,,This You Must Know"
The protests in Ghana by Fix the country and many others before them started because of hikes in prices of commodities, basic utilities that angered people. But that should be only the catalyst. Across the country people should have been taking to the streets in increasingly large numbers to demand that their politicians are held to account.
upwards of – 29.2 USD bn – in debt, We should demand to know why so much money borrowed has been invested in buildings instead of using them to create jobs–which would yield income to build buildings. We should demand to want to know why politicians are giving themselves pay raises when inflation is hurting the poor.
,,The message we should be sending to the political elite is clear: we do not trust them to work in our best interests. We want them to be accountable to us". In a country that was seen to be making progress in bridging the gap between rich and poor during the Nkrumah era, and in taking a serious stand against corruption in the past, today we see over bloated expenditures around everything that should hit our raw nerves.
I don't suppose we understand how much we pay daily in taxes due to VAT to want to demand accountability.
Ghana loses more than $3 billion every year through corruption, the Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on
Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Rev. Richard Quayson, has said. Source: graphic online
The amount is said to be about 300 percent of all the so called aid it receives in the same period, according to a study by IMANI which looked at procurement losses in the reports of the Auditor General between 2012 and 2014 and compared it to the aid received by the country.
We must have independent accountability bodies at all levels. Not internal auditors attached to funds from government.
A promising start President Nana Akufo-Addo stated clearly during his election campaigns that he would fight corruption during his time in office. Then the president himself made a good start by receiving bribe that was caught on video.
We Ghanaians only shared on social media until the dust settled and then the corruption skyrocketed into full blown broad day light legal corruption.
We didn’t demand accountability with public outcry enough, we did not demand his stepped down like it would have been in the western world. Akufo-Addo should have been convicted and sentenced to serve prison term.
But no, we do not demand convictions of corrupt people, including high profile politicians instead we see the benefitting party hail instead of demand accountability as a watershed in the fight against corruption in politics.
Non-existent laws have made it possible to make it harder for the Supreme Court to convict politicians. And we do not demand the Supreme Court judges should not be presidential appointees.
Access to information
Access to information, is the cornerstone of the Open Government Partnership, that should now become a renewed focus at all levels of political space. Have we had the freedom of speech Bill passed?
We have every reason to be wary. Over the years there have been too many examples of corruption because of lack of information about public accounts.
For example, it was only after investigative journalists Anas Aremeyaw Anas revealed systematically rerouted public funds into private bank accounts, bribery among others that we saw a sit up.
Even he has been silenced and there has not been public outcry.
Politicians have created a roster of ‘ghost employees’ who have been and continue to receive benefit payments among others. Yet we accept what we are given which is no jobs but paying of high taxes.
The power of transparency
Brazil hosted the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Brasilia in 2012 which brought together many people from 140 countries to attend a three day workshop.
Discussions of the conference concluded with The Brasilia Declaration, a rousing call for people to stand up for
what they believe in and to fight against corruption and embrace transparency.
We must focus on daily lives and concerns and make efforts toward transparency and the fight against corruption by empowering the people.
The fight against corruption must mean more than just passing laws. Not that there is any practice of Anti-Corruption laws in practicality in Ghana that I know of but nonetheless.
It must mean the practice of transparency
in day-by-day government activities; and the impact must be felt at every level of society and we should be compelled as citizens to join forces instead of making excuses for them.
The most vulnerable people in our society, often severely affected by corruption, must hold leaders to their word, and expose those who go back on promises.
Let us demand access to information through free press, unsensored internet and the many open pathways there are to inform the public. Lets join forces and facilitate the fight against corruption.
We can reduce impunity and require independent and well-resourced judiciaries that are accountable to we the people they serve.
,,We call on you leaders in Africa especially Ghana to embrace not only transparency in public life but culture of transparency that would foster a participatory society in which leaders are accountable ".
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