Corruption In The Judiciary & Parliament: The Way Forward 3

THE WAY FORWARD

We have the eerie feeling that the ruling party may have engaged the services of Anas, to come up with a scandal that will be so serious in its implications for national security and scathing in its indictment of judicial corruption, as to bury the public din resulting from the seeming rifeness of political corruption associated with the ruling party. This is just a convenient hypothesis, by the way. However, we draw on Amidu’s public claims that Anas may have handed over his corpus of investigative work on parliamentary corruption to the Mahama Administration, to cover the latter’s back, that is the spate of corruption allegations rocking the country. If this is true, then, we want to imply some degree of clandestine collusion between the sitting government and Anas, an unhealthy arrangement that may, in the long run, be counterproductive to reforms in the legislature.

Unfortunately Amidu did not provide verifiable collaborative evidence for his wide-ranging assertions and pontifications. He claimed to have done this to protect the privileged provenances or sources of his wide-ranging moralistic assertions and public pontifications. So we are still waiting. Notwithstanding our reservations with regard to the methodological contestations between Amidu and Anas, it still does not take anything away from what should be done to deal with some of the issues we have raised thus far, as implied in the public tensions between the two activists.

Electoral reforms are high on our laundry list. The Electoral Commission (EC) and state institutions, through the power of constitutional oversight impose and then enforce such hypothetical instruments dealing with statutory caps placed on political parties’ and their monetization of electioneering campaigns and other electoral activities on the national landscape. This is important as there is also a tendency for foreign governments and corporations to exert undue influence on Ghanaian politics and politicians by offering financial support to political parties.

Financializing politics this way does not augur well for Ghana’s budding democracy and national security. Bribery and money laundering from illicit drug activities and other corrupt practices which are the hallmarks of Ghana’s partisan duopoly and, if we may add, the blatant use of state properties particularly by incumbency, are now part of the normative landscape of Ghanaian politics. The latter, however, grossly disadvantages small political parties and the main Opposition. Let us be clear: We are not saying political parties do not have the necessary internal oversight structures in place to deal with these questions. What we are saying, rather, is that we want to see certain internal operations of political parties brought under a limited oversight of the EC.

We may even have wished, for instance, if the EC could monitor and regulate intraparty monetization of election procedures and practices, since so much corruption goes on in electing persons to national executive committees, fielding parliamentary candidates and presidential candidates and so on, corrupt practices that eventually go on to reflect badly on the character of national politics in matters of general elections and electioneering campaigns. This may, nevertheless, appear to be asking too much of the organizational constitution of the EC and, possibly, of encouraging or promoting unlawful contravention of the wide range of freedoms, including questions of internal organizational autonomy, which the national Constitution grants political parties and their teeming supporters.

We make the foregoing assertion on the basis of a layman’s understanding of Article 55, Clause 5 of the 1992 national Constitution, as well as on Article 55, Clause 14. It is quite possible to deal with some of these problems if the electorate will learn to address its franchise to competence voting, rather than to heaven-like electioneering promises based exclusively on a model of political communication which is, in turn, skewed more toward a rhetoric of political ethnocentrism, ethno-regionalism, economic apocalypse, and regularized instances of panacean psychologizing about the end of economic apocalypse.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It is crucial that the electorate make competence voting part of their voting psychology, in addition to prospective voting and retrospective voting, and not rely on irrelevant valuation indices such as candidate image and other nonverbal variables of presidential hopefuls as some are wont to do.

Competence voting is based on a suit of issues that directly affects citizens and their security, future, economic and biological survival, and health; national development; strong national currency and functional institutions; environmental cleanliness and ecological balance; national pride; improved standard of living and quality of life; their country’s progressive national projection in global affairs; etc., and which of their leaders, in that connection, can actually deliver on these issues. But their leaders are epitomai of corruption and of everything that is apparently wrong with the political psychology of modern state management. For the most part, the masses themselves are not exempt from this general negative characterization as the entrenched corruptibility of politicians somehow reflects the moral depravity of social psychology in the Ghanaian context.

What sort of a country is Ghana where the President and literally hundreds of public office holders are exempted from paying tax, yet millions of the country’s poor citizens are expected to do otherwise? Here is a country whose non-patriotic leaders habitually pay lip service to public sentiment on the need to make open to the public ready access to asset and liability declarations on the part of parliamentarians and other public office holders prior to and at the end of their terms of office, an easy task for the Auditor-General to handle, only for these public officials to amass wealth during and after their terms of office? Parliamentary standing committees are just as useless. We are also not too sure if the constitution of the Council of State is inclusive enough of ideological and partisan diversity. What do our parliamentarians got to say the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) versus the Ghana Hybrid System (GHS)?

