In his maiden May Day address to the workers of the nation, the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, stirred the hornet nest, when he spoke about the pervasive corruption in the public sector.
Corruption is not all about politics and politicians. Granted that the politicians, in the kind of democracy we practice, are in the commanding heights of the distribution of resources which provided them the leverage, in most cases, to help themselves with the nation’s milk pot in a manner that betrayed the trust reposed in them by the public.
Over the years we have given the politicians a bad name and hanged in on them, when the real criminals parade state institutions, ministries and departments, laughing at our perceived ignorance.
The Civil service, for instance, is unarguably, the cesspool of corruption in the polity, but because they know how to cover their tracks, no one dares to look in their direction.
No politician, no matter how powerful, can pull through a scam in the public sector without the active connivance of the civil servants.
Regrettably, when the hammer falls, the politicians take the flak while the civil servants walk away smelling fresh like rose.
Every four years or at the whims of the appointing authourity, a politician will be fired or the political party might lose an election, but the only groups of people, who stay on, until retirement are the civil and the public servants.
I fail to see how a politician can loot the treasury without civil servants as accessories, they know the ins and outs of every ministry, department or agency, a lot of them pay their colleagues to avoid transfers, so that they can perpetuate their criminal activities.
We cannot win the war on corruption, when we ignore the root and keep fighting ourselves about pruning the branches.
We can shout to high heavens about our corrupt elected leaders, but the corruption that leaves us endangered as a people is the one among civil servants.
It is also only in Ghana that a public servant will live above his means and eyebrows will not be raised.
The corruption we have in our civil service is the stumbling block to our growth as a nation.
It is the reason why a mother watches her child die in her arms, because she does not have the money to pay the hospital charges.
It is the reason why our children are paying cutthroat tuition fees to acquire an inferior education in a country that could have afforded quality and free education for all.
It is also why, in the midst of plenty, there is so much hardship as the mainstream look on as a greedy few feed fat on what is meant for all.
Civil servants want to live like businessmen and women, who risk so much to get their reward. If you know any senior or even a junior but clever civil servant, take a look at his lifestyle, then you will get a clue of what I am talking about.
Recently I was at the Registrar Generals Department. The first thing I told myself when I got to the place was: ‘what are all these people doing here?’
The place teemed with people idling around that you go away thinking that we are operating a socialist government, where the government is obliged to provide job for all, including those who have nothing to offer.
a condition has been created to extort money from everyone, who goes there to register a business or transact a business.
They do not only extort monies from unsuspecting Ghanaians, as well as foreigners, they also steal what have been made available to them for work.
About a fortnight ago at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament hearing, there was a mind blowing revelation about a motor bike being auctioned for GH¢3 and a pick up for GH¢1000, this has become an annual ritual and no one gets surcharged or punished.
I have applied for a separate electricity prepaid meter since January this year; a simple process that should take days is taking forever.
On my last visit to their offices at Legon, I was told the manager was yet to sign my form, before I could pay for the meter and wait until it is ready.
A coded message is being communicated to me, and I am pretending not to notice, I must pay or wait forever.
Nobody is interested in knowing what they did during working hours or even if they turned up for work because those, whose duty it is, are preoccupied with pilfering the nation through deals and inflation of contracts.
Laziness, attitude, also contributes to low productivity, the president was right when he admonished workers to eschew laziness.
Ghana will never develop with the kind of public servants we have. They deserve everything, but want to contribute nothing.
Something must be done about the situation, we have gone past the time for platitudes, a lot of water as they say, has passed under the bridge, what have been eaten we cannot get it back, but we can protect what is left.
Mr President, must task his ministers to get the workers at the various ministries and institutions to get to work, the days of idling and not doing anything must give way to a new workforce, desirous of contributing to growing a prosperous nation.
So much is wrong with our country that we do not know where to start with its transformation. However, the civil service needs to be reorganized, restructured and given a new orientation if we are to make any progress as a nation.
The office of the Special Prosecutor, which is yet to be created, must not see itself as solely to bring down erring members of the political class, but must expand its scope to rope in the time tested criminals, who have launched their greed on this nation for a very long time.