Ghana is in frenzy. The appointment of Hon. Martin Amidu has excited many people. On top of this feeling sits President Nana Addo-DankwahAkuffo Addo. He promised a gruelling fight against corruption. All he needed was a secret weapon. Public Agenda commends the President for this smart move; he swerved many of his opponents and gave Ghana someone we can all be proud of.
There is no doubt that the President is committed to the fight against corruption. By appointing Hon. Martin Amidu, he has shown that he can see beyond party lines and do something that puts him above all Ghana’s recent rulers. There is also no doubt that martin Amidu has demonstrated clear anti-corruption spirit. Alone he kept the issue of someone called Woyome in the headlines. He questioned his own party’s commitment to the anti-corruption fight. The President could not have appointed anyone better for this role.
In spite of this some caution is necessary. It will not be the first time that a President has taken the bull of corruption by the horns. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s dawn broadcasts against corruption was feared by elements in his own party. In 1979, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council did the un thinkable when it executed several Generals including two former heads of State. Now we know better. Following the December 31 coup, the peoples tribunals put on trial several people ostensible for ostentatious living.
However, it was not the Peoples Tribunals that brought down corruption. It was the example of leading elements in the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC 1) that did the trick. Chris Atim, AllolgaAkata Pore, Brigadier Nunoo Mensah, Rev. Damuah, the late Amartey Kwei and several others led ascetic lives. They did not live luxurious and ostentatious live. They did not drive in long convoys of shinny cars. Others were forced to follow their example. To be fair, Ghana’s former leaders led exemplary lives and provided good leadership. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (CPP), Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia (Progress Party) and General Kutu Acheampong did not go shopping and building with Ghana’s money. Their wives did not sell state owned companies to themselves, nor grab public lands.
This shows that leadership is key to the fight against corruption. The personal commitment of key anti-corruption agents is also important. But on his own, Martin Amidu will be fighting a losing battle. He needs a dedicated team who think and behave like him. He needs men and women of integrity, of officers who believe in the greater Ghana project.
At the national level, Ghanaians want to see a change from the current system of grab and take, or loot and share as it is known, we need a change of mindset. Che Guevara once said that the greatest test of the Cuban revolution, and what it did was to fight to change the mindset of Cubans. If the Police Service, our trained soldiers, Doctors, nurses, civil servants, academics, Parliamentarians and Judges join the fight against corruption, then the role of the Special Prosecutor (SP) will impact on our lives.
In order to support these efforts, Parliament needs to pass as a matter of urgency, the Right to Information Bill. It will help the SP, capacitate citizens and show that the current parliament supports the President’s efforts.
Ideally, this is one area where cross party efforts will be necessary. But are our Parliamentarians serious and conscientious enough to jettison party and join the front ranks of the fight against corruption?
Pubic Agenda believes that corruption can be reduced and eventually eliminated. However, it must be a national effort. If we could defeat British colonialism we can also defeat this monster called corruption.