If the system (process) is corrupt; then it’s defective. A defective system will, unsurprisingly, produce defective output. It doesn’t matter whether or not, the input was not defective; the process is defective enough to affect a normal input into it to produce a defective output.
The political appointment process in many African countries is deeply and systemically corrupt. It’s a defective system, therefore, producing defective political outcomes. Whether or not, the input is normal, is of no consequence because the process is already defective enough to produce a defective output. Thus, political appointments in many African countries are made in an already structurally corrupt socio-political system (process).
Political appointments in many African countries are rarely about – or based on – merit. Merit is optional. The idea that the individual is appointed on the basis that they meet all the necessary requirements for the position and, therefore, the ability to do and deliver on the job to which they’re appointed, is secondly to the group criterion. In many African countries, political appointments are heavily based on the group criterion, i.e, belonging to and coming from the same group. What makes a group is also as important as who is accepted in and, hence, belongs to the group.
This is an important element in (political) societies with multiple social divisions such as clans, tribes, and ethnicities and a whole slew of other social demarcations and identities. Political power in many African societies is based and wielded on and decided by these criteria. So, it’s not uncommon to have political party membership based on any one or a combination of these criteria. For instance, it’s not uncommon to have a political party started primarily based on any one of these criteria; as such, a political party whose membership is dominated by people from the same clan, tribe or ethnicity wielding clan, tribal and/or ethnic power.
This means that political appointments in such societies are – and will be – made based on and following these criteria, hence, to the exclusion of those who don’t meet such criteria. Those who don’t belong to and come from the group in and with power, and therefore controlling the process and doing the appointment to political and/or so-called government positions – generally doing the allocation and distribution of socioeconomic and political privileges.
This also explains the mindset of “it’s our turn to eat” by those in politics and their cronies in such political arrangements that it is fit to call (and describe) it as a “political mindset” that perpetuates the politics of exclusion based on such criteria, hence, for instance, tribal politics.
Political appointments in many African countries are rarely made in the interest of the public; but, and largely, in the interest of the political party in power. This is primarily because public participation in effective politics is a farce. Politics and the entire political process is controlled and run by those in power. The political apparatus, therefore, is run primarily in the interest of and to serve the political party in power and the leader. Public service is treated as a secondary concern.
People are appointed primarily and mainly from the same political party in power and on the basis of political party allegiance and allegiance to the appointing authority – usually the president or head of government who is also, in many cases, the head (leader) of the party; which in most cases is run like a personal organisaiton. If a political party in power is run like a personal organisation of the party leader; who is also the president or head of government, effectively with the power to appoint people to positions of power; appointing people of ‘substance’, i.e, on merit; is not as important as appointing people who are subservient.
This is primarily because, if the leader of the party in power – who is also the president or head of government – is concerned with and motivated by preserving and staying in power; and if the preservation of power depends on; (a) the party leader’s control of and over the party; and; (b) the loyalty of the party (members); then it’s important for the leader to surround himself/herself with subservient people. People who will be subservient not only to the leader’s commands; but also the leader’s every whims and fancies without question. Or indeed, with people whose ability to raise critical questions to the leader’s commands have long been impaired.
Even when and where political representation, so-called ‘political inclusion’, is raised and becomes a political issue, potentially threatening the status-quo and the leader’s power hold; it’s usually addressed by looking for politically weak individuals. Individuals who are easily corrupted with power and privileges to fall in line, i.e, in the prevailing order, without threatening the power order; but giving the necessary impression of political inclusion.
This largely explains why in some African countries, especially those where the political party in and with power has a monopoly on power; and as such, has been in power for long, once individuals are placed in positions; they stay in the same positions (posts) for 10, 15, 20 years and more. Because they’re not a threat to the leader’s power but instead serving their subservient role well; to keep and maintain the status-quo.
It is also important to note that in such political environments; the appointment system is used to discriminate and oppress, and to distribute privileges, rewards for obedience and punish disobedience to the party and its ideology, and the party leader, who has the power to appoint and therefore controls the appointment system.