We can put up with any government but an irresponsible, immature and a nagging one that blames its predecessor for its predicaments.
The political shake-up in 2016 that ushered in a change in government will be for nothing if, after one year in office, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) will continue to blame the past regime for its inability to deal with critical issues such as corruption.
This pure phoney-dodgy attitude of president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his men should not be accepted. There’s a consensus that ex-president John Mahama’s mismanagement of the economy may have been responsible for the mess Ghana finds itself. That was months into the four-year term of the new government but we won’t accept it after a year in office.
Not any more friends!
The failure of the NPP government to take responsibility for its failings stands as the greatest obstacle to our development. The NPP was voted in to fix Mahama’s mess, so if at any time it feels it isn’t up to the task, it has to exit for a more capable hand to be brought in. We’re no longer ready to experiment as we did with Mahama.
The latest attempt to blame the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the country’s poor ranking on the Transparency International (TI)’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), is one more evidence of the hide and seek posture of this government.
In spite of the noise made about the incorruptibility of president Akufo-Addo and his men, the perception of graft in Ghana has been revealed to be extraordinarily high. In fact, it is higher than it was during Mahama’s regime and the CPI statistics have proven that.
From an intolerable poor score of 43 in 2016 under Mahama, Ghana has shed three points and dropped three places after it scored 40 in the latest index. This is a disaster that has exposed our anti-corruption efforts as merely noise-making.
That this occurred under the very watch of Mr Akufo-Addo is not in contention. However, what has spawned the rather shameful debate is the shift in blame, which mustn’t be in the first place. It’s extremely concerning, to me as a journalist, that a government will desperately try to evade responsibility for cheap politics.
It’s instructive to note that the survey and assessments used by Transparency International included questions relating to bribery of public officials, embezzlement of public funds, kickbacks in public procurement and anti-corruption efforts.
Riding to power on the back of corruption perception in the previous government, president Akufo-Addo did little in 2017. We can credit him for showing commitment to the anti-corruption fight in words but there was no action as he had promised the citizens.
And several high-profile corruption allegations were levelled against his government, which he dismissed as works of his critics aimed at undermining his efforts.
But the hurried manner he disposed of those claims will forever stand in judgment of his administration as one of the most cover-up regimes in the history of the country. And the CPI ranking has proven to be a reliable estimate of the prevalence of corruption under president Akufo-Addo.
The Index didn’t measure corruption perception in 2016 but rather 2017. The president needs to deal with this by accepting responsibility for our score and position on the CPI.
Acknowledging one’s shortfalls is one step away from breakthroughs. The government has to explore ways of dealing with the canker, including partnering key anti-graft institutions such as the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
He also needs to work with Parliament to ensure the passage of the Right to Information Bill that has been in and out of the House for the past 17 years. Doing the right things require boldness and the Freedom of Information law is one of it. It’s the right thing to do.
Public sector corruption is sinking millions of cedis that could have been used to build health facilities, roads and schools in many of the deprived communities in Ghana. And President Akufo-Addo has a unique opportunity to change the narrative because he still commands the support of Ghanaians.
The president is to blame for Ghana’s weak corruption score and poor ranking, not ex-president John Dramani Mahama.
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