The politics of ‘fighting corruption’ in Africa: The example of South Africa and Nigeria
Aghogho Akpome (University of Zululand)

What does the increasing local and international interest in ‘fighting corruption’ reveal about the state of African democracies today and what does it portend for sustainable development in the continent? Guided partly by Frederic Jameson’s (1981) influential exploration of narrative as a socio-politically contingent act, I provide a critical discourse analysis of the major socio-political discourses and narratives inspired by, and associated with, ‘fighting corruption’ in Africa with a focus on South Africa and Nigeria in the past decade or so. I highlight the ways in which most of the anti-corruption discourses and campaigns are influenced by and align with the political agendas of specific non-neutral political figures in alliance with particular politico-economic constituencies especially from the media, dominant political parties, the intelligentsia and big business. Against this backdrop, and in view of the uncertain outcomes of successive anti-corruption campaigns vis-à-vis unrelenting (and sometimes worsening) socio-economic problems, I argue that, in its current forms, ‘fighting corruption’ in Africa is apparently geared more towards particular parochial political schemes rather than the commonly professed altruistic objectives. Needless to say, this has negative long term implications for democratisation and development in Africa.