Pay is low in Ghana, and it can be a long time between paychecks. A policeman makes the equivalent of about $100 per month. On this he needs to feed his family, clothe them, pay school fees, and housing expenses. This low pay is an invitation to corruption, especially when the citizens see the people at the top taking bribes, “gifts”, and profiting from the drug trade. Everyone gets the message that this is how business is done.

In December a number of prison workers in my region were not paid, and had to ask for credit in order to buy food to celebrate Christmas with their families. I have posted before about health care workers low pay and incentive to move abroad, citing this article in the New England Journal of Medicine that describes the issue.

If the police and the prison workers cannot make ends meet, how can we expect them to uphold the law fairly, bring criminals to justice, and keep convicted criminals jailed. Big criminals, whose crimes, such as drug dealing bring large profits, are in a very good position to bribe their way out of legal entanglements if the people responsible for enforcing the law cannot make a living wage. Reports vary on if, and how well, the Ghana government is enforcing the drug laws.

Recently, a post on Say It Loud read:

I travelled to Holland some days ago, and at the last check point before entering the plane, I was SHOCKED to be SEARCHED (not only me, but all the passengers) by some white foreigners. I asked them who gave them the power to search Ghanaians, at the last check point & the answer was: “Your govt.” we’re looking for drugs’) I almost fell down. This was real & were searched by Kufuor’s own white Security people. What happened to our local (Ghanaian) security personnel?

In reply, another comment stated a particularly important point:

I am sure that if we give Ghanaians the same training and the SAME SALARY that these white men are given, they will do a better job.

Another comment added:

They (those looking for drugs) should go to the VIP lounge.
The VIP lounge is where the NPP top dogs (Kufuor administration) pass with their drug cargoes.