Chapter 2: Political corruption and the limits of anti-corruption activism in Ghana
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This chapter analyses four high-profile political corruption cases in Ghana’s fourth republic – the post-Rawlings era, which marked a decisive break from the military dictatorship of the 1980s and the ‘authoritarian democracy’ of the 1990s. Over the past two decades, Ghana has evolved a tradition of ruling-party alternation, which has contributed to democratic consolidation without, however, any significant reduction in the prevalence of corruption. A vibrant electoral democracy in the context of a generally unproductive economy has fuelled political corruption by creating incentives for politicians with short time horizons. This chapter examines the responses to political corruption in Ghana through the activities of several civil society organisations and the media. It summarises the case selection and the methodology used, followed by a presentation and analysis of four case studies of political corruption, both extractive and power preserving, in governments led by both NDC and NPP. The last section draws the broad implications of political corruption in a context of interaction between a clientelist political settlement and weak state institutions. In conclusion, we reflect on the prospects of anti-corruption activism within a competitive clientelist political settlement.

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