ABDUL HAYI MOOMEN WRITES: Corruption and the blame game
Corruption is old. It is very old indeed. If the religious narrative of how Satan misconducted himself in the creator’s kingdom is true, then corruption precedes creation – perhaps.
Corruption is strong. Not even King David, who defeated the giant terrorist, Goliath nor Samson, who could kill lions with his bare hands, nor Daniel who survived in the Lions den, nor Abdnego and his brothers who could not be consumed by fire, could defeat corruption.
When Noah built the Ark and asked animals to enter in pairs, it appears corruption was the first to get onto the Ark with his partner bribery. And since then, corruption has grown from strength to strength.
So far, no one has won the fight against it. Including the generals of our military, the commissioners of our police service, the Judges of our courts, the speakers of our Parliament and the presidents of our land.
The scourge thrives, ensuring that our country remains and jostles with Benin and Burkina Faso for the 41st position on the corruption perception index, the annual report of Transparency International.
Certain things have perked up my interest in the last couple of months as the campaign towards election 2020 prepares to climax.
One, I hope to not just hear, but also see what those who seek our thumbprints have done in the past and hope to do in the future to fight corruption. I want to, not just hear, but also see the tools, weapons and utensils they used in the past and hope to use in the future in this battle. I want to hear those who seek our thumbprint confess and accept the fact that they are but human and may have failed in some aspects of the fight against corruption. I want to hear those who seek our thumbprints name and shame some of those who they appointed and who may have stolen money, diverted funds, breached procurement processes and generally taken advantage of their positions to acquire wealth at the expense of the rest of us. I want to hear some truth.
Two, I am intrigued by the extent to which the fight against corruption has become a game. The name of the game remains the same without shame. It is the blame game. The blame game has become a means by which a successor administration excuses its disappointing performances. The blame game, a sickening indulgence never resisted by successor administrations, rests on the logic that if your predecessor handed you an Augean stable, you are not in much luck because you are forced to clean it out to help you see your way before planning your forward movement.
You see, the fact is that corruption does not fully capture the act of stealing. A person can indeed be corrupt without stealing a dime because corruption encompasses many things. If we do not expand and elevate the definition of corruption beyond its current confines of public officers and their minions freely helping themselves to our commonwealth in state treasuries, we will at best be doing the trotro mate style of fighting. Trotro mates often get into fights with each other but none of them ever throws a blow. They keep punching in the air, never really hitting or hurting their enemy. That is how we have fought corruption all these years.
We are not serious as a nation in chaining the rogue.
The more I listen to political party commentary and arguments concerning the fight against corruption, the more I am persuaded that the anti-graft war has largely failed because its commanders and foot soldiers have concentrated their arsenal on noisily cutting off the branches, not in uprooting the tree itself. If a tree lives, it will always grow its cut off branches back. The tree of corruption lives on because, over the years, we have only been pruning the branches.
Not too long ago, it emerged that indeed some excavators which had been seized from illegal miners had mysteriously gotten lost. Not too long before that, the media reported that some tricycles had also mysteriously, either “flown” away from the NDA compound in Tamale. As usual, instead of asking for proper investigations into these matters, we intelligently found a way of introducing the blame game – politics!
The umbrellas accused the elephants of stealing the excavators and the tricycles. The elephants quickly responded by reminding the umbrellas of the Guinea fowls that “flew to Burkina Faso”. (I have always maintained that Guinea fowls are not migratory birds and could certainly not have flown anywhere).
Today, there is talk about how it has been established by a UK court that some persons in Ghana between 2009 and 2015 were engaged in fraudulent deals during the acquisition of some aircraft for our country. The report does not mention specific names except to tell us about “Government official 1 and intermediary 5, 6, 7 and the rest”. However, somehow, because we are always in a hurry to politicize corruption, some persons have magically, without any investigations been able to establish the so-called identities of the nameless people. (In my next letter, I will explain why the characters in this plot were not named.
Dear Ghanaian, recently, when the 2019 CPI was announced, I sat back and watched how our leaders behaved like Musa my classmate in primary school. We were thirty in class after the end of term examinations, Musa was adjudged the 29th best pupil out of the 30. He happily sent his report card home and said to his father “you must be proud of me because this term, I wasn’t last”. Musah had only managed to beat Karim who had been taken ill and therefore could not write the examination that term.
It seems to me, and I am not making this argument for the first time, that ours appears to be a country where the angels are always in the present and the devils are in the past. That’s why only former officials are ever prosecuted for alleged acts of corruption.
But somehow, by a system of political metamorphosis, when tomorrow comes, the angels of today find themselves in bed with the horned one. I blame the blame game. It has no shame and its name will remain the same. Shame on blame!
I’m highly intrigued by your show of ambidexterity in dealing with matters of this kind, unlike many journalist, civil society organizations and political commentators who will never see anything wrong with either side of their political beliefs. It behoves on all of us to give our leaders a run for their money and to hold them really accountable to their stewardship, and that’s the first step towards development, thumbs up Sir Abdul Hayi Moomen!!!!!