Compared to them, we are angels: Parliament, othering and the fight against corruption in Ghana

  • Kwabena Sarfo Sarfo-Kantankah
  • Joseph Arko
Keywords: fight against corruption; parliamentarians; National Anti-Corruption Action Plan; content analysis; evaluative language; othering; Ghanaian parliamentary discourse


Due to its supervisory responsibility over the executive and public institutions, including ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), Ghana’s legislature has a mandate to check and fight corruption and make its practice a high risk, low-gain activity. The commitment, urgency and the willingness to fight corruption can be seen not only in creating the legislative framework for addressing corruption, promoting governmental accountability and acting as a check on the executive, but also in how the subject of corruption is broached in parliamentary debates and discussions, an area which relatively lacks scholarly attention. First, using an interpretive content analysis, this paper studies the approaches to the fight against corruption in Ghana by examining the Parliamentary Committee report on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) and, the debate thereof, in order to uncover the focus of the NACAP. Second, the paper examines Parliamentarians’ use of evaluative language in parliamentary debates to enact otherness and how this othering affects the fight against corruption in Ghana. The paper finds that the NACAP suggests a three-pronged approach to the fight against corruption, viz: ethical/educational, multi-stakeholder and legal approaches. However, the implementation of these approaches has been ineffective due to certain Ghanaian cultural practices. Again, the paper finds that as a result of othering between government and opposition MPs, the fight against corruption is only incidental in parliamentary debates, indicating a low parliamentary commitment to the fight against corruption. Thus, the paper suggests that the fight against corruption must be taken away from the corridors of the Parliament of Ghana.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502