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Internal Strategies and Mechanisms for Combating Corruption during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Zambia: A Linguistic Turn, pp. 23-40

This article analyses internal strategies and mechanisms in Zambia that have triggered corruption challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. In doing so, it focuses on a localised practice known as the bineyi phenomenon and adopts John Law’s actor network theory (ANT) as an analytical prism. Bineyi is a colloquial word in Nyanja which refers to favours in exchange for funds from individuals and government officials. Simply, Bineyi entails a system of business social networking in which influential businesspeople seek to gain favours. These social systems are dimensions and units of actions of individuals, and their roles as plausible human activities. ANT, in turn, is a social science approach which assumes networks of social relations and structures that are dynamic.

ANT is used in this article to draw attention to the intimate associations between interactants, as well as their attributes, capacities and activities, that weaken mechanisms to deter corruption during the Covid-19 pandemic. Methodologically, the article is based on qualitative research involving interviews, observation and documentary analysis. The article proposes a twofold approach to reducing corruption. The article suggests that information provided by those convicted of corruption and dismissed from the public service should be made available to the general public, and that the bineyi concept and practice during the Covid-19 pandemic should be redefined into local understanding. This would illustrate the broad complementary role that political, judicial and traditional leadership institutions have in the fight against corruption.

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