View Full Version : Corruption among political parties in Ghana: Perception, myth or reality?

18th September 2013, 01:08 AM
In the course of the last couple weeks, among the major stories that engaged our attention and captured the headline news include the publication by the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer released by Transparency International which revealed that the perception of corruption in Ghana has worsened in the last two years.

According to the latest report as published, the Ghana Police Service has for the third time running topped the list of public organizations perceived to be the most corrupt in the latest Global Corruption perception index. The Ghana Police service is followed by Political parties, the Judiciary, and the Educational sector ranked in that order.

I have come to believe in the notion that, the ordinary people are at a great disadvantage the moment opposing political parties and political actors unite and agree in their own mutual but parochial interests. It is for this reason that I feel very uncomfortable with the joint press conference attended and addressed by the General Secretaries of the four parties with representation in parliament.

At that conference, they claimed that they came together, and as they put it “to refute in its entirety the conclusion of the Corruption Perceptions Index that recently indicted political parties as second most corrupt bodies in our nation.” One will wonder what could possibly motivate leaders of the two giant but antagonistically political parties in Ghana for example to join forces. It surely cannot be the national interest.

In furthering their statements, they ask the questions, “We want to know whether or not those who framed the questions for the survey made a clear distinction between political parties as institutions and individuals.” It will seem to me that the leaders of these political parties are desperately trying hard to distance themselves as individuals from the political organizations which they run.

In one breath, making such a statement was uncalled for, as they failed woefully to show clearly the distinction between their understandings of political parties as distinct institutions as opposed to the individuals who run them. In my books, they might as well kept quiet. If indeed, that conference was in the national interest, and they meant well as they insinuated, why did they rather use the occasion to denounce the report?

In an obvious reaction to the psychological effect or damage of the survey conducted and published, our dear party general secretaries’ counter claimed that “the effect of this survey is to compromise public confidence in political parties thus undermining the democratic process.” So probably, the press conference was called to allay the fears and to win back the confidence of the ordinary Ghanaians. I wish them luck but I doubt if they will succeed – for some of us cannot fathom why political parties never have one voice when it comes to issues of bread and butter, shelter and jobs for ordinary folks.

Furthermore, it would have been appropriate, if the political parties had even partially accepted the general claims of the survey by the Ghana Integrity Initiative and probably cite other examples of greater acts of corruption committed in public decision making including, bending rules on lobbying, political financing, lack of transparency in public spending contracts, etc. rather lamely, they chose to question the timing of the release of the corruption index report.

Anyway, what is their problem in asking and trying to disregard the timing for the conduct of the survey? As they put it at their press conference, ”Apparently, the survey for this index was conducted in February 2013 barely two months after a lengthy political campaign season run by political parties where politics occupied more of the public space", as published in The Insight newspaper.

It is of significance to note that, the four political parties with representatives in Parliament have only their interest and image to protect as institutions and individuals - sadly. I provoke your thoughts with this question: what would have happened, if for the first time, this political parties held a press conference to make it clear to the international community that, Ghana has resolved not to sell her rich raw materials and that, they will be adding more value to the raw gold, cocoa beans before they are exported? I guess that would have been in the larger national interest.

Also, I am thinking the four political parties with representatives in Parliament would have done the people they represent some good if they came out to denounce their earlier untenable and neo-colonial apologetic defense of the recent De-Facto Jim Crow Immigration Reform of the British government which said that “the British government has the right as a sovereign nation to implement policies that is in their interest.” Rather, it is better they go exposing the British government’s long time colonial policy of divide and rule which they are still implementing under the cover of these so-called Immigration Reforms as they only mention two African former British colonies Ghana and Nigeria - leaving out the rest of the former colonies in the region and the sub-region of the continent.

In arguing further, it would have been appropriate, if these political parties had pondered and wondered for a minute, to ascertain how the perception of corruption among political parties has peaked so much to be next in line after the Police Service?

In any case, who has made wild corruption allegations against political parties in the last couple of years rather than the political parties themselves? Who feeds such information and misinformation concerning the acts of corruption? Last time I checked, it remained the political parties themselves who keep making such allegations of gargantuan corruption among themselves.

In concluding, it would be appropriate to describe the joint press statement by four main political parties as a sham, and not in the interest of the people they represent.