African Politics: A Safe Haven For Criminals?

Feature Article of Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Columnist: Badu, K.

“Politics is the art or science of influencing people’s beliefs on a civic or individual level, when there are more than 2 people involved.”

“Modern political discourse focuses on democracy and the relationship between people and politics. It is thought of as the way we “choose government officials and make decisions about public policy”(See:wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics -).

African politics has indeed become a scorned profession, not a noble profession anymore. Indeed, it takes more than good laws and institutions for democracy to thrive.

And, it also takes good people—good citizens and leaders. Yet a lot of good people would never go into politics. They dislike the toxic levels of partisanship. They hate the intrusive media scrutiny. And they won’t pay the high personal costs of the political life.

What would make people scramble for political power then? Actually, the reasons are multifaceted. First, some people claim they go into politics for the love of their nation. Invariably, others just seize power to use as a springboard to unleash their criminalities. Some people also enter politics just to enjoy the power and satisfy their egos. On the other hand, some people are empowered by the convictions of political ideologies.

Whatever their reasons for entering politics may be, they, the politicians, have lost our respect. Discerning citizens don’t trust them anymore. They have disappointed us, and still taking us for a ride .

Yes, once upon a time, anyone who gained a seat in parliament was looked up to and respected by all; alas, this is not the case anymore.

We hear for instance, how Ghanaian Parliamentarians are eager to take more money from us, (the taxpayers). And, why must they think they deserve more remunerations than say Doctors?

For me, our politicians have vested interest. Yet our politicians keep spewing their vague rhetoric-‘We care for you’.

But, in actual fact, they are only interested in the power and the massive remunerations that come with the job (e.g. ex gratia).

In any case, we cannot do away with the politicians, despite their persistent nonfeasance, or dereliction of duties. Indeed, it is extremely painful that we have to endure such prankishness.

Needless to say, we, the electorate, are resigned to give our votes to the politicians, who are in turn obliged to implement expedient policies that would move the nation forward. Thus, in contrast to our expectations, it will, be devilishly difficult to do away with politicians, in spite of their below par performances.

But, the overarching question is: how long can we endure their persistent shenanigans? “We no go sit down for them to cheat us every day.”

The question again then is: will the day come when “political criminals” find they have nowhere to hide?

For me, Ghana’s constitution has to be reviewed, and clauses such as the indemnity clause, is removed. How on earth can individuals commit unpardonable crimes (gargantuan corruptions) against the state and get away with their misdeeds?

Without an iota of doubt, the traditional exemption of heads of state from prosecution despite the evidence of a case to answer is wrong.

For if the dubious judgment debt payments; stashing of national funds by some greedy bastards and misappropriation of resources and crude embezzlement by some politicians do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?

How serious are we as a nation when we can only descend heavily on cassava and plantain thieves, and let go hard criminals who persistently dip their hands into the national coffers?

“We are not serious as a nation, are we?”

K. Badu, UK.

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