Setting up Special Prosecutor is a No-Brainer in Environment like Ghana—Bernard Asubonteng

They pontificate, they preach loudly, and they vent clamorously, often in sanctimonious degree, on how corruption is sinking or has sunk the developmental fortunes of the nation, so something urgently needs to be done about it. Then, whenever the time comes to take pragmatic leap toward confronting public corruption, almost everything quickly takes a detour into the universe of the proverbial bulldog cowardly barking without biting.

As this writer has articulated on numerous times, many Ghanaians talk from both sides of their loud mouths. For, in a socio-cultural environment like Ghana that is horribly replete with systemic corruption in high places, the thought of establishing office of special prosecutor is a no-brainer.

Yet here we are, assigning some flimsy excuses and dragging our hypocritical feet even with the rare exhibition of leadership and insistence from one of the few right-minded African heads of state spearheading persistently for nonpartisan special prosecutor to handle the out-of-control corrupt practices in Ghana.

Truth is, the rallying cry from Nana Akufo-Addo for the establishment of special prosecutor should not just be viewed through cynically partisan lenses. Rather, the proposition must be considered with a sense of urgency devoid of cynicism by Ghanaians and/or all public officials of good conscience and patriotic inclinations. The cynics among us also need to be reminded that the current president is  a leader in the part of the world where leaders hardly practice transparency and public accountability. Thus in Africa continent, state thievery and public waste reign supreme under the noses of most of the very leaders elected to serve the people.

That is why Ghanaians who are wholeheartedly committed in seeing that corruption is defeated in Ghanaian society must seize on President Akufo-Addo’s selfless push to set up the office of special prosecutor to help put the corrupt public officials’ feet to the fire regardless of political affiliations. The special prosecutor concept shouldn’t be made about Nana Akufo-Addo and his presidency. Let’s take the president out of the picture, and look at the larger picture of Ghana—its future prospects and the kind of society this generation wants to leave behind. Ghana can never attain any meaningful progress in an environment of widespread corruption. Something seriously ought to be done about past and present corrupt practices, and highly independent special prosecutor can help tremendously.

The introduction of special prosecutor must be understood in the realm of Ghana’s supreme interest and development. Instead of raising doubts about its effectiveness, the naysayers should channel their energies on how to make the special prosecutor more efficient in case it becomes operational later in October this year as the president has suggested.  If Ghanaians are genuinely ready to fight and drain out the deep-rooted swamp of corruption, then this is not the time to deconstruct the creation of special prosecutor strictly on party lines.

Ghana has been hurt too badly through mismanagement and corruption to keep equivocating on the formation of a well-grounded institution that can likely help put strong screws on governmental fraud. Interestingly though, almost all Ghanaian officials are aware that one of the major causes of the country’s underdevelopment since political independence is the nation’s inability to smoke out the entrenched culture of corruption and state decadence.

The hypocrisy, the pretense, and the lip service which have become the norm when it comes to discussing and finding workable solution to the endemic white-collar crimes within Ghana’s political culture are hard to explain, reasonably.  Needless to say it is baffling, seeing some Ghanaians easily pointing fingers at government corruption (which is true) but not equally committed in supporting a far-reaching solution aimed to constrain corruption.

The ongoing discourse regarding whether or not to involve special prosecutor in the war against corruption sheds clear light on the general attitudes of many Ghanaians’ level of national commitments. Significant to note are some concerns expressed by the opponents of the special prosecutor. The centerpiece of their contention tends to create misleading impressions that somehow the concept of special prosecutor on one hand, and waging aggressive campaign against corrupt practices on the other hand, are two opposing values or methods.  Clearly, the two methods are not mutually exclusive.

It’s a sham to talk aggressively against the widespread corruption in Ghana and in the same vein allow partisan politics to blind a sizable number of us from obvious realities of life.  In fact, since becoming president, Nana Akufo-Addo has made two crucial suggestions—the establishment of special prosecutor and the strengthening of the oversight powers of parliament.

If the aforementioned two proposals are allowed to see the light of the day, certainly much more discipline and financial sanity will be the order of the day in the state bureaucracies. These sensible approaches are no-brainers; but in Ghana, issues that are easy to handle are consciously or unconsciously made too complicated because of politics, lack of meticulous planning, and/or the “culture of pull-them-down” mindset. Given the country’s terrible track record in corrupt practices, the inauguration of special prosecutor is long overdue.

Author: Bernard Asubonteng is US-based writer; send your comments to: b.asubonteng@gmail.com