BY DANIEL KWESI ADU AND HARRY COKER.
Africans are the strongest people I have ever come across on earth but on the other hand, we have the weakest speculations imaginable. We live in a continent where people break rules just to get the cut irrespective of the long-term impact it may pose on our national development. We muddle through our unpredicted days on earth hoping to move a step forward in attaining development but fail to realize the fact that our foot is stuck in the mud of corruption. Are we privileged to be used as scapegoats when issues of corruption are raised anywhere in the world? Obviously No is the only bell that chimes in the conscience of every rational person. So, why engage in these activities then?
President John Mahama, upon reviewing the results of an intensive investigation conducted by Manasseh Azure, an investigative analyst of JOYFM, to clarify the alleged corruption in Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), terminated most GYEEDA contracts with its service providers irrespective of the fact that his actions were going to render over 450,000 youths under the program unemployed. It is quite disturbing why leaders should continue to pump so much money in an agency that has so many allegations of corruption being leveled against them. Research has it that GYEEDA receives about GH950 million annually from the government to help train youths with the aim of reducing unemployment. An amount that is apparently more than the profits generated by three top banks in Ghana namely Barclays, Standard Chartered and Eco bank.
Going to the extreme of terminating operations in GYEEDA has not fully tackled corruption in Ghana. “Whenever there are lots of money in Africa, there is corruption“ and this is the stereotype Africa is being attributed to if her members do not join in the fight against corruption. Our forefathers shed their blood in the struggle for independence from the corrupt and evil hands of colonization in the light that the black man might attain development. Do we think they will be proud of what we have transformed Africa into? We have allowed foreign cultures to corrupt our rich and true African heritage. If anyone doubts this fact, he or she should conduct a random survey purposely to know the favorite designer of Africans and I can bet my last cedi that foreign designers will dominate. Our resources have been used as leverage for settling huge government debts but the question we constantly pose to ourselves is “Which sector are these borrowed monies including foreign aids reflecting?”
It is quite suspicious how the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi accused the state oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), of failing to account for $20 billion in oil revenues and was sacked shortly after for alleged financial recklessness. Nigeria is currently branded as the most corrupt country in the whole of Africa and I do not see any efforts being made to help eradicate corruption in Nigeria. In other news, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala was interviewed on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), where she was asked why $100 million a month in the kerosene subsidy had not been budgeted for. All she could say was “it just was not budgeted for, that is all”. This reason is not tangible. What we need is a tangible reason why the kerosene subsidy was not budgeted for. For a country that strives to tackle corruption, I believe it should be tackled from the pioneers of corruption in Nigeria, being the leaders before narrowing down to the citizens of Nigeria. Africa is tarnishing its image to the outside world. We are projecting ourselves as a weak and hopeless continent and this is making foreigners take advantage of us to exploit the rich resources we have.
There is however a big trade off between Africa being corrupt and developing in the sense that we have allowed the love of money to interfere in our way of sustainable development. Until we get rid of that impediment, we will have no development. It is high time we sacrificed our love for money for the love for development.
The one story that comes out of the mouth of every flag bearer of any political party in Africa is the promise to fight corruption. They say this just so the people give them the mandate to head their various countries; once they get in power all promises of fighting corruption is forgotten. Focus is rather drawn to the apportioning of state money between officials and executives of the political party in power. These leaders who stand before us and promise us to eradicate corruption are themselves corrupt.
It is sad to note that our beloved continent is filled many leaders who only think of filling their pockets with the monetary wealth of the continent. There are only a few who have the interest and development of the continent as a whole at heart. Speak of the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa and the late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and you would have mentioned great leaders of Africa who had the development and interest of their country, people and Africa at heart.
Every leader gets up and speaks of development of his or her respective country and Africa as a whole. Where is this development you talk about? Where are the roads, the health care centers, schools, jobs, recreational centers etc.? Where is all the money acquired from foreign aid being channeled? In the name of saving our people who are dying of hunger, these monies obtained from foreign aid are used to enhance the luxurious living of our leaders. Why Africa??