Appointing former Attorney-General Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor is a bold step in the fight against age-old corruption but he’s no saviour.
It will be pure madness to confuse the anti-corruption campaigns by the card-bearing member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to mean he can stop corruption. It’s true he has demonstrated he is capable of protecting the public purse from looters but he can’t do that alone.
And this explains why I find it hilarious when people say corruption will reduce because of the appointment of Martin Amidu. It can’t be that one man alone can deal with the canker he may have remotely contributed to.
Leaving the corruption fight to Martin Amidu will be tantamount to one taking aim at the wind and expecting to catch it with his hands. You’re surely the next insane person in the room.
I don’t believe the challenge with Ghana’s anti-corruption fight in the past has been the absence of the requisite state institutions to try people found to have engaged in corrupt practices. I think the one thing that has frustrated our efforts has been the lethargic attitude of the people in power.
Our leaders are not ready to do what is right to empower the citizens.
We have the systems but the lack of political will, dedication and commitment on the part of our political actors have provided grounds for corruption to fester. This is where I think Martin Amidu may be of help but there is the need for a concerted effort to tackle the issue.
At the moment Ghanaians have no motivation to support the anti-corruption campaigns because both the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and NDC have proven they are not interested and committed to the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.
Despite president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s promise in the lead up to the 2016 general elections, to ensure the passage of the Bill, his one-year in office churned out more rhetorics than commitment. He is, after all, not a man in a hurry as he would want us to believe. He’s sleeping.
Information Minister Mustapha Hamid has explained the RTI Bill has not been passed because there are equally important Bills that require urgent attention. What the appointee, being paid with our tax, wants us to know is that the RTI Bill is not important to the Akufo-Addo government.
What is possible in the future is that corruption will continue to go in more innovative ways because citizens who are supposed to be part of the fight have not been given the relevant tools to engage and participate. These people will be compelled to support the criminals to rob the country.
The passage of the 15-year-old RTI Bill cannot be deferred to 2019 or any other year. Ghana was first to work on the Freedom of Information Bill before other countries in West Africa, but we have been left behind. The other countries with politicians who have nothing to hide from the public have gone ahead to pass the law.
These transitional countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso are coming out of civil wars or political crises but their leaders are committed to doing the right things for their citizens. But the most stable democracy in the region is still sleeping.
Truth is, Ghana’s politicians including president Akufo-Addo who have shown commitment to the RTI only in words have a lot to hide and they are ready to do what it takes to keep the Bill out of Parliament. They will maintain the status quo rather than upsetting it with the passage of the RTI Bill.
Let’s control our libido.
Anti-corruption campaigner Martin Amidu is no saviour and dealing with this truth will help us especially before the reality begins to dawn on us.
His appointment is the closest we can come as a people to dealing with corruption but the fact remains that the practice will still continue unless the RTI Bill leaves the shelf of the Attorney-General and find a space in Parliament.
Pass the RTI now.
The author, Austin Brakopowers is a Broadcast journalist at Joy99.7 and views expressed here are exclusively his and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Multimedia Group Limited or Myjoyonline.com. You can reach him via Brakomen@outlook.com