In recent times, the NDC has become a somewhat nuisance to the ruling NPP as a result of the tag “State Capture” it is using to describe happenings within the government. State Capture in Ghana is more dangerous than corruption if it actually exists. The cost of State Capture in any country is just incalculable.
It has the tendency to destroy any nation, it will make the world lose trust in any nation that engages in it, our reputation will be messed up and this will lead to missed opportunities for the state and the citizenry which cannot be quantified.
If we are already finding it difficult to fight corruption, we can never stand in the way of State Capture if our corruption is allowed to mature into that level thievery.
Every citizen, NPP, NDC supporter, floating voters and none partizan Ghanaians must be worried about the tag State Capture in Ghana and its devastating consequences for the nation if it is really happening.
According to news published by Ghanaweb, Private legal practitioner Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has said that the use of ‘State Capture’ by former President John Dramani Mahama and the former CEO of GNPC to describe President Akufo-Addo-led government’s involvement in the ongoing PDS saga is unwarranted.
Ghanaweb quoted him as saying “Mahama, Alex Mould and co have found and borrowed a new phrase from South Africa: “State Capture.”
The NDC have continued to defend their stand using the PDS as a clear case of State Capture plan under Nana Akuffo Addo’s administration. But let us not judge or debunk their accession based on our political affiliations but rather as true Ghanaians. I leave you to make your own deductions after reading this writeup.
This term State Capture first surfaced in the 2003 World Bank report on corruption in Eastern Europe and Central Asia hence it may not be a borrowed term from South Africa. However, the practice was very common in the post-Soviet transition economies then later spread across the world.
What is the State Capture in itself and why should the NPP led government to be worried and work to vindicate society that, it is not practicing it.
State capture is a systemic well planned political corruption which gives prominence to private interest and allows it to influence the decisions that the nation or country makes. These private stakeholders are also allowed to influence the decision-making process to their advantage.
State capture describes a hybrid of corruption in which businesses and politicians conspire to influence a country’s decision-making process to advance their own interests. As most democracies have laws to make sure this does not happen, state capture also involves weakening those laws and neutralizing any agencies that enforce them.
In South Africa, the State Capture strategy was implemented between President Zuma’s family and three Indian-born brothers who migrated to SA after apartheid. The three brothers were owners of business that got very lucrative government contracts from the big government institutions.
These brothers influenced public officers to take decisions in their interest and it is alleged in return they offered those in government and holding public offices who acted in their favour. This led to the term “Zuptas” coined from Zuma and Guptas (The three brothers) The three brothers were able to influence the South African Government per allegations. It is alleged that compliance was rewarded with money and promotion, while disobedience was punished with dismissal.
According to Abby Innes, assistant professor of political economy at the London School of Economics the State Capture does not only use BIAS public policies aimed at favouring some particular businesses and companies but also, it is used to further consciously weaken state institutions and law-enforcing institutions so that, they can not fight corruption the way they should.
The Special Prosecutor can be a vivid fit here. It has been created to fight corruption but, it has also been weakened by the same law that created it. It just can not bite but bark the loudest . State Capture strategies are used to deny such institutions’ resources and space. This makes it difficult for them to function.
Implications of State Capture Research
State capture according to research negatively impacts many private businesses that do not have any connection to top persons in government.
A research titled “State Capture in Transition” by Joel Hellman and Daniel Kaufmann revealed the dangers of this high-level corruption plans that are well crafted between state actors and private institutions and individuals of great influence in government. This revealed that, State Capture is more dangerous than corruption.
1. The private sector or individuals are more powerful or posses more power than public officials and politicians engaged in the act.
2. High level and respected politicians who put government policies and regulations together are excessively powerful, very abusive of the systems.
3. Undue influence used in such systems are highly sophisticated, very often corruption acts are illegal due to existing laws.
4. Manifestations of high-level corruption, rules, policies, laws are shaped for the “game” by the elites.
The above together breed what is termed “legal corruption” withing economies where leadership is practicing this kind of governance which can fit into democracy, autocracy, and any form of governance.
State Capture Stratagies of Political Elites
For countries that are suffering from the Stata Capture danger, it needs more than institutions and policy reforms to fight the canker.
Private institutions and individuals who finance political parties in an election year must be avoided be their legal and illegal private interests. Such institutions can easily infiltrate political bodies with financing. This calls for the state to finance political activities of parties during national elections. This will go a long way to promote fair funding, improved regulation, and transparency.
State Capture tactics are the greatest weapon is public procurement. Ghanaians have not lost sight of the recent expose titled “Donkomi Contracts” by journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni. State Capture, is bigger than corruption, let us fight it together.
How to Combat State Capture in Ghana
To combat State Capture there is the need for a robust, transparent public procurement that allows competition in areas of renegotiations, contract transparency, and protecting whistleblowers is also key to fighting it.
Avoid “financial equilibrium clauses” in public-private partnership legislation and contracts. Investments from public-private partnerships should become part of the government’s budgets, balance sheet, and normal oversight processes.
Excessive State-owned enterprise reforms taking place in every sector of the economy are set of dangerous avenues through which State Capture is activated against the citizenry by those in power.
State-owned enterprises can be used to cement the ties between politicians and private actors. As such, they are often critical transmission mechanisms through which state capture occurs.
Though traditionally, state-owned enterprises are often seen as potential vehicles for fostering the state’s interests, there are also risks that powerful state-owned firms use their close relationships to state actors to shape laws, policies, and regulations in their own interest.
if State Capture in Ghana is a reality then strategies politicians may be using to achieve it unnoticed include but not limited to Political and Economic Contestability, Political finance, Public procurement, State-owned enterprise reform, Sectoral Reforms and Conflict of interest. Are they happening in Ghana far too common too often? I leave it to your own judgment.
Source: Wisdom Eli Kojo Hammond |Human Rights Activist|Public Speaker| Budding Leadership & Research Expert |Educationist, Author & Blogger |Newsghana24.com