I was in the Joy Newsroom on Saturday evening when I heard John Kufuor condemning his successor’s record against corruption. He said that “corruption is becoming incarnate; we see corruption everywhere.” Immediately I heard those words, I turned to one of my colleagues and said: “look who’s talking.”
I knew then that either the government or the ruling party will find a way to give Kufuor a response, which would mostly be inappropriate.
So I wasn’t exactly surprised to hear on Monday morning that the Information Ministry had issued a statement cataloguing some of the instances of alleged corruption under Kufuor to tell him that he has no moral authority to speak against corruption under Mills.
That statement from the information ministry didn’t come as a surprise to me. But it was disappointing. It came from an administration which is still in denial about the prevalence of corruption.
The fact is that corruption is as pervasive under the Mills administration as it was under Kufuor. President Mills might not be dabbling in corruption. But he is not exactly dealing with it as decisively as he should.
In one famous case, President Mills claimed that what most Ghanaians saw as blatant corruption was nothing more than an act of “indiscretion”.
Where Kufuor deliberately turned a blind eye, Mills is shamefully burying his head in the sand. Where Kufuor condoned corruption, Mills is tolerating it.
Kufuor knows this better than most of us Ghanaians ever will. He has been in Mills position before and he knows corruption in its various forms. He knows when it’s alive and well. He knows when it’s taken root and he knows when it’s hovering everywhere – “incarnate”. That’s to say it’s around but it’s pretending not to be around. Kufuor knows all of these things.
So look who’s talking.
He knows what he’s talking about. When Kufuor says corruption is “incarnate”, I tend to agree with him. Sometimes it is so easy for the one who has previously dabbled in corruption to see it in its various forms.
Government can tell him off all they want. But, this is one of the few instances where I’d wholeheartedly agree with him. Corruption was very much alive under his nose and out of power, disabled from benefiting from corruption, he sees it in a different light – “incarnate”.
Where is the evidence? That was Kufuor’s favourite question whenever he was challenged to live up to his promise to fight corruption. But he is not exactly providing any.
Most Ghanaians know a corrupt government when they see one even though they can’t provide any evidence. But the absence of evidence doesn’t necessarily mean that corruption is dead. After all, it’s “incarnate”.