I just got hit with the news that the outgoing Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hanna Tetteh, who also got thoroughly walloped at the December 7 polls by George Andah – and deservedly so – for the Awutu Senya West seat of Parliament, says her outfit has put measures in place to ensure that all online applicants for Ghanaian biometric passports receive their passports by the end of June 2017.
First off, in Ghanaian political parlance, the definition for “has put measures in place” is the same for “in the pipeline” and “in principle”, all of which carry the abominable reality that the one making the promise or declaration has no intentions whatsoever of carrying it out.
And in Hannah Tetteh’s case, my assertion above could not be any less true. She leaves office on the night of January 6, 2016… a clear five months to the timeline she has set, and effectively sets herself up to deny any tags of incompetence that would be found to have been exhibited by her outfit if the new administration audits the progress of work at that cesspool we call the Passport Office and finds out that funds allocated to that project may have been misapplied. Or that, her “has put measures in place” declaration could be nothing more than a bunch of hogwash that has no relations to the reality of the situation in that monstrous office.
But neither of this is my beef. My beef is that any sentence that is stringed together to include “timely”, “ten days”, “fast”, “convenient”, and “efficient” in the same sentence involving the words “Passport Office” is a big joke.
But no one is laughing.
So long as the corruption pervading that miserable excuse of an office remains, no good in terms of efficiency and expediency will come from that rat hole. And I need only one reason for my obstinate cynicism:
A Corrupt Passport Office is More Profitable to Hannah Tetteh’s Subordinates and Hirelings
Modest figures put the illegal monies that exchange hands at the Passport Office of Accra to a whopping 200 Thousand Ghana Cedi a day.
That’s a million Ghana Cedi a week!
Not even the drug trade gives that much in return in Ghana.
And this is profiteered by agents, con men, employees and directors from the gate of the Passport Office to the office of the Director of Passports in that cesspit. Let there be an audit of the assets of the Director of Passports from when he took office to January 2017 when he would be kicked out, and these assertions of mine would be proven to be true. And that cabal is so self-sustaining and powerful that any reforms to speed-up and eradicate the bureaucratic nonsense will fail if it does not first shoot, bomb and annihilate the passport mafia.
Heck, I’d be surprised if kickbacks did not find their ways on a weekly basis to the desk of the Foreign Minister. It would be difficult to explain why the rot continues any other ways. Especially if you throw in the scandal in which foreigners pay 400 Euros for a Ghanaian diplomatic passport.
That’s just crazy!
The pain of a corrupt passport system has to be looked at for the average Ghanaian for whom coughing a hundred Cedi for a passport is tough enough, to speak less of paying 800 Cedi in illegal transactions. This phenomenon is clear for all to know, and is played out right in the open for all to see. And Hannah Tetteh knows this. She knows that her online application launch is nothing but a fluke. A sham. A veritable dose of nonsense. Unless the passport so applied is delivered to an applicant’s post box in ten days, any system that requires the applicant to walk personally to the Passport Office with a computer-generated slip to track said passport will result in the same stupid well-played out scenario of corruption that has been the hallmark of that sickening septic tank of an office for years. Who speaks out for the average, poor Ghanaian?
Hannah should spare us the insult to our intelligence and get rid of the mafia. Get rid of the thieves, and get rid of the system that profits only a few to the detriment of thousands of people each year. Only then would an efficient passport application system be believable in this apampamu-store republic.
Ten days indeed.