How does the idea of ‘working with the grain’ apply to the issue of political accountability as it is confronted by parliamentarians in Africa? Drawing on interviews with Ghanaian MPs in the context of the APPP research stream on parliamentarians, this paper offers an answer. It proposes a framework for a comparative study of MPs’ accountability across countries which would shed further light on the issues raised by the Ghanaian respondents. It argues that parties and party systems are bound to play an important role in strengthening MPs’ accountability, and that making progress towards democracy entails politicians being allowed to ‘live’ their own rules rather than being prematurely forced into Western institutional straitjackets.
London, UK, Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP), 23 pp.