Maputo — Over a third of citizens (35 per cent) who used public services in Mozambique paid a bribe to obtain those services over the previous 12 months, according to the 2019 issue of the Global Corruption Barometer for Africa, published by Transparency International.
The research was done in 35 African countries, with a total sample of over 47,000 people. In Mozambique, the survey ran from 13 June to 3 September 2018. The results were published on Thursday.
The survey found that 22 per cent of the Mozambican sample paid bribes in the country's state schools, and 17 per cent in public health units. This was a decline from the previous figures, in 2015, which showed bribery rates of 26 and 23 per cent in the public education and health systems.
There was also a decline in bribes paid to the police. In 2015, 40 per cent of interviewees who had dealings with the police reported paying a bribe, but in the 2019 report the figure dropped to 28 per cent. Similarly the bribe rate for access to public utilities dropped from 39 to 32 per cent.
Nonetheless, 49 per cent of the sample believed that corruption had increased over the previous year, 19 per cent thought it had declined, and 19 per cent said it was much the same.
Asked which institutions were corrupt, 47 per cent of the interviewees named the police. 28 per cent thought business executives are corrupt, and 37 per cent believed that most or all government officials are corrupt. In comparison, the President and Prime Minister do relatively well, with 23 per cent of the sample regarding them as corrupt - but this is an increase on the 18 per cent who thought they were corrupt in 2015.
50 per cent thought the government was doing a bad job in fighting corruption, compared with 37 per cent who thought it was doing a good job and 13 per cent who said they did not know or refused to answer the question.
On the brighter side, the majority of the sample - 54 per cent - believed that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption, while only 24 per cent though they could not.
The country with the highest bribe rate was the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 80 per cent of public service users had paid a bribe in the previous 12 months. The lowest rate, just five per cent, was found in Mauritius, followed by Botswana with seven per cent.
Taking the African continent as a whole, the report found that over 25 per cent of the sample had paid a bribe to ensure access to public services over the previous 12 months (which is about 130 million people in the 35 countries surveyed).
Across the continent, the police were regarded as the most corrupt institution. 47 per cent of the sample thought that all, or most, members of the police are corrupt. 39 per cent had the same view of government officials, and 36 per cent thought that most members of parliament are corrupt.
Two thirds of the sample said they feared retaliation if they blew the whistle on acts of corruption, yet 53 per cent were optimistic, believing that ordinary citizens can make a difference.