Berlin — Despite the fact that bribery remains high in East Africa, only one in ten East Africans will report or complain if they encountered bribery according to the East African Bribery Index 2013.
'Bribery remains a key challenge for East Africans to access public services'... Says Noel Nkuruziza, the President of ABUCO, a local chapter of the Transparency International. He further noted that the inclusion of the Judiciary, Police and the Land Services in Burundi as one of the top ten most bribery prone institutions in East Africa and a similar ranking of the peer institutions in the other countries is particularly disturbing .... He noted ' Law enforcement and justice system are very key institutions in this country and region, we should not let bribery compromise on this'
In terms of country comparisons, Burundi worsened by moving two spots up to take position two with an aggregate of 18.6% as compared to the results last year. The aggregate likelihood of bribery was highest in Uganda where a citizen seeking state services encounters the highest likelihood of bribery at 26.8%. This was the same position held last year but with a higher aggregate. . Tanzania (12.9%) came in at third while Kenya was fourth with (7.9%) with each moving down a spot, again with relatively lower aggregates. Rwanda remains at position five but was the only country in the region that had an increased aggregate, 4.4%, up from 2.5% in 2012.
Who initiated a bribe encounter?
The survey noted that in terms of offering to pay a bribe on their own volition, Burundians ranks relatively worse than their peers in the region coming only second to Tanzanians at 11 and 13% respectively. Mr Nkuruziza noted that that while he appreciates that the situation within the public sector bodies may condition citizens to offer bribes, Burundians need to support anti-corruption efforts by resisting such tendencies. Noted he... the only way we can rightfully hold the authorities to account is if we deliver our part of the bargain. The propensity to offer a bribe was lowest in Rwanda at 1%.
Corruption by sector
The police continued with their adverse performance across the region. This year, police took the first five bribery positions on sector and organizational ranking. This is the first time a single institution or sector performs uniformly poor across all the countries. Police Other sectors that came in in the top ten in the ranking of sectors are Lands Services and Judiciary (Burundi), Lands services (Kenya) and Lands services (Uganda).
'Our largest concern for us in Tanzania is that the services for which the bribes are being paid are at the core of basic survival of ordinary Tanzanians' Lamented Mr Bubelwa Kaiza, the Executive Director, Transparency Forum, the host Coordinator in Tanzania.
Why East Africans Pay bribes
Majority of respondents in Burundi said they paid bribes because it was expected, while in Kenya and Tanzania majority paid to hasten up service. In Rwanda, majority of the respondents said they paid bribes to access a service the respondent did not legally deserve while in Uganda, majority of the respondents admitted to paying bribes because it was the only way to access the service.
Across the region, reporting of bribery cases was generally low, with only about 10% of respondents who encountered bribery reporting. When asked why they did not report any of the bribery incidences they encountered, majority of the respondents in Burundi feared reprisals. Their Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan counterparts said that they knew no action would be taken if they reported. In Rwanda, respondents said they did not report because they feared self-incrimination. Mr Samuel Kimeu, the Executive Director of the Transparency International chapter in Kenya noted his concern that even with all the investments that governments in the region have put into various anti- corruption entities, citizens are not utilizing the reporting mechanisms. 'Of particular interest is that citizens do not seem to trust their governments to respond to the reports on corruption. We need to win citizen confidence if any of our efforts were to succeed' Added Mr Kimeu.
Levels of corruption in their countries, future outlook
When asked to describe the current level of corruption in their countries, majority of the respondents in Burundi (60%), Kenya (64%), Tanzania (67%) and Uganda described it as high with Uganda having the highest percentage (82%). Majority of respondents in Rwanda, however, described the level of corruption as low.
Majority of the respondents in Kenya (46%) and Rwanda (72%) were optimistic that corruption levels would decrease in the coming year their counterparts in Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda felt that corruption levels would increase in their respective countries.
The East African Bribery report 2013 as released today is an attestation that bribery remains a challenge in the region. The citizens still encounter informal charges and levies as a pre-condition bribery. Bribery is most likely a manifestation of deeper governance challenge. As this remains the situation, the governments in the region have in the recent years expended a lot of financial resources and legislative attention in combating corruption. The reasonable conclusion is that these resources and efforts are not bearing fruit as expected. Transparency International and her partners across East Africa calls for a serious introspection on the current efforts with a view to strengthen them as may be appropriate.
SOURCE Transparency International