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The African Chief

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Chapter Summary

In the chiefdoms, or states, rules for selection of chiefs varied from one ethnic group to another. Chieftaincy was hereditary and reserved to certain lineages by right of genealogical link to the founding ancestors. The African chief was more of a leader than a ruler. One of the recurrent myths about Africa is the notion that corruption is culturally ingrained among Africans. The traditional practice of offering a "dash" has often been used by scholars to provide a "cultural" explanation to the pervasive incidence of bribery and corruption in Africa. Perhaps no other area of study is as fascinating as the checks Africans built into their indigenous political systems to prevent or punish abuse of power or misuse of power, due to lapses or departures from the accepted standards of conduct. In theory, the African chief wielded vast powers, which led many observers to characterize him as "autocratic"..

Keywords: abuse of power; African chief; chiefdoms; corruption; indigenous political systems



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