Boot Out Corruption-Palmer-Buckle Tells Mahama

Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle , the Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Accra, has charged President John Dramani Mahama to tackle corruption, a social canker, with seriousness to ensure that the menace is booted out.

He attributed the upsurge of corruption in the country to the inability of the state to protect the interest of the poor.

He said the state must be seen to be protecting the rights of the human person, defending and protecting the weak and the poor against the rapaciousness of the strong and the powerful.

According to Rev. Palmer-Buckle, the state is normally there to protect the poor and not to join in his or her exploitation by the rich and the powerful. Contributing to a panel discussion at the second edition of a public forum organized by the Occupy Ghana movement in Accra on Thursday, geared towards engaging Ghanaians to fight corruption, Rev. Palmer-Buckle stated that the fight against corruption could be won through the concerted efforts of key stakeholders, including the state.

Concerted Efforts
‘This calls for a more concerted effort in the formation of the human person by all the actors and stakeholders, beginning from the family – the parents and the guardians - the teachers and the formators at the various levels of  he church as well as all religions and also the state,’ he noted.

The Archbishop stressed that the desire to fight corruption should not be seen and misunderstood as a fight against one political party but rather for the good of the country.

Touching on the greed of humans which he believed formed the basis for corruption, the former member of the erstwhile National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) said the human propensity for greed could be more bestial than the beast.

Rev. Palmer-Buckle explained that only the human being is capable of descending to the position of a beast or ascending higher than an angel.

‘The human being is the only creature capable of stooping lower than beasts and soaring to heights greater than angels…corruption is human. It is endemic to human society and found in every human society,’ he argued.

Corrupt Big Men
The Catholic Archbishop said invariably, it is notthe cruel who are most corrupt, but the big men andwomen. ‘Those whose survival is assured a hundred times over are the ones who indulge in corruption,’ he observed.

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, Editor in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, in reference to the adage that ‘corruption is as old as Adam,’ said that is not a vote of tolerance for corruption, but to admit it exists and must be fought.

He recalled that   William Ofori Atta, one of Ghana’s most astute politicians, wanted corruption  fought in 1956 but thecountry’s first, President, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, came in with his anti-corruption agenda and the others followed.

In the view of Kweku Baako, it must be recognized that in spite of the law, Ghana was still grappling with corruption.

‘I doubt if people will say there is no corruption; I know government spokespersons are defensive when it comes to corruption.

I have heard there is an attempt to tag the group and draw it into partisan realm,’ he underscored.

He urged the group to be courageous and full of conviction.

‘It doesn’t matter which political group you belong to; once you believe corruption is a canker we must begin to fight it,’ Baako encouraged.

Prof. H Kwasi Prempeh, addressing the gathering, said the group had embarked on a civic duty and not an act of rebellion.

He stated that democracy has the potential of becoming the vehicle of corruption in Ghana.

Prof. Prempeh maintained that corruption was on the rise in the country and at the same time, there was a growing religiosity.

‘How can we take Sunday church and Friday mosque so seriously and yet be so engrossed in corruption?’ he quizzed, noting that ‘The same people who do hajj and church are oftentimes the same people engaging in corruption. We have perfected the act of serving God and mammon,’ he bemoaned.

Prof. Prempeh indicated that ‘Despite outward display of religiosity we are quite approval of corruption.’

He said increasingly, success is measured by where a person lives and the kinds of vehicles he drives.

Prof. Prempeh stated, ’There is also a low risk of detection and sanction because of the game we play; incumbent members are not able to subject their own people before the law.’

Elizabeth Ohene, former Minister of Education, Science and Sports, said there are enough rules to fight corruption in Ghana, ’even if we don’t add any but execute what we have.’

She said among other things, that in Ghana one can build without a permit and on land he/she does not have a title to. ‘So if that can happen, how easy would it be to know who owns which property?’ she queried.

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