A former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong has expressed doubts about the country’s seriousness to eliminate corruption as he believes successive governments have not demonstrated enough commitment to root out the canker.
In an interview with ABC News, he lamented the continuous politicisation of issues of corruption on all sides of the political divide, making its elimination near to impossible under the current circumstance.
In his view, until governments make conscious efforts to “punish their own” when they are found in corrupt deeds, the fight against corruption by existing and prospective governments would be a dead duck.
“Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I question whether we are serious about fighting corruption in this country. What I have seen is that always those in government are corrupt, those in opposition are innocent.
“When the tables turn, then those who were in government yesterday and are in opposition today become angels. This has always been the approach which makes me doubt if we are serious about fighting corruption,” he said.
Rev Dr Opuni-Frimpong expressed concern that “when somebody is even alleged to have engaged in a corrupt deed, quickly you get party faithful fighting back, protecting their own,” a situation, he said derailed efforts to eliminate the menace.
“I would want to see a situation where government will even disown their own. Party members and regional minsters will disown their own and take them to court. But that is not what I’m seeing,” he said.
Describing the fight against corruption as a collective responsibility, he further indicated that its elimination would be unsuccessful if it is only targeted at political actors.
He stated that with corruption having been institutionalised in all aspects of society, efforts towards elimination must equally target public and private institutions, traditional authorities, the church, among others.
“Whether we have done enough, I doubt because corruption in this country is not only the government side. I’m talking about even corruption in communities, traditional land sales, examination malpractices and even in the church.
“So we have a serious problem but the approach to its elimination is not the best especially by governments and parties in opposition,” he said.
Transparency International, a global anti-corruption organisation defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
In Ghana, corruption is identified as one of the major contributory factors to the country’s economic woes as millions of cedis is lost through embezzlement of public funds, procurement malpractices, among other deeds.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) estimates that Ghana loses about GH¢13.5 billion every year through corruption.
Ghana scored 41 points out of 100 on the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.
Corruption Index in Ghana, the organisation added, averaged 38.86 Points from 1998 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 48 Points in 2014 and a record low of 33 Points in 1999.
Watch Rev Opuni’s interview below: