According to Transparency International, Africa loses at least US$50 billion annually to corruption. In Ghana, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Transparency International’s local chapter, projects that corruption costs the country US$3 billion every year. This has made the conversation about corruption and its perception dominant in many media and public discussions.
In the lead up to the December 2020 elections, the conversation about the impact of the corruption menace on the country have become far more common, with the communicators of two major political parties, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) labelling each other as being more corrupt or having comparatively worse corruption record.
In a statement released by the NPP after the resignation of the Special Prosecutor on Monday, 17th November, 2020, the party said the record of corruption under the NDC leadership was the worst.
“The NPP insists that we have a better claim to good governance. We hold CSOs as our natural ally in delivering good governance and therefore must lay out the situation as it presumably is. Stated bluntly, the current NDC leadership record on anti-corruption is probably the worst ever,” the statement said.
On the other hand, the Flagbearer of the NDC, John Mahama, during their manifesto launch on September 7 at the University of Professional Studies, Accra touted the NDC’s performance on corruption.
“By the end of 2016, Ghana had attained global recognition as the second in Africa on the 2015 Rule of Law Index of the World Justice Project; fifth in Africa in the 2015 Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit; and seventh in Africa on the 2015 Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International,” Mr. Mahama said.
While it may be subjective to measure who has fought corruption better among the two leading political parties, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) reports released by Transparency Index annually provides a better insight into how citizens perceive the presence of corruption in public office in a given year under a specific government.
The article highlights the CPI scores Ghana recorded during the tenures of the Mahama-led NDC (2013-2016) and Akufo-Addo-led NPP (2017-2020) governments.
The CPI scores and ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector are perceived to be by experts and business executives. The CPI is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.
It must be noted that the CPI uses a scale of 0-100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
So, for example the top countries which scored high marks were New Zealand and Denmark with 87 scores each, Finland (86), with Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland all scoring 85 points are considered very clean and transparent according to the 2019 Transparency International CPI.
The lowest on the scale were Yemen (15), Venezuela, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and Afghanistan, all with 16 marks and are therefore very opaque or highly corrupt according to the same report.
Summarily, the closer a country is to zero, the highly corrupt it is considered.
From Table 2, under the current Akufo-Addo-led NPP government (2017-2020), Ghana recorded its lowest perception of corruption, 40, in the government’s first year (2017). The perception worsened in the subsequent years with the country recording 41 in both 2018 and 2019.
Even though the CPI report for 2020 is yet to be released, the worst CPI score (the highest corruption perception) under the Mahama-led government is better than the best CPI score (the lowest corruption perception) under the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government
Despite these scores, Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative has condemned both the NDC and the NPP for doing less in tackling the social menace that corruption has become.