There's a lot of talk in Ghana about the latest release by the nation's most famous underground investigative reporter about massive corruption at the state port in Tema. Personally, I am not so much interested in the story as I am about why we allow such things to happen easily in this day and age.
A cursory look at procedures at the harbor, and indeed in almost all spheres of our public institutions, one thing that stands out is how lagging behind we are in terms of automation. Shuffling papers about, moving from office to office, signature after signature, all means one thing- more human involvement.
Having more human involvement in any institution simply opens up room for abuse of office. If you need me to sign something, and without my signature, you cannot proceed to the next step, then you are at my mercy and will be ready to do anything I tell you to. What bugs me really, is that if the many needless paper shuffling and signatures are all meant to authenticate transactions, can't computers through automation do better than humans?
I cannot honestly understand why the government, and for that matter, most African governments, don't just make full use of technology. This abhorring act of plain theft at the Tema Harbor is just one of the many, many unreported cases of thievery going on in this country. And all this can be reduced to the barest minimum if only our government will be willing to move to the 21st century.
Of course I am not naive to think that our corruption ridden society will heal overnight, no. What I firmly believe in is that when the necessary foundations for fighting corruption are laid, that in itself will surely act as a detterent in one way or the other. We cannot just be losing over $200m US in revenues through tax evasion and then turn around and sing the praises of some really initiatives by the West in the name of taking us out of poverty.
Instead of the nation bickering about how bad those people there are milking the nation dry, I'd like to hear an honest, intellectual discussion about how to prevent a few insatiably greedy people from milking the remaining 25m of us dry. Let us think of how we can use technology to better our lives and fight corruption. The age of "man-power" should be over, let the time of automation be now.
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