Factors that enable political corruption specifically involves immunity of political office holders taking undue advantage of their positions to defraud the state of its scarce resources.
This act of political corruption goes to undermine whatever socio-economic, bureaucratic and political advantages the state may possess.
In other words, when political leaders and public office holders behave unethically within the framework of their positions, the development of the state is critically undermined. How can we define political corruption?
Political corruption the illegal, unethical, and unauthorized exploitation of one’s political or official position for personal gain or advantage. The word “political” in political corruption is intended to refer to public affairs: the official goods, affairs, fortunes, agencies, resources, and institutions of the state–which is a human community with organized, public institutions.
Political corruption is thus an act of corruption perpetrated against the state or its agencies by a person holding an official position in pursuit of his own private or personal profit. “Political” thus means official, public (nonprivate), or governmental.
This means that a corrupt act committed against a private or nongovernmental organization will not be political corruption, even though it is indeed an act of corruption, the committal of which will justify the censure or conviction of the culprit.
The victim of political corruption is invariably the fortunes, resources, and interests of the state or the body politic: thus, to say that political corruption serves the ends of the state is a contradiction in terms. It serves the personal ends of individuals or groups of individuals who involve themselves in it (Gyekye, 1997: 193).
When a public office holder exploits his or her position to achieve personal benefits, we say that an act of corruption has taken place. This act manifests variously as graft, fraud, embezzlement, nepotism, favouritism, misappropriation of public funds, kickbacks/bribes and so on.
Factors that Enable Political Corruption.
Factors that enable the Growth of Corruption
Since it is analytically reasonable to see corruption as a consequence that needs to be explained rather than a cause that serves as an explanatory variable, it is useful to examine the various factors that enable the growth of corrupt practices on the continent.
Factors that enable political corruption to grow includes:
- Political—bad leadership
- Patron-client relationship and networks
- Unequal access to public resources
- Abuse and misuse of office and political positions, administrative logjam,
- Discrepancy between economic expectations and available resources
- Social—the extended family system
- Lack of distinction between public and private properties
- The cultural contexts of socio-economic and political organisations
There is a sense in analysing the phenomenon of political corruption as “a political event” made possible by the character of the political system and the nature of governance in a particular political community.
In Africa particularly, the state is regarded as an alien institution, different from you and me, and predatory.
Role of Religious in Corruption.
The “moral” duty of every smart and clever person is to ensure that the government is outsmarted in every possible way without getting caught. There is even a religious dimension to the process of stealing from the state.
The persistent inability of most states in Africa to deliver the developmental and democratic goods of good governance to their citizens precipitates an existential crisis of immense proportion. We can explain this crisis as the crisis of suffering and social anomie.
Poverty has become so endemic that citizens have been reduced to levels of indignity and inhumanity. An average worker in Nigeria can’t afford a good car even if s/he works for 20 years, except s/he takes a cooperative loan; a minimum wage of 18000 naira became a national issue; personal savings is a foregone conclusion. In the midst of this widespread poverty is also a thriving “achievement/status market” which almost all Nigerians want to be part of.
Within this wide margin that separates expectations from goals, Nigerians, for instance, have inserted an economic rationality backed by a religious sensibility that allows them to make their suffering sufferable. Deriving from:
- The trauma that attended the postcolonial failed promises and unfulfilled expectations of the masses about the existential possibilities of the Nigerian state
- the consequent perception of the Nigerian state as an exploitative and exploitable treasure trove of affluence and advancement plunderable by guile and force, this religious framework represents a divine-assist in self-empowerment for a visible material transformation—in the present, in the now, in the seen—that is no longer hinged around, or hindered by, the state’s empty promises and fruitless
Put in other words, the religious ontology is motivated by the instrumental desire, by any means, to carve a visible material status that is not less than the miraculous in an agonising world, and against a callous, irresponsive state. It thus casts attention to the heavens (but not necessarily to God) for cosmic assistance while assiduously exploring the worldly means for achieving material promotion and reproduction.
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