Political pressure group, Economic Fighters want the fight against corruption rebranded to the fight against stealing.
Fed up with the term corruption, the group say the word is used to “disguise the crimes of the wealthy and powerful in society”.
“Unless stealing is called what it is and dealt with as such, the so-called fight against corruption will achieve little”, a statement signed by its leader Ernesto Kofi Yeboah who is also former National Youth Organiser of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) said.
The group said the different use of the word corruption and stealing reveal a “class bias”.
The Economic Fighters League pointed out the different punishment meted out to thieves and corrupt officials as evidence of this bias.
“A man takes five tubers of yam that do not belong to him and is sentenced to 5 years imprisonment…. At the same time, someone inflates public expenditure and takes GHS 1 million for himself (which is also stealing), and nothing happens”.
Read full statement
RENAME CORRUPTION AS STEALING – FIGHTERS
Mr. Martin Amidu’s nomination for appointment to the Office of Special Prosecutor brings to us at the Economic Fighters League (Fighters) a good feeling. Even though we maintain that state institutions already exist to fight stealing, the naming of Mr. Amidu is a refreshing breath of hope in the fight against stealing in public office.
It is our hope that Mr. Amidu would be bold and fearless to defend the good people of Ghana from the long hands of greedy thieves who amass illegal wealth at the expense of the masses.
But for Mr. Amidu to succeed, indeed for any anti-stealing fight to succeed, we must strip it of its euphemism. The word “corruption is a euphemistic name for `’stealing`’ used to disguise the crimes of the wealthy and powerful in the society.
For proof, go to any major market center in Accra and shout ‘thief, thief’. There is an instant reaction from everybody and the person involved will be chased and possibly lynched. This is not to encourage lynching as that in itself is criminal and unacceptable.
But it shows how seriously people take the issue of stealing. Unfortunately, this only applies to the lower class. The higher class commit a different crime when they take something that does not belong to them, they are said to be corrupt. Again go to any market center and shout ‘corrupt, corrupt’. Nobody will mind you. In fact, some people will think you are mad.
The crimes of the privileged class have been lessened in the eyes of the public, and it will be difficult to fight this canker if this continues.
Again, check the court records. A man takes five tubers of yam that do not belong to him and is sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. The five tubers are probably valued at less than GHC 50. At the same time, someone inflates public expenditure and takes GHS 1 million for himself (which is also stealing), and nothing happens.
Even the media reportage reveals this class bias. The media will report the story of the yam thief with headlines such as ‘thief sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for stealing 5 tubers of yam’, ‘yam thief jailed 5 years’ etc.
Unless stealing is called what it is and dealt with as such, the so-called fight against corruption will achieve little, whether we have a Special Prosecutor or not.
It seems reasonable therefore to suggest that the first major task of Office of the Special Prosecutor is to take steps to engender a renaming of all “corruption” cases as “stealing” because that is what they are. Otherwise, little progress can be made with two different narratives for two different classes for the same crimes.
We wish Mr. Martin Amidu well.