What is the leadership of the judiciary saying about the high level of corruption among its ranks, and whether it is just enough not to prosecute those criminal jurists caught in Anas’ exposé by simply dismissing them, and sending them to prison when found guilty? What about the failure to pass the Freedom of Information Bill (FOIB)? What are we also doing to bring in an independent prosecutor to replace the Attorney-General who also doubles as a Minister of Justice? Have we given serious thought to how the role of the Attorney-General in matters of prosecutorial adjudications may itself be undermining judicatorial fairness as well as the political and moral crusade being waged against public corruption, given that the Attorney-General has now and then capitalized on prosecutorial discretion as a tactical avenue of escape for political criminals?

How do we expect to achieve appreciable levels of regional development when the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) are the drooling dogs of the executive presidency, yes-men whose rise to privileged positions in the hierarchy of the party organization of incumbency is largely beholden to the political patronage of the executive presidency and to an expressly loose political expenditure of executive fiats. The appropriate authorities should look into the mouth-watering freebies given to parliamentarians and other public office holders whether they are deserving of them. The idea of MMDCEs going to school while in office is troubling indeed. One wonders if this does not undermine their productivity and add to bureaucratic inefficiency.

Why these are so is not too difficult to fathom. Plus, we have already said elsewhere that it is in the collaborative efforts between the executive presidency and the legislature under the guise of constitutionality in the execution of the national interest, where the latter institution constitutes a numerical majority from the party of the executive presidency, that the constitutive powers of executive exceptionalism and the political muscularity of executive dominance are most felt. In other words where the executive presidency’s gridlock of decisional authority is derived from a quorum based on its party’s numerical majority in parliament, we clearly see a constitutive imposition of executive dominance on the body politic, a practice that may not, in and of itself, be a bad thing.

It is only bad when it succeeds in subverting the national interest and handing it over to the political vampires of corporate statism and duopolistic dictatorship. Corporate statists and duopolistic dictators come in various shades and characters as those whose Orwellian khakistocratic brothers and sisters set up the Azu Crabber Commission of Enquiry (1967), which came up with the grandiose canard that Kwame Nkrumah stole millions and hid them in foreign banks, a shameful canard which has not stood the test of time.

Questions? Where is judicial patriotism? Executive patriotism? Parliamentary patriotism?

BOB MARLEY, POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS, & POLITICAL WICKEDNESS

Bob Marley may have had these corporate statists and duopolistic autocrats in mind when he included the following memorable line, “They were all dressed in uniforms of brutality,” in the iconoclastic track “Burnin’ And Lootin.’” Then in the revolutionary track “Ambush In The Night,” Bob sings:

“See them fighting for power… But they know not the hour… So they bribing with their guns, spare-parts and money, trying to belittle our integrity now… They say what we know is just what they teach us; And we’re so ignorant…’Cause every time they can reach us… Through political strategy… They keep us hungry… And when you gonna get some food… Your brother got to be your enemy… Well, what we know…Is not what they tell us…We’re not ignorant…I mean it…And they just cannot touch us…

While Marley says politicians capitalize on their subjects’ ignorance to abuse them and cheat them out of the national pie, that is, what is rightfully theirs, he also implies this abuse can only go so far. He says also that there is a tipping point where the same ignorant subjects will rethink their plight and in that connection rise against their wicked political overlords. Thus, the ignorance of the masses is not a permanent birthmark. Change and time probably are. The gathering momentum of critical mass for positive change in social, political and economic dynamics is just a matter of time. The masses are not ignorant and foolish as politicians think their long-suffering and largely de-conscientized subjects are!

Please go and listen to the rest of Bob for the full story…And then Sarkodie’s “Dumsor,” Wanlov the Kubolor’s “FOKN Country” (Fu*king Country),” Fela Kuti’s “Coffin for Head of State”…Fela’s particular song speaks to the strategic uselessness of African leadership in terms of the question of policy mis-prioritization concerns and of the creeping part political theology plays in undermining clear, focused, and strategic thinking on the part of African leadership. The focus is on Nigeria, but the song’s rich lyrical content offers an empirical case study on the crushing failure of African leadership. Listening to this radical political song, however, we get an implied fair sense of what Fela expected of African leadership in terms of the delivery of quality leadership!

We shall return…

Francis Kwarteng

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