Tanzanians believe corruption is declining

Respondents say they are less likely to be asked for bribes in 2017, compared with 2014

Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli. Magufuli, who is seen as an anti-corruption crusader came to power in November 2015 and has embarked on a clean-up campaign that is seeing public officials fired. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • About 90 per cent of Tanzanians think corruption has declined in the past two years with President John Magufuli at the helm, compared with five years ago.
  • However, the number of people who had to give a bribe in order to get a job has risen during President Magufuli’s administration, with the survey showing an increase of two per cent from 2014 to 2017.
  • President Magufuli, who is seen as an anti-corruption crusader came to power in November 2015 and has embarked on a clean-up campaign that is seeing public officials fired.

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About 90 per cent of Tanzanians think corruption has declined in the past two years with President John Magufuli at the helm, compared with five years ago.

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled The Untouchables? Tanzanians’ Views and Experiences of Corruption. They were based on data collected from 1,705 respondents from the mainland between July and August.

The respondents also said they are less likely to be asked for bribes in 2017, compared with 2014.

However, the number of people who had to give a bribe in order to get a job has risen during President Magufuli’s administration, with the survey showing an increase of two per cent from 2014 to 2017.

About 34 per cent of the respondents said they were asked for a bribe by an employer in 2014, while 36 per cent reported the same in 2017.
About 63 per cent of the respondents were optimistic about the possibility of ending corruption compared with 51 per cent in 2014.

The police and courts still lead in corruption, with 39 per cent saying they were asked for a bribe in their last interaction with the police and 36 per cent in the courts.

But, fewer than 20 per cent report being asked for a bribe in sectors like land, health and water. The people who were forced to give a bribe over land issues dropped from 32 per cent in 2014 to 18 per cent this year.

The number of people asked for a bribe by Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) staff dropped from 25 per cent in 2014 to five per cent in 2017; while in healthcare it reduced from 19 per cent in 2014 to 11 per cent in 2017. 

About 13 per cent of the respondents said they had bribed NGO officials in 2014, this number dropped to six per cent in 2017.

READ: Jail more corrupt people, Magufuli orders agencies

Anti-corruption crusader

President Magufuli, who is seen as an anti-corruption crusader came to power in November 2015 and has embarked on a clean-up campaign that is seeing public officials fired.

Tanzania is ranked 116th in Transparency International’s corruption index and scored 31 points in 2014, 30 points in 2015 and 32 points in 2016.

The respondents all had different definitions of what corruption is with some saying it is money dished out during election campaigns; others as receiving or giving cash in exchange for a service or the existence of ghost workers.

About 51 per cent of the respondents view sitting allowances as a form of corruption, while only three per cent consider people who fund political campaigns in expectation of favours as corrupt.

Twaweza executive director, Aidan Eyakuze, said majority of the citizens are “overwhelmingly positive about the progress being made to address corruption compared with three years ago.”

However, Mr Eyakuze said they remain concerned about due process and the basic rights of the accused.

READ: Tanzania president’s style a sign of iron-handed man, critics say

Majority of the respondents (81 per cent) said they regarded the fight against corruption as important even if leads to slower development while 19 per cent thought being too strict on corruption would hurt the economy.

About 65 per cent agreed that everyone should be given a chance to defend themselves, while 35 per cent felt the rights of those accused could be set aside.

“Process matters, because we need to guard against witch hunts and false accusations and to ensure that only the guilty are punished,” said Mr Eyakuze, adding, “A free, vibrant press and open space for civic action are crucial in this regard. The pursuit of corruption and waste is not a trade-off between upholding justice and encouraging freedom — the two can work together to create sustainable change.”

READ: Magufuli sacks officials for failing to recall roads budget

ALSO READ: Corruption across East Africa is getting worse, not better

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