I do not write this piece as a supporter of any political party. It is also not a cynical ploy to gain unnecessary comments and undue attention. I write this piece as a concerned individual who has love for Ghana and believes that this country can flourish under good leadership with strong political will to act.
I write this because we cannot live in an economy where employment opportunities in the public sector are sold. The ability of a person to acquire certain jobs is just like going to the market to purchase a commodity at a price. The situation is deep rooted in every nook and cranny of the society, drawing the nation’s clock of progress backwards. The reality of bribes being allegedly collected for recruitment and posting in the public sector is painful.
This is the main reason why we find some people who do not merit certain positions being given the opportunity to destructively cripple our dear nation. My heart bleeds whenever I hear recruitment scandals in the public sector. In point of fact, I haven’t fallen prey to such situations, but it’s high time we disentangled ourselves from this economic shackle.
We live in a country where, in order to be recruited into the Police, Immigration, Military, teaching and nursing, one would have to buy or pay for it. There have been numerous alleged cases to that effect. This is typical case of job for sale economy. If we do not nib this scandal in the bud, terrorists, for instance, will infiltrate our security services, and the results would be disastrous for our dear country.
Dealing with the root
This canker within the public sector space seems to have its root from the leadership of the country. On a daily basis, elective positions are being bought and sold. Huge money is spent on election related activities. During campaign periods, bribes are paid by people seeking political offices to get elected. These people will then have to recoup their lost investment in thousand folds (through various forms of corruption), once in office. Truth is, these monies spent on campaigns could have been used to establish huge private businesses, yet some politicians prefer political ventures to businesses. They do not see the private sector as an engine of growth, and this is sad.
People in decision-making positions in the public and civil sector space learn from this, and sell out job opportunities to unsuspecting job seekers.
If a job seeker has to pay money before he is offered a job, what would he not do to repay the debt carried forward?
Another corruption breeding forum is the opaque manner with which job opportunities are given out. Some of us are interested in knowing the criteria which is used for selection, and how transparent is the selection process? As a country, we have complicated simple things for far too long, thereby creating rooms for bribery and corruption cases.
It is important that, as a country, we begin to build and marry strong institutions, provide quality education to our people and create more opportunities for all. I believe that a welfare state based on liberal principles is what Ghana needs. The state called Ghana should play a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. There should be equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a comfortable life. Such is the way to make the structure of the state stronger again.
We must build our democracy through an open society where information accessibility and sharing is not a big issue. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate on our airwaves, they come with solutions as well. However, when there is no social justice, accountability and probity, there is abuse, corruption, suppression and righteous anger.
As Margaret Chase Smith succinctly puts it, “My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought, that smears are not only to be expected but fought, that honor is to be earned, not bought.”
The author is a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). firstname.lastname@example.org