REPOA joins TWAWEZA in concluding there’s a drop in corruption in TZ

07Dec 2017
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
REPOA joins TWAWEZA in concluding there’s a drop in corruption in TZ

ABOUT three quarters (72 per cent) of Tanzanians say corruption in the country’s key public institutions has significantly decreased over the past year, according to a new Afro-barometer survey by the Dar es Salaam-based think tank REPOA (Policy Research for Development).

REPOA executive director Donald Mmari

Among the cited institutions are the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB), the judiciary and the police.

The REPOA survey findings released yesterday indicate that popular perceptions of corruption in such institutions have declined across the board, while the proportion of Tanzanians who approve of the way the current government is handling the war on corruption has almost doubled since in 2014.

According to the survey, about one in three Tanzanians (36 percent) think that “most” or “all” of the police are corrupt - down from 50 per cent in 2014.

One in five citizens (20 percent) say the same about judges and magistrates, 14 percent for TRA officials, and 12 percent for PCCB officials.

The report says TRA enjoyed the largest decline in perceived corruption, a 23 per cent points drop in the proportion of citizens who see the authority’s officials as corrupt.

In 2014, at least 29 per cent of Tanzanians viewed PCCB as being corrupt, but this percentage had dropped to 12 by 2017.

Corruption perception towards the office of the president also declined from 14 percent in 2014 to 4 percent in 2017; government officials from 25 percent in 2014 to 12 percent in 2017; and members of parliament (MPs) from 21 percent to 8 percent in 2017.

Releasing the findings report in Dar es Salaam yesterday, REPOA executive director Donald Mmari said it shows how convinced  Tanzanians in general now are about the way the government is working to fight corruption and graft.

It comes amid reports of record revenue collections by TRA to the tune of 78.2bn/- over the past two official fiscal years, and renewed PCCB efforts to recover public funds which may have been embezzled.

But Mmari also noted that many government agencies are still widely perceived as corrupt, while only half of Tanzanians believe they can make a difference in the fight against graft.

A majority of respondents say potential whistleblowers remain afraid of retaliation if they report bribery incidents to the authorities.

“Notably, the decline in perceived corruption is accompanied by a doubling of the level of satisfaction with the government’s handling of corruption,” the REPOA boss said, adding:

“Seven in 10 Tanzanians (71 per cent) say their government is performing ‘fairly well’ or ‘very well’ in fighting corruption, compared to 37 per cent in 2014.”

The survey findings also show that public trust in government institutions like the police has increased from 61 to 62 percent in 2014 and 2017 respectively, and 72 to 76 per cent in the case of the parliament.

However, the public trust in TRA dropped from 60 per cent in 2014 to 48 per cent in 2017; in local government councils from 72 to 64 per cent in the same period of time.

The same public trust declines were noted in PCCB (58 to 46 per cent), the courts of law (69 to 66 per cent), and the president’s office (80 to 73 per cent.)

The REPOA report appears to support earlier survey findings by Twaweza which indicated that about 86 per cent of Tanzanians believe the level of corruption in the country has declined compared to five years ago.

Respondents in the Twaweza survey also asserted that across almost all sectors, they are less likely to be asked for bribes in 2017 compared to 2014.