What say ye ‘bout corruption?
“Results from the Round 5 Afrobarometer survey are by far the most negative concerning how the government is handling corruption. “For the first time more than half (56%) of respondents reported that the government is doing a shoddy job in curbing the scourge of corruption.” These are the official findings of the survey that was conducted by the Institute of Public Policy and Research.
In 2006, 48% of surveyed Namibians were of the opinion that the government is performing poorly in fighting corruption, while 50% appraised the government favourably in handling the fight against corruption. After the official launch of operations of the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2007, the picture changed slightly. During the fourth round of the Afrobarometer survey in 2008, the proportion of respondents with the view that the government is failing to deal with graft decreased by 7 percentage points to 41%. A marginal increase of 4% was recorded for those who said the government is handling corruption well. Based on the results from round 5, the improved sentiments were only transitory. The public seems to have lost faith in governments ability to handle to subject matter.
The Afrobarometer is a comparative series of public attitude surveys, covering up to 35 African countries in Round 5 (2011-2013). It measures public attitudes on democracy and its alternatives, as well as evaluations of the quality of governance, and economic performance. By broad strokes, Africa is said to have weak institutions and strong rulers. Institutions created to serve the public often times find their powers usurped by the politically well-connected. This is especially important for horizontal accountability bodies such as the ACC in Namibia. Even though the ACC enjoys institutional legitimacy, the picture is not all rosy when it comes to the perception of who it mostly goes after. “About 44% Namibians think that the Anti Corruption Committee mostly goes after petty offenders while avoiding the politically well-connected. Conversely, just above half (51%) of the respondents posit that the ACC targets all levels of corruption including suspects who are politically powerful.”
The survey interviewed 1200 adult Namibians, and a sample of this size yields results with a margin of error of +/-3% at a 95% confidence level. According to the survey analysis, faith in anti-graft bodies is an important factor shaping opinions about how the country is doing in fighting corruption. Logically, when citizens perceive their anti-corruption institution to be neutral and conducting its affairs without fear or favour – they would appraise the government favourably with regards to fighting corruption.”