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Whether it be under the Constitution or statute, only human beings occupying positions and playing roles in accordance with the agreed rules of social interaction constitute institutions and structures of governance of any form. Only a leadership with an alternate vision for integrity and incorruptibility that puts Ghana First can make that difference in good governance to instill accountability and transparency in all our Constitutional structures and institutions. Corrupt leadership breeds a corrupt people and a corrupt nation. A vision of integrity and incorruptibility must be lived and not just talked about.
I do not think expensive plans and laws purporting to stop graft and greed in Ghana would work without a change in the current habit of impunity on the part of the political elite. The 1968 Constitutional Commission lamented this same problem of law and corruption at paragraphs 669 to 700 when it referred to evidence before the various Assets Commissions of Inquiry which showed the careless abandon with which public property was dissipated. The Constitutional Commission observed that all this happened in the face of the now famous Public Property (Protection) and Corrupt Practices (Prevention) Act, 1962 (Act 121) which made it an offence for:
‘any person who by reason of careless or dishonest attitude to take the affairs of the Republicso mismanages that affairs thereof as to cause the dissipation of or grave damages to public property.’
It also made it an offence for any person deliberately to dissipate or cause grave damage to public property. The Commission observed further that the provisions of the Act had not made it impossible for public property to be mismanaged and wasted. It concluded by stating its appreciation of the fact that a statute laying down a particular offence does not necessarily by itself make dishonest people otherwise honest; it only serves as a pointer. Forty-six years thereafter and after various Assets Commissions of Inquiry in 1970’s and 1980’s the basic principles which they hoped would minimize the dangers of corruption and mismanagement of public property have come to naught.
In ‘A Social Democratic Agenda For Democracy – The Philosophy of the National Democratic Congress’ it was unequivocally stated that: ‘The NDC accepts the principles of the June 4th and 31st December revolutions as the basis of our present democratic system.’ This makes it difficult from my antecedents to accept the theory that we need action plans and new laws to defend the anti-corruption commitments of the June 4th and 31st December revolutions under an NDC Government unless we are just finding excuses for our inaction. Human integrity has always prevailed over bribery and corruption. But we appear to lack that leadership of human integrity in this seriously deteriorating economic epoch facing our country that has resulted in mass unemployment, hardship, and poverty, particularly amongst the young and youthful citizen.
Author: Martin A. B. K. Amidu
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