“Without strong watchdog institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built. And if impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain“ — Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Prize Laureate
Two weeks ago, I noticed that my Driver’s License was due for its first renewal. I was pretty engaged then and decided to hold on for a couple of days. Last Monday, I visited the Head Office of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) at the Police Church area in Accra. When I got to the facility, my first stop was the ‘Enquiries’ section of the Authority. I was given two options – either to do Regular (GHS52.00) or Premium (GHS164.00). Being a Monday, I had quite a bit on my plate and chose the premium service. After paying the required sum, I was ushered to Room 19 where I was taken through some processes. In less than five minutes, I was done with them.
While waiting, I wondered why the premium service could be that fast while those requesting regular service could take as long as a whole day to go through a similar exercise. This situation reminded me of a similar situation I had experienced a few months back, while I was attempting to renew my Ghanaian Passport. Here again, I had to resort to the premium application process after my attention was drawn to the fact that utilizing the regular service was going to take between three and six months. I had no option but to resort to the premium service which led to me receiving my new passport in fourteen days.
While processing this whole thing in my mind, I couldn’t but notice the strenuous efforts and struggles that these other applicants who had opted for the regular route had to grapple with. In most cases, some had to wait three to six months to receive their passports.
Back in 2011, the Greater Accra Regional Lands Commission, as part of one of the modules of the Lands Administration Project, decided to set up a pilot project for a land registration scheme. My outfit had a couple of landed properties whose titles needed to be perfected. I engaged in some consultation at the office and we agreed to take advantage of the pilot office located opposite the Embassy of the United States of America at the time. The relevant documents were subsequently filed and within three weeks, the processes had gone from stamping through all the other processes with the Land Title issued. Unfortunately, the joy of that office was very much short-lived and it got closed after a year or so never to be reopened.
In April 2016, I submitted another land document for stamping and subsequent processes towards the issuance of the land certificate. It has been over seven years since then and we are yet to cross the point of plotting, let alone get to certification. A second document sent for stamping in 2022 is nowhere near completion, almost a year after filing.
Re-evaluating these scenarios, I realized that if the DVLA, Passport Office, and the Lands Commission could use the same staff to offer premium service in record time, why did they have a similar set of staff to process the same service but over countless hours? Was it the case that these agencies of State deliberately created needless bottlenecks to encourage people into using the premium services so they could make much more money for the agencies? Is it the case that officials of these State agencies deliberately create chaos and long queues to offer opportunities for the several ‘goro boys’ that loiter around many of these offices just to profit from it? I do not think that we fought to do away with the ‘goro boys’ system only to replace it with a structured bureaucratic structure that tapers out into a premium system designed to favor the financially endowed.
A month ago, I visited the Head Office of one of the State Authorities early one morning for official business. Immediately I drove in and parked at their open car park, a security man approached and told me that the over fifteen empty vehicle slots were unavailable since they were designated spaces for the Directors. As I moved to another part of the enclave, another security guard approached me that the area was unavailable. It had been assigned for the use of three other organizations that operated from the facility. Noting that I was getting quite sore and had very few options for parking, the security guard then pointed to a five-vehicle space and informed me that he could assign one for me at a fee of GHS20.00. I was getting late so I opted for it. I got the fee paid and obtained my receipt.
The offices were yet to open so I engaged myself with listening to a discussion on national development on one of our radio stations in Accra. As I did from the car, the security man was unknown to me also listening to the discussion. At a point, he remarked in his frustration, “Most of our big men in Ghana including my big men here are all thieves and God will judge them all. All they do is take bribes and engage in various acts of corruption”. Yet, here was a person who was acting as the agent of an organization that had deliberately created a situation that forced the hands of its clients to resort to paid parking services. Was it not the case that as a service entity, it was an obligation of the organization to ensure some parking space for people who came to transact business in its premises even if for some limited period?
At 8.30 am thereabouts, the offices opened and soon the officials arrived and I got my business transacted. Upon my return to the car park from the meeting engagement, I was expecting this guard to accept a token from me in appreciation as he had said but no! He named his price – GHS20.00. Tried as I did, he gave me the impression as though he had performed whole heart surgery on me. He didn’t budge and took it. All this while, this guard had a little transistor from which he was listening to a sermon from one of our foremost charismatic preachers in the city.
As I drove away, I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief, wondering how we would be able to eradicate the menace of corruption in a society where it appeared that corruption was either endemic or ingrained in the system of endeavor.
The more I pondered on these episodes, the more I got convinced that many of the systems we put in place as a people have corruption underpinning them.
As a former Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood once said at the swearing-in ceremony of magistrates in Accra in October 2014, “Our country is caught in an unending spiral of decadence. Every day we read and hear of unspeakable corruption and abuse of the public purse by individuals and institutions entrusted with public funds. The situation has reached a tipping point and our citizens genuinely wonder if any public official or institution can stand up to scrutiny”.
Indeed the comments of the revered Lady Justice are a truism and until we rid these systems of corruption and all its variants, we stand a danger of having to dine with corruption for a very long time.
Let us walk our talk as a people, please!
Ignore Mahama’s bad 24-hour economy policy; I’ll bring more ideas soon – Bawumia
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has once again criticized former President John Mahama’s proposed 24-hour economy policy, calling it ill-conceived and lacking innovation.
During a recent campaign stop in the Northern Region, Dr Bawumia asserted that Mahama’s economic strategies have consistently fallen short and that true economic transformation requires more creative thinking.
“This is one idea that John Mahama thinks that he has brought, it is a bad idea, it is an idea that hasn’t been thought through so I want you to compare me to John Mahama, who has the ideas to transform this economy.
