As a young boy who encountered the Ghanaian society in the 1990s, I was challenged by an environment where my community consumed its resources with some sense of fairness and without cheating the poor.
At Mayera, in the Jaman North District (Sampa) of Ghana, a villager would take his share of the communal bread and pass on the rest to the neighbour. The said neighbour also took his or her share of the small bread and passes it on to another. This practice was attractive and was upheld not just because of food scarcity but alsobecause of a culture of self help, sharing and selflessness.
Even more interesting was that no person selfishly claimed sole ownership of the bread in the community nor decided to deny community members from enjoying the shade of the only mango tree located in the middle of the community. All the people equally enjoyed the shade communally.
This was a culture that was not limited to Mayera but a practice that had symptoms in and across every Ghanaian community I knew at the time. From Sunyani to Kumasi these values were upheld. From Volta to the Northern region these values were respected. In other words, there were days that no (Ghanaian) would go to the dustbin for food because resources that belong to the community and the state were equally shared.
We experienced that as young people but what do we see in Ghana today at the national level? Our children are eating from the dust bins of the rich because the food meant for the whole community is selfishly stored in the houses of the politically advantaged. In other words, the ruling class thinks it is their turn to eat without fair public sharing of state resources. As things stand, the few are getting richer and the gap between the poor and the rich is widening. When we were growing up we were with children of the rich politicians in public universities but today that is not happening.
Corruption is the major cause of this. It is the disease that forces you to take what belongs to the many and privatise it as self asset or family thing.
As a Ghanaian, I had am a firm belief in 2016 that the Nana Addo led administration would perform uniquely in the fight against corruption. Many taunted Nana Addo as the anti-corruption JESUS. Many hoped he was the first and last verse of anti-corruption.
Many believed he would put iron of justice on corruption. Many believed he would jail the corrupt and free the ordinary poor from the chains of poverty to uphold the values of fairness and accountability. But this has not been the case.
Today , corruption in Ghana is smiling, and it is killing more more people on the street than HIV AIDS.. Corruption is politically supervised, militarised and deadly.
Corruption is wrecking down more lives than Coronavirus. For instance, we have the menzgold scadal that claimed many depositors lives and broke down many homes. We had the number 12 scandal that led to Ahmed Suare´s death. We have had corrupt episodes of the AGYAPA deal that is yet to render Ghana without gold; the PDS Scandal, the Australia VISA fraud, and the many corruption scandals. These scandals have happened within a politically endorsed environment and little check or even no convincing anti-corruption effort is made by our institutions paid to check corruption.
Individuals who intend to sacrifice their lives to curb corruption have been politically victimised. Today, Domelevo is sacked and Martin Amidu has resigned due to executive interferences. To these issues, one turns to believe that the anti-corruption JESUS in Ghana has beautifully failed. The Nana Addo led administration has failed to win the war on corruption. The consequences of these failings is that those who are thieves and hiding behind leadership will take away from the poor and give to the rich. This creates lack of food on the table of the ordinary Ghanaian.
As Ghanaians, if we do not reclaim our country, it will not even be the dust bin that our children will eat from one day, we don’t even know where they would eat at all after our state is captured by the rich few. The values we saw in the early 1990s are no more today. Neither John Mahama led administration in 2012 did better to uphold these values. Today, justice and fairness of resource distribution is edited to suit the interest of the rich and a family regime.
I think it is time to reclaim our land from the failed government. We seek orientation on political change. I think people have lost it. There is a lot of insanity in the atmosphere and that is the sanity that we need to bring back to our people. People who have gone astray, we can also bring them back to the fold. Taking an action through election to seek change is what Ghana needs.
I am calling on you to help stamp out any corrupt and failed government since your vote is a tool to end corruption.
NB: Urban Political Economist and Development Educationist Oslo, Norway