Why Fighting Corruption in Africa Fails


William Gumede. Pambazuka News. November 14, 2012.

Most well-intentioned corruption busting remedies in Africa fail because the root causes of corruption on the continent are often poorly understood.


Post-independence African countries inherited deeply corrupt institutions, laws and values from colonial and apartheid governments. In the majority of African former colonies, the colonial elite centralized political, economic and civic power, exclusively reserving top jobs in the public and private sector, as well as education only to fellow colonials.

At the time in the colony, the institutions that should have served as watchdogs against corruption: the judiciary, police, security services and rule of law, selectively served the interests of the elite classes. These institutions were more often subservient to the all-powerful colonial administrator or governor. The colonial private sector, for the most part, produced for export to the imperial market and as such were usually deeply dependent on the colonial government for licenses, contracts and subsidies. This sector rarely held the colonial government to account. With the exception of a few, colonial media sources were equally bridled.


Instead of changing colonial era institutions, laws and values for the better, African ruling parties and leaders entrenched these deeply compromised governance systems. At African independence, the colonial elite was often replaced by a similar narrow elite class. This time, however, it was the aristocracy of the independence and liberation movements; the dominant independence leader and dominant ‘struggle’ families, or the dominant ethnic group or political faction. African independence movements were often highly centralised or strongly dominated by one leader and his political, ethnic or regional faction. The dominant structural make-up of these movements has meant that they can seamlessly fit into a similar centralised political culture very much like the colonial administration…..

….Read full article at: http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85443

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