The vice-president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged Ghanaians, and especially politicians, to inculcate moral values and high standards in a common quest to build a society founded on a shared set of honourable aims and beliefs.
He also charged politicians in particular to emulate the Akufo-Addo government by backing up their claims of fighting corruption with deeds, not just words, to make Ghana a better place.
Speaking at the 76th graduation ceremony of Trinity Theological Seminary in Legon on Saturday (13 November), Bawumia said in today’s world, it has become important that countries take deliberate steps to develop a society of citizens who are not merely prepared for the world of work, but also intent on bringing about growth in all aspects of life and making a difference in the world.
“As Ghanaians, we could build a distinct moral identity and constitute a reference point for people of other nations. We must endeavour, in both our public and private lives, to do what is morally right and eschew what is morally evil.
“A high sense of morality is a ‘sine qua non’ of good citizenship. That much – not material wealth, not prosperity religion – is what we need in order to build a good society,” he said.
Databases that don’t lie
Zeroing in on corruption, Vice-President Bawumia said many pronouncements have been made in the past signalling the desire to fight the blight, but these have largely failed. Hence the Akufo-Addo government’s decision to digitise the process of gaining access to government services and thereby reduce the human interface, which lends itself to corruption.
“One of the major moral cankers facing our society is that of corruption. It is one of the things that every political party talks about but very little has been done about it in the past,” the vice-president said.
“We have killed people in the past and it has not worked. We have passed many laws and they have not been enforced. We have appealed to people’s sense of morality and it has not worked.
“When we came into office, one of the approaches we took to address the issue of corruption is to put in place systems that eliminate corruption through digitalisation.
“Through digitalisation we have been able to tackle corruption at the Passport Office, ports, GRA (the TIN is now the Ghana Card number), SSNIT, NHIS, you can purchase electricity credits using your mobile phone. Every public sector worker will be uniquely identified by their Ghana Card number – no more double salaries.
“The motor insurance database, containing the data of all the insurance companies, has ensured that now we don’t have fake insurance certificates. You can dial a short code and check the insurance status of a car before you board.
“The data of the Births and Deaths Registry is being digitised to take out fake birth certificates. And now, with the Ghana.gov platform, you can access all government services and make the necessary payments without any major human interventions, drastically reducing corruption.”
Promote transparency and social values
As the vice-president explained: “We are building a new system to underpin the economy. A system that makes for greater transparency, promotes accountability and efficiency in every aspect of public interactions. It is a system that minimises incentives to pay bribes and opportunities for corruption in the delivery of public services.”
Touching on the theme for the celebration at Trinity Theological Seminary, “Faith-Based Education, Morality and Nation-Building”, Dr Bawumia indicated that concerted individual and national efforts will be required to rekindle Ghana’s core societal values.
“We need to work consciously on the nation’s value systems to enhance the moral temper of the country to help accelerate national development. Our values are very important, and we should hold on to them.
“As data indicates, a majority of Ghanaians are religious. Therefore, religion does not only have a profound influence on our moral values and life, but also on the development of our country.”
In total, 217 graduates received recognition for their hard work, ranging from certificates in ministry (16), Bachelor’s degrees in theology (55), MAs in ministry (91), Master of Divinity (41), Master of Theology (11) and DPhils in theology (three).