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The political elite continue to dominate and exercise power in African democracies. Their relative autonomy has helped to explain the way power can be used or abused in a manner that can overtly or legitimately lead to political manipulation and corruption. The elites are the main beneficiaries in the expropriation of resources in the short run, and in most cases, this can lead to capital flight. Even though Africa is endowed with diverse natural resources, the concept of globalisation has increased opportunities for cronyism and theft by the elites. In Africa, the political elite live better lives while their countrymen are wallowing in abject poverty. As a result, poverty has reached a point where extreme inequality has threatened to cause social disorder and instability. This has been exacerbated by international monetary institutions that favour structural reforms in governments, leading to favouritism, corruption and income inequality.


Political mayhem has been attributed to social injustice, economic turbulence, and other social ills. Governments are reluctant to incorporate their citizens to participate in higher value-added labour as a way of enabling them to get a bigger national income slice. The widening gap between the rich and the poor has created a lot of problems in societies, and there is no political will to stop the predicament. Corruption is not just an abnormality; it has got its own established political economy.


The corrupt continue to use their ill-gotten gains to purchase property from the old rich resulting in the old rich getting richer and the new rich getting the rich status. As a result, money circulates within a small sector of the super-rich political elite society. Most businesses and industries are shrinking. They are faced with economic stagnation and remain in old hands. Literally, corruption is evident in mines, municipalities, public health and education systems. Due to lack of government commitment to end corruption in its laws, to fight rigorously and clamp down on corruption, bribery and cronyism, corruption continues to rob the public purse through its annual procurement budget.

Wasteful investments and expenditure that benefit the political elite have been recorded in various industries, which tends to create opportunities for middle-class workers at the expense of the pro-poor. Hence, unemployment has taken a massive upward trajectory, with a lot of people unable to find productive employment. So, the vicious circle of corruption contributes to poor education, crime, poor health, and poor employment opportunities.

Hlengiwe Phetha

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