Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Governance Underpinned By An Ethos Of Transparency Is The New Norm In Ghanaian Politics

Governance that is underpinned by an ethos of transparency is the new norm in Ghanaian politics - from the point of view of patriotic and discerning Ghanaians fed up with  the incompetence of the thieves-in-high-places who dominate our country. And long may it be so.

Politicians and political parties that embrace the new governance norm Ghanaians now demand, will be successful in the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. Those that stick to the discredited  old-style politics will be routed in the 2016 elections.

The question then is: How does this new governance norm manifest itself in our nation's politics today - and how will it influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections?

The vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians now clearly understand the importance of demanding transparency in the governance of our nation. That is what has given rise to civil society groups like #OccupyGhana and Food Sovereignty Ghana.

It  is also the driving force behind the demand that political parties should publicly publish their sources of funding - and that politicians (and their spouses) publicly publish their assets immediately before assuming office, and immediately after the end of their tenures.

Many discerning Ghanaians now understand that that is crucial if the fight against high-level corruption is to succeed. There must be transparency in all areas of our national life.

With tumbling oil prices, for example, we must demand accountability from those in charge of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) - some of whom think they are a law unto themselves and can go aborrowing whenever it takes their fancy: and without any outside scrutiny. What infernal cheek.

The GNPC will never be allowed to become the financial equivalent of a cosmic black-hole for well-connected thieves - through which taxpayers' cash disappears in clever schemes.

Listening to Peace FM's Kokrokoo morning show (hosted by Nana Yaw Kesse) earlier today, I was struck by just how out of touch with the new reality in Ghanaian politics so many of the membership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC)  and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) appear to be.

Whiles referring to corruption in the system, it is instructive that not once did any of those loquacious politicians taking part in the programme, state categorically that to help fight high-level corruption, they were willing to publicly publish their own assets (and those of their spouses).

And neither were they  heard stating emphatically that the NDC and the NPP would publicly publish their sources of funding for the campaign for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The sooner the Sammy Awukus and the Fred Agbenyos, and their ilk,  understood that political parties and politicians that do not conform to the new governance standard, will never win elections in Ghana in 2016 and beyond, the better will be the long-term prospects for their two parties'.

For decades, under the old-style politics, Ghana has been held to ransom by vested interests that have consistently bought our ruling elites - often by paying them kickbacks from government contracts secured through the use of insider information.

How  else can one explain the curious situation in which private companies that freely elected to venture into the business of importing finished petroleum products (including diesel and petrol) into Ghana, themselves,  now expect the state to bear foreign exchange losses incurred by their businesses? How can that be, I ask?

Does that not amount to the socialisation of private risk? If Abossey Okai vehicle  spare parts dealers and Spintext Road bulk rice importers made such absurd demands, would it not bankrupt our country?

Such is the influence wielded by those selfsame bulk oil distributing companies that despite the fall in benchmark crude oil prices globally, the authorities appear to be reluctant to insist that  the drop in crude oil prices ought to be reflected in pump prices at petrol filling stations across Ghana,

Clearly, that outrage is to enable the bulk oil distributors to engage in profiteering at the expense of motorists in Ghana.

The fact that such fuel price reductions will be beneficial to an economy facing such serious challenges, if passed on to motorists, counts for nothing in Ghana - as far as our ruling elites are concerned.

Obviously, what matters to them is that bulk oil distributing companies will still make money despite the fall in crude oil prices on the international markets. Who exactly are the plutocrats who own those companies, one wonders?

Alas, it appears that what will enable the relatively few plutocrats who apparently more or less own our country to profit at society's expense, is what always holds sway in our homeland Ghana, in such instances.

That is why we must  rid our country of the baleful influence of the vested interests to which politicians of the ilk of the Sammy Awukus and the Fred Agbenyos are beholden - which fund the old-style politics practised by the NDC and NPP.

No patriotic Ghanaian should vote for any politician who refuses to publicly publish his or her assets (as well as those of his or her spouse). Neither should any patriotic Ghanaian support any political party that does not publicly publish the sources of campaign funds it raises for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary  elections.

If that new governance standard informs the way voters cast their votes in the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, it will help attract a new breed of politician to seek elected office in Ghana.

We must be grateful that governance underpinned by an ethos of transparency is the new norm in Ghanaian politics, from the point of view of patriotic and discerning Ghanaians - as it will help reduce high-level corruption in Ghana considerably.

Let all the members of  our nation's  political class, and all the political parties in Ghana take note of this new reality in our nation's politics, going forward - if they want to emerge  victorious in the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

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