Can Akufo-Addo fight corruption?

I’m not a pessimist, however, it is now becoming clearer to me that the much touted campaign promise by the then presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, now the President of the Republic of Ghana, in the run-up to the December 7, 2016 election campaign promise to fight corruption has hit a snag.

There is no gainsaying the fact that President Akufo-Addo won the 2016 election on his incorruptibility campaign message to Ghanaians.  In fact that message went down well with the electorate, as the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government led by former President John Dramani Mahama at the time was saddled with so many alleged corrupt scandals.

Ghanaians were indeed fed up with Mahama’s administration, and as a result fell in love with Nana Addo’s message of incorruptibility, hence his massive victory in the 2016 election.  But it looks like the barely 7-month-old administration of President Akufo-Addo is likely to follow the footsteps of the past government which failed to fight corruption, hence its rejection by Ghanaians.

If I’m not mistaken the current administration since its assumption into office on January 7, 2017, has been hit by two alleged corrupt scandals.  The first one was the allegation by the Gender Minister, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, who said that the NPP’s Northern Regional Minister, Bugri  Naabu, had collected fowls and goats from some people, and promised them that he (Bugri Naabu) would use his influence to get them District  Chief Executive (DCE) positions in the Tamale metropolis.

That was a serious allegation which many people thought the President would do something about it by instituting an independent committee to look into the matter so as to send a strong signal to his appointees as well as the entire country that he would not countenance any corrupt practices in his government.  But what did President Akufo-Addo do? Absolutely nothing!

His silence over the issue was a clear departure from his position on corruption when his party was in opposition.  Or is it the case of I see no evil, I hear no evil, now that his party is in power?   He should not forget that what killed Mahama’s second term dream was his failure to deal with same issues which confronted him during his tenure.

The latest scandal was the BOST saga which for me was a litmus test for President Akufo-Addo to have shown to the world that corruption and bribery have no place in his government.  Though it was an allegation that the Managing Director (MD) of BOST sold 500 million litres of contaminated oil to unlicensed company, Movenpiina, and since the BOST MD was appointed by the President, he (President Akufo-Addo) should have ordered him to step down to allow for transparent and independent investigations into the matter.

Well, someone may argue that the President doesn’t need to interfere with the work of the energy ministry where BOST falls under, but we are talking about someone who promised Ghanaians that under his watch every penny will be accounted for, and will protect the national purse from looters.  So what has changed in his six months in office?

I do agree that in fighting corruption you need everybody on board to make it work. Nevertheless, I’m tempted to believe that the talking is becoming too much. Fine, the Office of the Special Prosecutor will be in place very soon to deal with corrupt issues, but before that office is legally established, the other anti-corrupt state institutions must be seen working without fear or favour.

We all know that no country can develop without making corruption unattractive.  The truth of the matter is that corruption has become a bane on our economy, and the earlier we all rise up against it like we are doing to galamsey, the better for the country.  It is good that we are always reminded about the government’s determination to fight corruption but that is not enough.  There should be measures and mechanisms put in place to deter people from engaging in corrupt practices.  And until we do that the fight against corruption will just be a mere rhetoric, which will yield no positive results.



…with Atta Kwaku Boadi

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