The National House of Chiefs (NHC) has attributed the numerous uncompleted projects, joblessness, broken homes, poverty, suffering and the general slow pace of development in Ghana to the failure of successive governments to fight corruption.
According to a statement signed by Togbe Afede XIV, President, and Daasebre Nana Kwebu Ewusi VII, Vice President, there had been countless number of corruption cases recorded in the past and present governments, and yet, no government was able to gather the confidence to fight it.
“The list of scandals and controversies is endless: Guinea fowl scandal; SSNIT software scandal; NHIS scandal; GYEEDA saga; BOST contaminated fuel scandal; GFA 2018 scandal; Ghana Judiciary scandal; Ghana Electoral Commission scandal; Tema Port scandal; Cocoa Board scandal; Eurobond scandal; NCA scandal; National Cathedral; Ameri scandal; new 450 Chamber Parliament Complex; PDS scandal, etc. The list is, indeed, endless,” it noted.
The statement indicated that corruption had benefited a few individuals, but kept hurting the country in many ways; diversion of resources from urgently needed development projects; increased government debt; caused leakages that create distortions and made management of the economy difficult; and undermined price and exchange rate stability.
“Corruption has also undermined productivity and the ability of the economy to create jobs and incomes; discouraged hard work, and stifled innovation and initiative, as people look for short cuts to wealth; contributed to the increasing crime rate; brought acrimony into our politics, and bred indiscipline and vigilantism; harmed the image of our nation; and led to mass poverty and suffering. Given the humiliation and inhumane treatment that black Africans are subjected to all over the world, one would have expected our leaders to commit themselves to working for the advancement of their countrymen, and the restoration of their dignity and pride,” the statement added.
It bemoaned that after 62 years of nationhood, most Ghanaians were still muffled by poverty and could not access the basic necessities of shelter, food, water, health, education, electricity, roads and good drainage, jobs and incomes, enhanced living standards, and ultimately, happiness.
Resort to suicide or migration
The members of the NHC also expressed concern over the growing stories of people, young and old, taking their own lives due to their unbearable living conditions. They maintained that poverty was also the reason why most of the youth of Ghana thought that everywhere else was better than Ghana, and so were willing to risk their lives through deserts and across stormy seas, to escape from the difficulties at home, and in search of greener pastures. The House of Chiefs recalled the unfortunate murder of 44 Ghanaians in cold blood in The Gambia in 2005, who were only exercising their right to pursue happiness, which they could not find at home.
Poverty should not be our lot
The chiefs could not comprehend why Ghana should be poor or struggle to cater for the basic needs of her citizens, in spite of all the available natural resources and unimaginable fertile land.
Ghana, they said, was endowed with a lot of natural resources such as bauxite, diamonds, gold, iron ore, timber, cocoa, salt, and oil and gas among many others, coupled with the vibrant, energetic, educated and peace-loving human resource, and therefore, did not have to be poor.
The statement encouraged the future leaders [youth] not to allow themselves to be used by self-seekers, as serial callers, let alone vigilantes, to attack the few people who dare to speak for them.
It charged the people of Ghana to begin to insist on their traditional and political leaders to use the resources of the state prudently for the sole benefit of the people, and in pursuance of their development needs. “Leadership is an opportunity to serve, not to exploit. We must hold our leaders to account. Enough of the politricks!”