PRECIS: There is corruption everywhere in the world. But it is systemic in Ghana because we don’t punish unlawful greed.
· There is corruption in Brazil. But former President Lula just got sentenced to a 10-year term for corruption.
· There is corruption in South Korea. But it took a lady called Cha So-Soon, 950 attempts to get her driving license.
· There is corruption in Israel. But former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail for corruption.
· There is corruption in Ghana and the last people to go to jail for it were…
1. Centuries of exploitation by the West has laid the ground work for poverty and underdevelopment (100 years of gold => Galamsey)
2. Economy dependent on raw materials and thus at the mercy of the West (cocoa)
That’s the role of the West. The rest are entirely our fault!!
3. Questionable post-colonial leadership, rampant coups (small amenities coup in Ghana)
4. Our elections have little importance than a Kotoko v. Hearts match. “We shall score you, we shall put pepper in your eyes.”
5. We expect better performance standards from Black Stars players than political leaders.
6. Corruption is expected! – “Obiaa didi ne edwuma ho”, “Onyame mma wo dwa”
7. Political despondency – “obiaa baa saa”
8. Political powerlessness and official impotence (Auditor-General) leading to “fa ma Nyame” or “me re ye foo na m’edzi mo dokon”
9. We get what we need from the politicians during elections – T Shirts, Check-check, drinks and GH¢20.
10. Rampant indiscipline (instant gratification v. delayed gratification)
11. Decay in or lack of work-ethic (integrity, sense of responsibility, emphasis on quality, discipline, teamwork, etc. are all missing)
12. Pure human greed. Pride associated with good honest hard work has been replaced by quick wealth and power and fame.
13. We consider Creativity as unrewarding and time-consuming and so do not encourage it
14. Unwarranted and unsupported religiosity that obscures reason and hard work. Note how Churches that preach holiness are less populated than churches that preach prosperity.
15. Beggar (goro boy) mentality – we beg for everything and then beg for those who are caught.
16. Dependency syndrome
17. Culture of entitlement
18. Thank You mentality – we feel a sense of thanking people even for performing official functions. Is “gift giving” is cultural? Apae!
19. Unquestioning obeisance to authority and demonising those who ask questions (OccupyGhana and Galamsey). And often those who are asking questions just want the opportunity to “eat” too.
20. It is an oddity to be honest or follow the law.
21. Tribal loyalties – chiefs and elders show up for no reason other than the person belonging to them, family allegiances.
22. Fawning obsequiousness – how did Ackah Blay-Miezah become a chief?
23. Glorification of wealth, even that which is sudden, inexplicable and unexplained.
24. Keeping up with the Mensahs (Joneses)
25. We don’t have a sense of ownership national government, re colonial state. (“Government work is dragged on the ground, not carried”)
26. Corruption has been normalised and the people have been desensitised and immunised. We condemn it only when we aren’t benefitting. Nothing appears earth-shattering to us.
27. Collective short term memory of about 2 days, maximum one week. We just move on to the next juicy news.
28. We treat it as only a moral issue. But it is a crime.
29. Legally, corrupt officials are allowed to skip jail by simply paying stolen monies back. Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459), section 35
30. We don’t enforce even the law that exists. Did anyone go to jail after the Anas expose? We saw Smarttys, GYEEDA etc.
31. The system is set up to make you corrupt (‘arrest’ for speeding, why can we not have on-the-spot fines or would that lead to on-the-spot increased bribes?)
32. The bureaucracy is set up to run and depend on corruption.
33. Knowledge and belief that we can and will get away with it.
34. Great laws with major (and possibly deliberate) defects, e.g., private corruption is not a crime!!
35. Great laws but deliberately forgotten and have never been, and will never be, enforced.
36. Low salaries?? Really? Did bribery stop after Single-Spine? Doesn’t increased salaries simply lead to bigger bribes?
37. Unreasonable laws and taxes, make following the law or paying taxes too costly.
38. Politicians pay to be elected to ‘serve’, pay when they are ‘serving’ in power, and pay to get elected again to ‘serve’. A vicious cycle.
39. Deliberately disabled and unworkable checks and balances
40. Are we cowards? Nobody wants to stand up to be counted. We tamp down on those who want to speak up. “We like matter but fear matter.”
By Ace Ankomah