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Interrogating Our Past: Colonialism and Corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The article examines corruption in sub-Saharan Africa and argues that its explanation should not ignore the role of colonialism in the genesis and sustenance of corruption in Africa. The authors argue that most of the literature - in its attempt to explain the entrenchment of corruption - has ignored the lens of colonialism in the analysis of corruption. They, therefore, argue that corruption in sub-Saharan African can best be understood through colonialism’s systematic use of material inducement as a mean to compel African chiefs/administrators to collaborate in the pursuit of the colonial project. The authors also argue that the practices of post-colonial Africa’s political and bureaucratic elites are an extension of the said colonial policies and practices. Colonialism as a tool of analysis allows for a historical analysis of corruption, however, it is noted that colonialism should not be the sole lens of analysis through which corruption is studied in sub-Saharan Africa.

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African Journal of Political Science