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Corruption and the Challenge of Accountability in the Post Colonial African States

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Corruption is ubiquitous. Recent developments across the globe attest
to the fact that abuse of power and office with impunity is not
restricted to any part of the world system. Nevertheless, its
consequences in the post-colonial African states are pervasive. There
is no doubt that „corruption reduces growth, restricts trade, and
increases poverty‟ (Altamirano 2007:488). This explains why the
African continent has remained stunted in growth with a huge deficit
in human development.

corruption is the totality of the
actions and activities of an individual or group of individuals within a
political society that constitutes injury to the collective interest or
impedes service delivery, constitutionally intended for the public. Every society has rules and procedures designed to
promote the interests of the collective. Adherence to these rules
requires appropriate actions and sanctions from both the ruled and
the rulers.This definition
incorporates the interactive and interconnected activities of both the
public and the private individuals within the political sector.

corruption in Africa grew from the negative colonial legacy, poor
leadership, politics of the belly, omnipotent state, greed and
selfishness, Clientelism and patronage nepotism, absence of popular
participation of the public in government, weak institutions of
governance, lack of accountability and transparency, lack of political
will, weak ethical values, centralist nature of the state and
concentration of state power, weak judicial system and constant
insecurity and conflicts are also the causes of corruption.
This description fits into the varieties of expressions, submissions and
opinions about the conduct of the African leaders in power.
States in the African continent ought not to experience
governance crisis. It is the second largest continent in the world, and
it has the largest number of sovereign countries. Africa has the second
largest territory with abundant human and material resources. Yet, it is
a continent „at the centre of numerous international crises and
opportunities”. In spite of its recognition in the
global affairs, the dynamics of its domestic affairs, characterised by
political unrest, economic stagnation, and mismanagement of the
material resources, continue to weaken its power potentials. It
represents a paradox of wealth and yet,the poorest and least
developed of the world‟s continental regions‟ (Kornegay and
Landsberg, 2009). African states have remained the recipients of aids
from the developed countries in uneven reciprocal relationships.

Corruption is undoubtedly the most pressing governance and
development challenge that Africa is confronted with today as its
debilitating and corrosive effects reverse hard won developmental
gains and threatens progress, stability, and development of the
Continent (Mahamat, 2017).

view of this, African
citizens have to demand the implementation of measures that would
promote governance and reduce the sprawling powers of the leaders
in the affairs of the state. In other words, the members of the public
should desist from celebrating corrupt leaders but instead ensure that
they are accountable through different measures. There must be a
commitment to the implementation of the principles of governance,
democracy, and human rights (Banoba, 2017). To this end,
accountability institutions have to be strengthened in order to make
governments and the leaders accountable. The electoral system has to
be reformed in a manner that would discourage extension of
constitutional term limit. Constitutionalism has to be enforced.

In view of the above, it is imperative for the members of the
public to monitor and constitute oversight instrument over
institutions of government, saddled with the responsibility of
overseeing executive activities. In other words, the members of the
public as well as the various civil societies should constitute
formidable checks against the formal institutions of government,
especially the legislature and the judiciary, to ensure their
independence and adherence to the rule of laws in their conducts.
Where and when these institutions fail, in their responsibilities, the
members of the public should exercise their civic rights for a change
through public protest and civil disobedience in order to force them
to act appropriately. This is important because when the members of
the public condone or indirectly induce the abuse and deviation, then
it becomes a culprit in the corrupt behaviours.