A lot has happened in the last six months to confirm that change has not taken place as envisaged by a good number of Ghanaians with the coming into office of the new administration on January 7, 2017.
The nation’s leader and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo took office with a lot of goodwill, which is still in the air. Along with the goodwill, came the hope and expectations that change will come. But some of the mistakes in these early days of the administration have threatened to evaporate this hope and expectations.
While the President has been consistent in saying the right things, the gap between what he says and the realities on the ground keep increasing which makes me wonder if he is capable of leading Ghana’s socio-economic and cultural transformation, he promised or he has just taken up a mission impossible, by just being at the right place at the right time for the job of President.
Oh my God! There is stealing everywhere! Stealing, which has been christened – “corruption” to hide its true identity, is well established in Ghanaian culture and values, where it has also been called different names to deceive us. In recent years stealing has been traced to monetisation of politics evidenced in vote buying, greed, patronage, looting and sharing; weaknesses in institutional structures, with its attendant failure to enforce laws without fear or favour.
Take a micro case in point, where in a thriving hair dressing salon, the Chief Apprentice agrees with a hitherto loyal customer that the fee charged by the owner was too high. She agrees to go to the customer’s house to do it for less. She “took” (nice word) – stole hair lotions and creams from the business and provided the service to the customer at 50% less. Cost of creams and lotions, water, electric and man power in the business cost more than 50% of the service charge. Soon the business began to lose customers and the business failed. The owner, three other apprentices and the Chief Thief apprentice became unemployed and poor.
That is the microcosm of Ghana’s story. Sadly, majority of employees (high and low) in Ghana, including holy spirit-filled tongue blasting Christians believe in the culture of stealing from the employer, nicely called “eating at your work place”.
Sad to say, those who believe in honest labour and honest wages are having hard times at the hands of the work place mafia (high and low). That is at the micro level.
At the macro-level, the mafia operates a scheme of patronage to steal without getting caught. First they get to know what the boss wants to see, hear or read and they do just that through fair or foul means – lies, misrepresentation, threats, blackmail, scheming, seductions and enlistment of “evil dwarfs” – Credit JJ Rawlings; to facilitate the agenda of having more – money, power, influence at the expense of the tax payer.
One of the major reasons the previous administration was ousted at the December 2016 elections was corruption and misapplication of public funds. The perpetrators denied wrong doing and in instances where they were caught red-handed they had political cover and got away with “murder”. There is assurance that some of the stealing cases that were swept under carpet in the previous administration would be reactivated with the establishment of the Independent Public Prosecutor’s office, which is going through the legislation phase.
To the extent that the governance system remains the same, one may not expect a 100% turn around immediately. But the signals are not positive, when developments such as have recently taken place with the sale of contaminated oil at the Bulk Oil Distribution Company (BOST) pops up.
Members of the previous administration are convinced that stealing is going on. There are counter allegations that they are making noise to equalize in anticipation of prosecution for the stealing they engaged in while in public office. One thing is clear. Whether it was stealing in the previous administration, or the current one; both sides of the political divide agree that there has been and there is stealing going on. But what are we doing with the general agreement?
When stealing, patronage and greed are combined with lawlessness, the state is bound to fail. If and only if we can change the language and call stealing what it is, we would have started the real fight against stealing with a good chance of winning. Let us do ourselves some good. The stealing has become the norm all around us and is suffocating. We can only stop it by calling it what it is. Stealing!
The Last uprising
…with William Dowokpor