“The track record of John Mahama doesn’t show innovative thinking, it doesn’t show ideas, the track record of Dr Bawumia is idea after idea. I have my own priorities and I have my own vision, when I become president I will bring more ideas and you will hear them very soon.”
Meanwhile, former President Mahama has reaffirmed his commitment to implementing his proposed 24-hour economy policy, dismissing criticism from opponents and reiterating its potential to boost employment and revitalize the Ghanaian economy.
During a campaign rally in the Bono East Region, Mr. Mahama emphasized that his vision for a 24-hour economy extends beyond simply extending the operational hours of existing businesses.
The NDC flagbearer explained that his policy is based on a comprehensive approach that encourages and incentivizes businesses across various sectors to adopt 24-hour operations, thus creating new employment opportunities and stimulating economic growth.
“If one factory is doing 24 hours, that is not what I’m talking about. Everybody should be encouraged to be able to do a 24-hour shift. We have the harvest season now and factories that are processing agricultural products should be able to run two shifts,” Mr. Mahama explained.
“We will give incentives for everybody who wants to run a 24-shift system to be able to do that so that more young people will be employed,” he added.
You are useless in NPP if you’re not in Akufo-Addo’s good books – Buaben Asamoa
Former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Adentan Constituency, Yaw Buaben Asamoa has described the party as one with an overbearing image and authority of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
According to Buaben Asamoa who recently forfeited his membership alongside three other stalwarts for declaring their support for independent presidential candidate, John Alan Kyerematen; the NPP has been hijacked by the president whose wishes determine the direction of the party.
“The party has changed character; a party ought to be an association of like minds with freedom and opportunity to rub minds and seek out the best spaces. The New Patriotic Party that I knew in the beginning is not the New Patriotic Party that exists now. It’s become divided by heavy factionalism. It has been taken over by the executive, that is the blunt truth. The party doesn’t exist.
“The government has taken the party over, the personality of the president is overbearing and he controls that party, and that means that if you don’t do the president’s wish; if you are not in the president’s good books you are not useful to that party. That is the bottom line, that is what is happening,” he stated in an interview on Citi TV’s Face to Face program.
General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Justin Frimpong Kodua on November 21, 2023, announced the forfeiture of the membership of four leading members of the party.
The four, Hopeson Adorye, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, Nana Ohene Ntow, and Boniface Abubakar Saddique according to a press statement issued by the general secretary have been expelled from the party based on their public endorsement and campaign Alan Kyerematen.
Having resigned from the NPP ahead of the party’s recently held presidential primaries, Alan Kyerematen has formed a political movement dubbed Movement for Change which has the Golden Butterfly as its symbol.
Mr Kyerematen as part of justification for his resignation, accused the government and the party’s leadership of unfair treatment against himself and his supporters.
He further accused the leadership and the government of skewing the flagbearer contest in favor of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
2024: Mahama announces date to name running mate with criteria
The 2024 Flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Mahama has announced the date he will name his running mate.
The former president made the disclosure when he engaged the NDC party faithful at a forum in the Ahafo Region during his #BuildingGhana Tour, on November 21, 2023.
According to Mr. Mahama, a lot of consultations will take place before he names his running mate.
Mr. Mahama revealed the running mate will be named next year 2024.
“What I will say is that, just like custom has it, our party also has processes to select candidates for various roles.
“It is the presidential candidate, national executives, and council of elders who come together to select a running mate. But that process will start next year. So, keep praying for such a time,” He said.
Running Mate Names shortlisted
Some names were reportedly floated as among the last shortlist of Running Mate discussion in the NDC.
Some of the names that are said to be in a final shortlist of discussions among senior decision-makers of NDC include the 2020 Running Mate, Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, Former Chief of Staff Julius Debrah; Former CEO of BOST/TOR, Kingsley Awuah Darko, and Ex-Police Chief Retired COP Nathan Kofi Boakye.
Apart from Julius Debrah and Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, the two other names hail from the Ashanti Region.
A last name mentioned to this portal is the current “ambitious” NDC Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah who has told close sources including Mahama “not to rule him out” if the permutation favors him.
Following the election of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the ruling NPP flagbearer, there is increasing pressure on John Mahama to settle on a running mate before the NPP does.
Clear indications from inside the NPP show Dr. Bawumia may choose a sitting NPP MP as the Running Mate.
Sources told MyNewsGh.com Mahama may be considering maintaining 79-year-old Literature Professor, Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as his running mate for 2024, but some close advisors strongly doubt her capacity after a poor showing in 2020 in her home region.
There is increasing pressure for Mahama to choose a more charismatic Akyem or Ashanti Running Mate before Bawumia does.
The name of retired Commissioner of Police (COP) Nathan Kofi Boakye two mo ths ago emerged as a strong Contender for the NDC Vice Presidential slot.
Kofi Boakye, like Awuah Darko, hails from the Ashanti Region where the NDC may be scouting for a running mate should Mahama decide to change Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang. Many people within the party have been suggesting the retired police could serve the needs of Mahama better than the former University of Cape Coast Vice-Chancellor.
Supporters of candidates like Julius Debrah and Awuah Darko say they have resources and networks that could be key in the prosecution of the 2024 campaign.
Julius Debrah is said to have a personal friendship and rapport with the former President that will make their work easier.
Awuah Darko on the other hand comes from a rich Ashanti Royal family with deep roots in Finance and insurance. He is also said to be very close to John Mahama and is trusted by the latter.
Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang on the other hand has started intense lobbying to be maintained, sources told this portal.
Dr. Ato Forson who was under consideration himself pulled out and threw his support for “grandma’s” bid to unite the Central Region.
Ato Forson is said to be a Minister of Finance in waiting should John Mahama win the next election.
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