- Background to the Study
Efforts to fight corruption have gained increasing awareness in the international community and discourses in social science after the cold war. This was backed with formation of initiatives at the international and regional platforms including the United Nations (UN) Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes, the UN Convention against Corruption and Combatting Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption (Global Coalition for Afriaca, 2007; Azubuike, 2008; Amukowa;2013).
In the past, corruption was not considered a significant challenge for developed and developing countries nor a subject of academic discourse. The IMF and World Bank’s focus was to fight poverty and not corruption which was perceived as a political, not an economic issue (Ackerman 1999; Wrong, 2009). Corruption was often disregarded in countries that were perceived important to Western interest. It was of minor significance compared to promotion or pursuance of the Cold War even if it involved autocratic regimes (Ackerman, 1999; Brown, 2003; Enweremadu; 2012).
The passage of time gave rise to the realization that financial transparency, human rights and institutional checks and balances mattered more to the quest for a country’s development than had been previously recognized (Wrong, 2009;
Enweremadu, 2012). Also, after the cold war ended and the Soviet Union collapsed, the wave of democratization created an open political space that regarded as the second launch of Africa’s liberation (Ake, 1982; Olukoshi, 1998; Oloo and Oyugi, 2002). Immediately after the attainment of independence by most of the African countries in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, the populace had high hopes as their new leaders declared their commitment to prioritizing the fight against poverty, ignorance and disease. At the early period, there was a fairly broad moral and human discourse by leaders such as Julius Nyerere, Senghor, Keneth Kaunda, Houphouet Boigny amongst others (Mamdani, 1996; Kwaka et al, 2011).
Disillusion however set in with several corruption scandals reported in the international community by the ruling class at the detriment of equitable development (Bayart, 1999; Brown, 2003). This lowered the expectation that liberalization could enhance development and promote good governance. It also produced different inquires by countries and scholars on the issue of corruption that was previously ignored and viewed as political or controversial (Heywood, 1997; Throup and Hornsby 1998).
The often-ignored effects of western donor’s policies including the structural adjustment program which was aimed at opening the African continent to the forces of economic globalization rather indirectly resulted in the rise of corruption in many countries (Brown, 2003). Bayart (1999) argued that liberalization had weakened and criminalized the African state thus creating situations where leaders struggle to maintain control over society and hence resort to extreme measures such as nepotism, corruption and patronage to maintain authority. The Global Coalition for Africa (1997) pointed that political systems with democratic structures and free
economies offer better opportunities to control corruption, while the freedom following political liberalization makes corruption more obvious. A case of this was shown in Senegal and Mali where economic reforms and payment of adequate salaries appeared to have contributed to reduction of corruption and fraud (Heywood, 1997). Yet the same economic liberalization is partly responsible for the increase of grand and petty corruption in Tanzania (Diamond, 1995; Ittner, 2009).