Ghana isn’t gradually transforming into a crime scene; it can be undeniably characterized as a nation embroiled in criminality across multiple scenarios: a crime scene waiting to happen, those presently unfolding, and those already occurring. Each individual within the country, myself included, is directly involved in or maneuvering within the described.
To illustrate this, consider the problematic reality where encounters with the police often lead to unwarranted stops and involuntary financial exchanges, as it is widely known that time will be squandered otherwise.
Everyday scenarios across Ghana paint a vivid picture of the crisis at hand. In homes where house helps steal hoarded cash stolen by government and private officials, streets where armed robbers hijack bullion vans; national financial institutions report unexplained losses; and in an education space where parents buy exam papers for their children.
Ironically, the church, which is a traditional pillar of moral guidance and community support, is not untouched by instances of corruption – the clergy are fending off the sweat of gullible members and sowing seeds of hate targeted at the minority in society.
Government and ministries are plagued with corruption. While project costs are inflated and diverted into the pockets of a few, essential services are proportionally underfunded. This misuse of public resources undermines development and erodes the public’s trust in their leaders, breeding anarchy and lawlessness.
The impact of this systemic corruption is evident on the streets. Small businesses struggle with the tax man/woman “taking a cut” on the side to pay less to the government and the ripple effect is seen in outrageous profit margins on goods and services. At the same time, young graduates face the daunting task of finding employment in a nepotic system where who you know often matters more than your abilities.
These scenarios, illustrative of the profound challenges confronting the nation, starkly highlight that Ghana is not on the brink of becoming a crime scene but, in many respects, already fits the description of a crime scene.
From the privacy of homes to the sacred halls of schools and churches, the integrity of foundational institutions is compromised, signalling a pervasive issue that transcends petty incidents to reflect a systemic crisis.
This alarming reality calls for an urgent and collective effort towards restoration and reform, and the critical need for ethical leadership and robust community engagement to steer the country back towards a path of trust, integrity, and safety for all its citizens.
It’s important to note that this assertion does not imply that other countries are devoid of similar issues. Instead, it is a candid expression of my experiences and observations after spending years in Ghana. During this time, I’ve become acutely aware of the multifaceted challenges of crime and its pervasive presence in all aspects of life within the country.