Transparency International a pre eminent global NGO is totally and absolutely committed to fighting corruption. It combats corruption in 120 countries around the world, helping to expose the rot in systems that have deprived citizens of those countries the vital services that they desperately need.
It spares no effort in this direction, but more importantly, it has no favorites. If it investigates, researches and concludes that a country is irredeemably corrupt, Transparency International wastes no time informing the world. Over time, the organization has developed a knack for telling it like it is. It has a high standard of honesty, to put it another way.
As a direct consequence of its persistent work, countries tremble and live in perpetual fear of its wide reaching Global Corruption Perception Index, the means by which it measures the depth of corruption in the countries where it plies its trade. Transparency International's indepth analysis and conclusions can be intimidating, morale boosters and devastating all at once.
This year's report brings bad news to our beloved country. We should all be shocked by its contents because we rank 81st out of 180 nations and scored a forgettable 40 out of a 100. These figures are dismal and horrible.
Despite the hot rhetoric and multiple high falutin pronouncements by high ranking government officials led by the president about taking on corruption with all the resources at their disposal, the report bluntly says Ghana is stuck in "neutral." Progress against corruption has at best been very feeble and insignificant.
All told, what the report insinuates and lays out so succinctly is the fact that Ghana struggles mightily to contain corruption. Instead, corruption has become malignant and deeply enbedded in the body politic and slowly but surely eating away at its vital organs.
Our position on the Corruption Index is not enviable; it is poor, disgraceful and awfully embarrassing. In short, we have regressed. The entire political class should bow down its head in shame.
At times like this, it is politically expedient to blame the government in power. And, true to character, the opposition is already firing shots at the ruling NPP.
It would be in the nation's interest were the opposition to stop this shameful and ugly political game for the simple reason that we don't know for sure if the data used by Transparency International in its analysis was extrapolated from 2016 when the NDC was still in office or from 2017 when the NPP began its rule.
All the same, our miserable position on the Index calls for a radical assessment of where we are a country in terms of corruption, and what steps need to be taken to adequately and fully address the problem.
The government will counter this argument with the assertion that it has appointed a special prosecutor to examine cases of corruption and punish those eventually found guilty if siphoning off public funds. However, until Mr. Martin Amidu is able to unearth justifiable corruption cases and dole out punishment where appropriate, Ghana will forever remain tarnished.
Lets admit it; our International image has taken a beating with this report; our good name as a bastion of democracy in a crazy region is soiled. And, lets not forget that once a country is labeled by Transparency International as very corrupt, the consequences can be dire; foreign investors and international donors will be scared off.
They will look elsewhere, to places like Rwanda, Cape Verde and Botswana with their good political leadership, to invest their capital. Can we afford that, with our slow economy and high youth unemployment? I guess not.