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Corruption as a rational choice: The case of the first post-independence government of Ghana: 1951-1966

Djaba-Mensah, Stephen


Stephen Djaba-Mensah


Robert, 1947 Harris

Jose Magone


Nearly half a century into the post-independence history of Sub-Saharan Africa, the continent continues to wallow in poverty, underdevelopment and misery. Many wonder why the vast natural resources the continent is endowed with have not been tapped to turn the fortunes of the respective countries around. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that many well educated political leaders emerged from the potentially good human resource base of Africa—Nasser, Nkrumah, Nyerere, Balewa, Senghor and more recently, Mandela whose terms of offices held so much hope for the ordinary African, nothing concrete seems to have been achieved to address Africa’s problems. The economies of the majority of African states are on the verge of disintegration, a situation that crucially accounts for weakening of the nation state and central governments across the continent. Out of this situation, also emerge criminal elements and political patrons whose objectives are, among other interests, to exploit the structures of the state for their career advancements and ambitious pursuits. In some notable states as Uganda under Amin, Togo under Eyadema and Zimbabwe, the state is both the engine and object of political privatisation and as such managed by the respective political patrons as private empires or backyards. The question of the general good of the citizenry is a secondary consideration so long as the action involved benefits the political actor, cronies and clients. All these factors leave the nation-state in Africa in fragile and porous condition easily exploitable by conflicting interests. Political corruption is thus widespread in many African countries demonstrating itself through rent seeking, nepotism, and blatant abuse of power, embezzlement, clientelism and above all, extortion. All these, in no small measure, have contributed to Africa’s woes; for it is believed that corruption is a major impediment to growth and development. Indeed, it has been cited as the underlying reason for all the military Coup d’etats that disrupted the many civilian political administrations in Africa, during the second half of the twentieth century. Thus, the negative results of political corruption leave so much to be desired. It breeds abuse, nepotism, bribery, extortion, fraud, as well as the alienation and exclusion of the vast majority of the population. It also fundamentally undermines democratic values and good governance. Political corruption seriously subverts the rule of law and impacts negatively on sound public administration. Against this background, political corruption is a great challenge to the young African student of politics; and my prime objective and motivation for a humble and modest searchlight into one of Africa’s post-independence governments on the subject of political corruption, is buttressed on this premise. Secondly, it is immediately moving to realize that in Africa although the negative effects of political corruption are devastating and condemned everywhere on the continent, corruption is the model rather than the exception. Why this anomaly?


Djaba-Mensah, S. (2007). Corruption as a rational choice: The case of the first post-independence government of Ghana: 1951-1966. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 16, 2011
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Politics; Ghana
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Politics and International Studies, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 2007


Thesis (1.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2007 Djaba-Mensah, Stephen. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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