Ghana tasked on corruption ahead of 2024 polls


Ahead of Ghana’s December 2024 general elections, elder statesman and former chairman of the Citizens’ Vetting Committee, CVC, under the erstwhile PNDC (Provisional National Defence Council) era,  retired Major Kwabena Adutu,  has advised Ghanaians, especially its current crop of leaders, not to allow corruption derail the country’s hard-won democratic achievements.

PNDC was the name of the Ghanaian military regime after the People’s National Party-led elected government was overthrown by Flight Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in a coup d’état on 31 December 1981; Rawlings was to hold on to power until 7 January 2000. The Citizens’ Vetting Committee was a strategic organ of the PNDC which was charged to investigate citizens whose lifestyle was perceived to be above their known income,  and to punish tax evasion.

Speaking during a recent interview in Accra, Adutu said the increasing tendency toward corruption across virtually all facets of society does not bode well for the country’s future.

According to him Ghana urgently needs a  catch-them-young strategy that should intentionally work to change citizens’ mindset, beginning with it’s children in  basic schools.

”There is too much corruption in the country. And, it’s not limited to politicians alone. The present state of corruption is everywhere: in the courts, at the hospitals, in the academia. Everywhere. Corruption is so endemic that we can’t see it as just limited to a particular sector. No, no, no, the whole country is corrupt. So, unless we make
attempts to do away with corruption, or reduce it, except we do that, nothing can work. It’s unfortunate. Offences that would have put people in prison for as much as ten years before are now treated as nothing and widely condoned,” he stated.

Ghanaians go to the polls in December this year in what is projected to be the country’s most unique and tensest elections since its return democratic governance.

The flagbearers, John Mahama of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), represent different religions, Christian and Moslem. Both are from the northern part of Ghana, a place bothering the Sahel region which is vulnerable to the overflow of terrorist acts. Also, northern Ghana has a prevalence of unresolved tribal conflicts resulting from chieftain disputes and festering political tensions, which could be expressed in the upcoming elections.

Also, Ghana this year scored zero for the fourth consecutive year in fighting corruption, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2023 released last January by Transparency International (TI). Ghana scored 43 out of a clean score of 100 and ranked 70th out of 180 countries and territories included in the CPI report. Transparency International attributed Ghana’s stagnation to the deteriorating justice system, which it says is reducing the accountability of public officials and therefore allowing corruption to thrive.

Similarly, a recent high-profile petition allegedly seeking to impeach Kissi Agyebeng, the country’s special  prosecutor against corruption, ignited a political storm, with critics accusing President Nana Akufo-Addo of allegedly orchestrating a scheme to remove the embattled ombudsman. Within a week after receiving the petition, President Akufo-Addo is said to have swiftly forwarded the petition to Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, prompting accusations of ulterior motives.

Appointed three years ago for a non-renewable term of seven years, Agyebeng’s tenure has been marked by tensions with the government and other state institutions, including clashes with the attorney general’s office over the prosecution of Akufo-Addo’s former cabinet minister Cecilia Dapaah for alleged money laundering and stashing of
over a million dollars at her private residence, which led to her resignation.

But Adutu said even as scary as the above signal are, that they have also been worsened by  occurrences at the respective primaries of the country’s two largest parties where large sums of money were said to have freely exchanged hands, as well as recent coup- and war-baiting by certain individuals. He, therefore, urged all hands to be on deck to ensure the country peacefully the approaching vital 2024 elections.

”Now, look at the party primaries: You go and buy votes; or, somebody has given Ghc100, Ghc200 or Ghc20, 000 to go and vote for him, and you accept? You have already started corruption. And after you have collected that money you go back and say that people are corrupt? It can’t work like that. How do you tackle that in an election year when
NPP will do it, and NDC will do it? It has become a tradition, a political culture. If you don’t give them, they won’t vote for you. The people (aspirants and candidates) will give the money  (to be elected), and afterwards they collect it back when they get into office by taxing everything. And the same people who had collected money to vote will now be complaining that they are taxing them, they are doing this and that to them. But, they forget there is no free lunch anywhere. My fear is that with the way things are going, a time will come when we won’t even get people with good mind, with intellectual capacity to run for office. Then it will be between cocaine dealers and galamseyers.
I’m afraid, our problem is with corruption. And, I don’t foresee it ending soon. And, we are not disciplined. That’s why I tend to agree somewhat when people react to certain situations with comments like, ‘if Rawlings were around!’ Take for instance, a situation where two drivers will stop their vehicles at a cross-road, start quarrelling, and wasting everybody’s time. They wouldn’t do this during Rawlings’ time. You see, these are some of the things that people remember and they say they like military rule. However, it’s only the young ones those who have not experienced curfews and those who have not tasted military rule that clamor for military rule.  And those who clamor for war are those who have not seen war before. They can just sing war songs, but they don’t know anything about war,” he noted.

Noting that all hope was not lost, however, the octogenerian  called for a change of heart by  all Ghanaians, and urged voters to strive to elect this year a democratic leader ‘who will correct things’.

”The solution is change of mind. We must have a change of mind. And we must start early, from the school children. A catch-them-young type of strategy. Because, as for the adults and those who are already grown up, I don’t think there’s any hope of reversing the trend from there. Corruption is so much that we don’t know where to leave out. Go to the hospital, go to the courts, it’s everywhere. So, it’s the bane of our country. So, let us get a leader who will correct things,” he urged.


Best wishes,

Martin-Luther C. King

Internationl Journalist|Communications Specialist | Entrepreneur |

London | Abuja | Accra-Ghana | Cape Town-South Africa | Sunnyvale-USA |

President/Lead Campaigner, Journalists for Regional Integration (JORIN),