Questioning the Patrimonial Issue in Rent-Seeking Debates

  • M Lukonge


The contemporary debate in rent-seeking and corruption-related activities in Sub-Saharan Africa has focused so much on the so-called patrimonial question. According to scholars who have advanced this argument, African corruption is characterised by the notion of ‘neopatrimonialism’, which describes a resurgence of ethnic and tribal mutual support ties that work along traditional lines, thus exacerbating corruption. In this paper the author contends that the patrimonial argument is flawed as an explanation of African corruption and it seems to be advanced with the aim of eschewing contributory responsibility of forces in the developed world. A more viable outlook of rent-seeking and corruption should therefore focus on greed as a factor and be more inclusive by focusing on the culpability of all parties and groups.

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eISSN: 0856-6739