Ghana – a country in decadence?
A new friend I made recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while I was attending an Experts Group Meeting on Statistical Data Flow Architecture for National Systems in Africa asked me if I had a blog. I said yes. And he said I should blog more about my travels.
Yes. Indeed, lately I have been doing some travels, work related travels as a journalist taking part in meetings, training and covering events and conferences.
I would very much love to write about my travels, as I have done occasionally. But more importantly, I would like to blog more about Ghana, my motherland. This great country appears to be in crisis, despite the façade of the kind of democratic culture that the country has been practising for some time now. The peaceful democracy in Ghana has won the country great respect and honour around the world. I know that because my frequent travels gives me the privilege of meeting people from all over the world who are impressed by Ghana’s democracy and peace. The country has been described as a peaceful oasis in a turbulent West Africa, looking at Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
But beneath the admirable political calmness is a surging decadence unprecedented anywhere in a decent democratic culture. The culture of impunity and naked robbery perpetrated by the ruling class are not only nauseating but poignantly disturbing.
A stable democracy is all any people anywhere needed to pursue social and economic development – but not so in Ghana. Instead, it is all the political class needed to loot the national coffers. They are exploiting loopholes in the law to execute well crafted evil schemes to siphon urgently needed funds for development for themselves and their cronies.
The phenomena of ‘Judgement Debts’ have become the ‘legitimate’ means to steal from the public and share! Both ruling party members and the opposition party members all get their share, once the monies reach the main recipient.
There appears to be no such thing as raison d’État, what the French call the national interest any more.
While the President, his cabinet, and other public officials swear by the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, to uphold the law in the national interest, they turn around to protect the interest of the political parties on whose tickets they stood to win political office. The nation can go to hell! They seem to say.
Ghana is a great country with great potential, but poor, weak and short sighted leadership is making this country mark time instead of moving forward.
And sadly, the media is not playing its role effectively in checking the system because playing that role is precarious and financially unrewarding. Advertising revenues won’t come in or might shrink for any news organisation that dares to hold the politicians accountable. Indeed, it is not only politicians but corporate bodies which are also cashing in and taking advantage of the inefficiency in the national systems of checks and balances to make huge profits. News organisations that demand good governance and accountability are effectively ‘punished’, by being denied audience or advertising.
Ghana is bigger than any one, businesses or political parties. No nation, will survive any economic mismanagement, corruption and graft. Recent developments in the US and the Eurozone are indisputable evidences – no nation will escape economic and financial meltdowns if the rogues are allowed to steal unhindered.
The crisis has gone to the point where majority of the people have lost confidence in leadership. This development can deteriorate if the system fails to correct itself and Ghana will be closer to a dangerous breaking point.
While most people are talking about the disgusting rot in the system, others are praying for solutions. All these can’t be discounted as some sorts of efforts to address the situation, but more importantly, some specific, measured actions are needed to save this great country from the festering decadence and social malaise brought upon us by the greed of the shallow-minded incapable few who are running the affairs of the state.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi