As citizens in democratic developing countries (DDC) put their governments under pressure to deal with corruption, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is increasingly being considered as an important strategic resource. Although the use of ICT in DDCs is not new, its use by citizens as a means to fight against corruption is clearly a challenge. This paper reflects upon corruption through the theoretical lens of the Principal-Agent Theory whereby the citizen in a democratic country is the principal and the government is the agent recruited by the principal to perform a task. The research adopted a qualitative-interpretive approach using an online survey to understand how a select group of principal, actively online citizens, perceives of corruption and their perceived role of ICT as a tool to participate with government in dealing with corruption. The actively online citizens who responded were from the African DDCs of Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The findings reveal that actively online citizens from the DDCs have a very strong patriotic willingness to participate with government. They are however concerned about their personal security and the presence of powerful minority groups that control government. The paper shows that contrary to the principal agent theory which suggests that the main role of ICT is in allowing access to information, the key to actively online citizens dealing with corruption using ICT is their ability to leverage mobile platforms to unseat the powerful minority groups. The paper also reveals that the threshold in DDCs to use ICT to unseat the powerful groups is probably not close especially because citizens in DDCs do not believe it is worth the effort to fight corruption. Although many articles have appeared on the use of ICT to fight corruption, few have extended the discussion to understanding the citizen perspective from DDCs in participating to deal with corruption.
Twinomurinzi, Hossana and Ghartey - Tagoe, Kow Bondzie, "Corruption in African Democratic Developing Countries and ICT: Apathy, Anxiety and Patriotism" (2011). GlobDev 2011. 3.