Ghana: Our Nation Is Facing Integrity Crisis
By Alex Bossman Baafi
The word Integrity used to feature most prominently in the 90s, when the then ruling President made it a mantra and used it to describe most people in government. The president at the time used to refer to his appointees as ‘Men of Integrity’. In fact in those days the word Integrity did not walk alone most of the times. It moved about more often than not with its friends of Probity and Accountability. Today you hardly come by the words Integrity, Probity and Accountability from the pronouncements of our leaders in government because the nation is facing serious Integrity Crisis than ever before.
I am not saying that in those days of P/NDC rule, when Integrity became a mantra, there were no credibility issues with the government. The point is that, at least the constant mentioned of integrity and its brothers of probity and accountability as some of the core values of the government, probably made those few people who wanted to lead life worthy of emulation able to do so. The word ‘Integrity’ is beautiful and sounds sweet and bold in the ear when mentioned. Perhaps its ‘beauty’ becomes manifest in its meaning.
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines Integrity as the quality of having strong moral principles in life. That is leading a blameless or spotless life devoid of corruption.
Let us first examine the lives of our people in leadership positions. Most people in government today cannot be called people of integrity in the right sense of the word. Yes, none of them is blameless or spotless. Government officials accept Houses and Luxury cars as ‘Token Gifts’. This practice has come to replace bribery and corruption in our political vocabulary in this country. Inflating Loan Contracts, School Building Contracts as well as Roads Construction Projects costs have also become the normal way of life of most government officials in this country.
Our very politicians who helped to popularize integrity in this country and who are at the forefront to shape the destiny of our dear nation continue to preach virtues but their lives are full of vices. Many well-meaning people are fast gaining the impression that our politicians bath, cloth, eat and sleep with lies. They over-promise and under-deliver all the time. They often create the impression of working in the interest of the masses but in fact, they work hard in pursuit of their personal selfish interests. Most of them are corrupt than the word corruption itself. They often rely on empty promises to mislead the innocent masses to win their mandate for power just to become “Greedy Bastards” to amass wealth to the detriment of the socio-political and economic well-being of the good people of this country.
Where are the men and women of integrity? Our Police Service has “Service with Integrity” as its motto. What is the public image of the Police Service in this country? It has become known secret that some of the armed robbery cases were spearheaded by certain criminals who managed to infiltrate in the Police Service. The service is full of corruption. Those who encounter the police often in their daily activities can testify that most of these officers in uniform are not really delivering service with integrity. Ask the commercial drivers; especially the trotro and Taxi drivers plying our roads throughout the country and the picture you will get about the Police Service will be distasteful.
Come to think about our men of God, Pastors, Archbishops, Bishops.etc. They are supposed to be men of integrity who win and save souls for God’s kingdom. Many are criminals and deceitful like the wolves in sheep’s cloths. Our newspaper stories are full of criminal activities most of these so-called “men of God”. The bible gives accounts of several men of integrity. Job 2:3 has it that “And the Lord said to Satan, have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity although you moved me against him to destroy him without cause”. Daniel 6:4 gives a vivid description about the character of Daniel as a man of integrity. According to John 8:44, Satan is the father of lies. Therefore, those Pastors who bath and rape people’s wives, those who use dishonest means to milk their congregation are from Satan. The problem is how to discern theses criminal pastors from those who have true spirit of the Almighty God in them. Today churches are mushrooming everywhere most with the intention to use deceitful means to make money not with the aim of winning souls for God. These churches specialize in the preaching of prosperity gospel instead of worshiping God in truth and in spirit to merit the favour, mercy, grace, love and salvation of God.
Most of Headmasters and Teachers who were trained to use their profession for the moral upbringing of students and pupils tend to sexually abuse them. These days our educational institutions are full of homosexual activities. Gayism and lesbianism have become the order of the day in boarding schools. Many teachers have cultivated the habit of reserving part of their mandated class work for part-time just to create the avenue to milk students and their parents.
The Health Service deliveries in our hospitals are not the best. One of the core values of the Health Service is to put patients at the centre of health care delivery system, yet the attitudes of most Doctors and nurses go a long way to compound health problems of the patients. Although, we have wonderful Doctors and Nurses who are committed and are giving off their best, most of their colleagues are corrupt and have very bad attitude towards their jobs. This work will be meaningless if I fail to mention the Judiciary. Just last week two judges were shown the exit for taken bribes. A situation many describe as the tip of the iceberg because the service is full of corruption. Both men and women whose judgments can make or mar others lives have thrown their integrity to the dogs so where are we heading towards as a nation?
Just buy a taxi for a poor jobless person and see whether he will be honest and sincere with you in his daily sales. There is corruption everywhere in the country. The civil servants, football administrators, Journalists, Drivers, Fuel Station attendants, chop bar operators, you name it, are all not blameless. None of us is morally upright. There is moral decadence in all sectors of this country and who is to blame? We live in a nation where virtually everybody is corrupt and careless about the development of the country. The lifestyles of the people in government leave much to be desired which include profligacy, grabbing properties here and there as if there is no tomorrow. These send bad signals to the youth in our society.
What makes the situation more hopeless is that the leadership in charge of our resources and determining the destiny of this nation, who are supposed to lead lives worthy of emulation, are morally weak. Our country has been endowed with more resources including Oil and Gas but we always go round with cup in hand begging for loans and grants in order to meet our developmental needs. We are where we are because our nation is facing integrity crisis. We need to resolve that and our political and economic leaders must lead the way.