A growing number of Gambians say corruption is on the rise and the government is not doing enough to combat it, the latest survey by Afrobarometer indicated.
The survey stresses that citizens’ perceptions of widespread corruption and corrupt practices among public officials have increased. It went to state that a substantial number of Gambians also report having to pay bribes to obtain public services, and only half believe they can report corrupt practices to the right authorities without fear of retaliation.
An anti-corruption bill introduced in parliament in December 2019 is yet to be passed by lawmakers. Civic Society Groups have put pressure on lawmakers to pass the bill. The Gambia has no anti-corruption commission despite being a signatory to numerous conventions, including the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. The country is ranked 102nd out of 179 among the most corrupt countries in the 2020 Perception Index.
Key findings of the survey
“Six in 10 Gambians (61%) say the overall level of corruption in the country increased “somewhat” or “a lot” during the past year, almost double the proportion recorded in 2018 (32%)
Three-fourths (76%) of citizens say the government is not doing a good job in fighting corruption, a 39-percentage-point increase compared to 2018 (37%)
More than four in 10 Gambians say “most” or “all” officials in the police (48%) and the president’s offices (42%) “are corrupt”.
Public perceptions of corruption among key public officials increased sharply except about religious leaders.
Among respondents who had contact with key public services during the previous year, substantial proportions say they had to pay bribes to get police assistance (36%), avoid problems with the police (16%), or obtain identity documents (21%), medical care (12%), or public school services (9%)
Only half (49%) of Gambians say that ordinary people can report incidents of corruption to authorities without fear of retaliation of other negative consequences, a 9-percentage-point drop since 2018, the information gathered from the survey highlighted
However, National Assembly Member Honorable Alhagie Mbowe told local radio, Coffee Time with Peter Gomez, that the ‘Anti-Corruption bill had been forwarded to the National Assembly Table’s Office for adoption’ and remains optimistic about the passage of the bill.