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

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.