This edition of Perspectives tackles questions of state capture, and how the concept can contribute to understanding and strengthening democracies across Africa. Our contributors also open the possibilities that emerge when “state capture” is released from particular institutional settings and national boundaries.
In 2016, various allegations were made by opposition politicians and the media of a close and corrupt relationship between then President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family from India (several of whom had had their applications to become South African citizens fast-tracked).
Perspectives spoke to Crispian Olver, a former government official and author of How to Steal a City: The Battle for Nelson Mandela Bay – An Inside Account, to help make sense of the state-capture phenomenon in South Africa.
Any analysis of state capture is incomplete if it fails to grapple with the network of private actors that facilitates unethical, corrupt and other criminal economic activity. A narrow focus on the structural and institutional weaknesses in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the South African state risks ignoring equally institutional and systemic problems in the global financial sector that enable corrupt elements to spirit away ill-gotten wealth.
Since January 2018, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), the entity responsible for the country’s electricity distribution, has found itself under siege by an organically mobilised and extremely angry battalion of Kenyans from all walks of life in their quest for energy justice.
Nigeria’s history as an independent country is very closely intertwined with the history of its oil industry. The “black gold” was discovered in a small village called Oloibiri four years before the country took the reins of its affairs and stopped being a British colony in 1960. No other economic activity has shaped the country as oil has.
This Joint Submission encourages governments to voice their concerns in order to reorient the Guidance toward a more internally consistent and balanced document that clearly sets its objective as sustainable development of the host country with fair and equitable allocations of risks and rewards, rights and responsibilities between the contract parties.