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The Democratisation Of Appropriation

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Chapter Summary

Since 2004, corruption accusations have become a dominant feature of Malawi's political culture. World Bank and IMF reports blame Africa's underdevelopment on the "dysfunctional" state, which is alien to and disconnected from African society. This chapter suggests a different interpretation and places corruption in the context of the country's recent transition to multi-party democracy and the influence of the global anti-corruption movement. First, the chapter examines corruption and the talk about corruption in the light of Malawi's recent past and current political developments. Second, it discusses the significance of a parallel informal order in the bureaucracy and, third, it highlights differences within a society that is often reduced to patrimonialism, kinship and ethnicity. In contrast to Kamuzu Banda's system, in which only a small circle around the autocrat appropriated the resources of the state, the time after the introduction of multi-party democracy was characterised by the democratisation of appropriation.

Keywords: African society; corruption; democratisation of appropriation; IMF; Kamuzu Banda; Malawi's political culture; World Bank



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