption in Ghana is far and way beyond that of a Prosecutor and that, the office is just a waste of time and money. Why? Because, they question the existence of the Attorney General office, EOCO, CHRAJ, BNI and the CID of the Police department among others. Accordingly, some also contended that, corruption is in our blood.
Indeed, that reminds me of, one former President who said “Corruption started from Adam”. As curious as I was and looking for answers to the contending questions above. I asked, what is CORRUPTION? According to the (WORDNET).Corruption, is Inducement (as of public official) improper means (as bribery) to violate duty (as by committing a felony).
2 The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity, depravity; wickedness, impurity; bribery. Based on all the premises above, it is obvious that, to fight corruption one needs nothing but a strong (SYSTEM). A system that is flexible and human friendly, than the one that is so tight and unfriendly, and would rather scared people and if you like, forced them to choose other means than the system as it were.
Talking about systems, this reminds me of President Obama, former President of the USA when he visited Ghana. In his famous speech he said “Africa does not need strong men, to fight corruption, but strong SYSTEMS and Institutions”. Yes, but in other to agree more with President Obama, I asked my Teacher again, what a system is? And yes, according to my Teacher the (WORDNET), System; is an internally organized whole where elements are so intimately connected that they operate as one in relation to external conditions and other systems. Every system is something whole. So anything that corresponds to the demands of unity and stability (an atom, a molecule, a crystal, the solar system, the orgasm society).
Every system forms a whole but not every whole is a system. In other words, (System) is basically, the Regulations, Principles, Guidelines and Structures set aside by Law to if you like check and prevent CORRUPTION among others. Interestingly enough, in Ghana today, all these regulations and guidelines are clearly spelled out in our books. Yet, the very people who presides over these Laws as it were rather, recklessly violates these laws with impunity.
In other words, they blatantly ignore these regulations set aside in the System, to prevent Corruption and rather paved the way for the System to be abused so to say. Indeed, how do we prevent Corruption, when one person takes a monthly salary of over GHC100,000.00 plus a free car, fuel, maintenance allowance, a bungalow and free medicals among others. Whilst the poor Civil Servant takes a monthly salary of GHC 500.00.
With this same salary, he pays his rent, transport, electricity, medicals and his children school fees among others. Between this two, who should enjoy free medicals, free transport, free electricity, and free rent among others? Indeed, our own Presidents both past and present after swearing the oath of secrecy to serve, protect and defend the citizens of Ghana, also directly or indirectly joins the band wagon (arguably though) why? When in power, the State provides anything the President so desires or want, with the tax payer’s money. I mean everything is freely provided whilst in office. Yet, at the end of every month the President takes over GHC 25, 000.00 as salary plus per diem and other allowances anytime he travels. Also, at the end of his term the President, is entitled for a two mansions at a place of his choice, plus a couple of cars, office and security.
Indeed, he also retires on his salary. How much and what does the poor Civil Servant gets after serving for 20-40 years? Consequently, there are other heads of Institutions who equally enjoy huge salaries although not exactly that of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, plus all the other benefits anyway. Not to mention the Ministers of state among others. Leaving the poor Civil Servants to wallow in poverty. No wonder, the Politician would do every means possible to become a President, a Minister, an MP and a Governor among others.
Likewise, Heads of Institutions like National Petroleum Authority, (NPA) COCOBOD, VRA, GPHA, GNPC and the Regional Maritime Authority among others, would use every possible means to also manipulate the System, to also keep their so called positions as it were. Indeed, the Immigration Officer would also have his way by allowing immigrants and other things in and out of the country, so is the Customs Officer, the Accountant, the Auditor, the Judge, Nurses, Doctors, Teachers, the Police, the Journalist and of course the Civil Servant.
Even Pastors, some anyway. No wonder, you and I struggled to get a Passport, Driving License, B/D Certificates, Building Permits and Land Titles among others. Indeed, all the names and Institutions mentioned above among others, have contributed in one way or the other, in dis-stabilizing or if you like breaking down the SYSTEM. It is therefore an undeniable fact that, in Ghana our ‘SYSTEM’ has indeed, fallen apart and the center cannot hold. Hence, the Pillars holding the system are not ‘Strong’.
As the EX President of the USA Obama, rightly said. All the above notwithstanding however, another school of thought holds that; Yes, our System has fallen apart, simply because, it lacks ‘Enforcement’. This time around, I tried to find out from a different teacher what Enforcement is, it is the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation. (Google). In other words the ability to compel or enforce rules, regulations and guidelines in the System. Indeed, in all these various institutions the rules, regulations and guidelines governing these institutions are clearly spelled out as it were. Yet, the enforcement is the big deal.
Example, it is law in Ghana that, one is not supposed to pay more than six month’s rent advance. Yet, Landlords and Landlady’s are flouting the law with impunity, and the law enforcers are looking on unconcern. No wonder many Civil Servants are still struggling to rent. Why not? A single room Self Contain now ranges from GHC100 to GHC300.00 depending on the location but “who cares”. Indeed, that is why any time there is an increase in Fuel, transport fares are equally increased anyhow without any control, always leading to frustrations and misunderstanding between passengers and private commercial transport owners. Of course, that is why private schools including the universities are charging fees anyhow with impunity. That is why our taps runs out anyhow, that is why our lights goes off anyhow, even though we use pre-paid meters and that is why there are no street lights even though we pay for them.
That is why, people sell in the streets all over Accra with impunity. Indeed, that is why as citizens, we still struggle to get Passports, Driving License, Birth certificates, Land Titles among others. The System, has indeed fallen apart, the center cannot hold. I mean the Institutions, laws, regulations and guidelines, which are the pillars that holds the System intact, has grown weak. Basically, due to lack of Enforcement. Therefore I asked, the “CORRUPTION IN GHANA WHO IS TO BE BLAMED THE SYSTEM OR THE ENFORCEMENT”?