- Published on Thursday, 21 February 2013 16:03
- Written by Musue
Almost every day we hear claims and counter claims of dishonesty, corruption, and what else; decadence, iniquity, immorality and all of those ills that bring about distrust and confusion not only at the Chief's table, but also within non Chief's quarters and private homes. Take for example, Ms. Rose claims that her husband is “cheating.” Rose's husband insists that he is being accused falsely. Rose maintains that her husband is not living above suspicion - he comes home midnight, claiming he had been at the office working; he smells with women cologne; and he once had a female “item” in his pocket. Is Rose's husband living above suspicion? Does Rose have reason(s) to be suspicious? What can your spouse, your colleague; your pastor; your teacher; and your Representative do to live above suspicion? And if that person is not willing to live above suspicion, what message does that convey?
Talking about suspicion -when I started writing this letter, a friend stole a glance at the topic and was stunned: Live above suspicion! This person actually asked, “Bor Musue, how are you going to write about that?” Frankly, the question didn't shake my confidence. There are a lot to write about on the topic. In fact, I had to cut down scenarios and case studies initially outlined for this letter.
Mama, I want you to ask the small chief, the village messenger and other people in the village: Is it important to live above suspicion? Why should cooked food sellers live above suspicion? They need to, so that customers can feel confident to buy their food to eat. Why should I live above suspicion – the places I go, the people I associate with and the way I comport myself? Why is it important for you to live above suspicion? Should the governors, the preachers, teachers, wives, husbands and 'kotokolees' live above suspicion?
The ancient Roman Julius Caesar is supposed to have said “Caesar's wife must live above suspicion” when asked why he divorced his wife. Caesar said his wife was suspected of some wrongdoing; so he could not associate with her anymore. Was Caesar wrong? Was he right?
In our village today, fraudulency appears to be a more acceptable way of life - both in the professional and private sector. It seems professionalism is being eschewed, and ethics recoiled, and truthfulness spurned. Should we become corrupted or weakened by those who balk at professionalism and productivity because of their own shortcomings? Should we, Mama? I say no, because when we demanded change, we did so believing in the principles of good governance, respect and recognition for professionalism and ethics. Not the opposite!!
Why should people live above suspicion? Is it a wrong “cry” to ask officials to live above suspicion? Well, if it is a “tight fist” request, then I wonder why Former Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor asked members of the Ghanaian Electoral Commission to remain above public suspicion. Kufuor's comments came in the wake of bribery allegations and court cases that bedeviled the Electoral Commission. Ask yourself, if the Electoral Commission is innocent of the bribery allegations, then what gave rise to the accusation in the first place? Did members of the commission live above suspicion?
In our village, the chief and her associates don't want to work on allegations, but it is important that public figures must not be suspected of wrongdoing. Such suspicion, if associated with skepticism and doubts lead to wariness, thereby tainting the image of the offices.
Last week, I was sitting in the cafeteria of one of the popular hotels here– I was minding my business when a large group of evidently “big people” came and forcibly made me not to mind my business. Across from my table, they sat and chatted noisily and boisterously- sometimes about the “cut” they made and the profit earned in the process. As the cafeteria tittle-tattle continued, the group of “big boys and big girls” raucously blathered about corrupt practices carried out by public officials in our village. Whether all of these tattletales are facts or fiction, the reality is that public figures are either not living above suspicion or that their lifestyles, activities, or associates are a cause of doubts, skepticisms or misgivings.
Mama, as you used to say, public officials must have public opinions on their side. The people in our village demand transparency, accountability, truthfulness and ethics from their political leaders. For example, did Mrs. Putu or Mr. Kaiwu in any way use public position to influence the award of the public money to a private organization? You and I know that the abuse of power to influence decisions related to public contracts is known as corruption. These and many other questions on the accountability of public officials should put Mrs. Putu and Mr. Kaiwu and their family under public scrutiny. The pain for Mrs. Putu as a wife and mother is understandable. But Mrs. Putu as a public official must place truth, ethics, social justice and public interest before personal and family interest. Do you agree?
As the Chief stated few months ago, it is crucial that family members or the associates of public figures must not even be suspected of wrongdoing. We all know that to lead effectively, public figures and all associated with them must be of flawlessly impeccable conduct; completely beyond reproach; without even the implication of impropriety.
Oh, Mama, and for those who feel this expectation is purely political, please tell them to know that in religion, we are expected to live above reproach, and or leave no ground for accusation.
Mama, as we strive to live above suspicion, let us constantly examine ourselves by asking: "What am I doing?" If this were made public, would I be ashamed? Would the media have it as a headline news? Would the Chief frown on me? If my coworkers knew this, would it bring reproach on my reputation?" How would I feel if my spouse saw me? What we say, what we do, how we live, how we drive, how we talk to people, how we handle our finances, how we spend our time, how we pay our taxes, how we dress... everything must be constantly examined to make sure that we are above reproach, blameless.
Mama, as I close this letter, kindly tell Old man Kasu that he can respond to my letter. It would be good hearing from the villagers on the content of this and other letters.