With the exception of Rwanda, more than 60% of citizens of the east African community (EAC) do not believe their governments are committed to combating corruption, according to latest study from Transparency International.
Kenyans are the most pessimistic with up to 70%, doubting their government’s performance.
The study released Monday asked respondents: “How well or badly would you say the current government is handling the following matters, or haven’t you heard enough to say?”
Kenya was among 28 countries surveyed for the latest African edition of the Global Corruption Barometer which spoke to 43,143 respondents in Africa between March 2014 and September 2015.
Respondents were asked about their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their country.
Rwanda was not included in the study from the five EAC neighbours. 69% of Ugandans responded “badly” when the same question was posed. Burundians also express similar sentiments, with nearly same level as Uganda – at 68%.
Just about 37% of Tanzanians have confidence in their government. The rest do not think their politicians can end the vice.
Rwanda has for years maintained low rating on the anti-graft agency’s annual index, in recognition of stringent policies against corruption implemented by government.
Justice Minister Johnston Busingye described graft as “a cancer” at the launch of a police unit in July. The unit has been established to track down corruption cases.
Between January and June 2015, the police registered 252 cases of corruption, and 126 cases of embezzlement. Hundreds of government officials have been fired, and many others are facing prosecution.
“It is a silent disabler, a robber, impoverisher and ultimately a killer. It is a cancer that quietly, but later openly, steals away people’s lives,” said Busingye.
“Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion,” said José Ugaz, the Transparency International chair.
“While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation.”
The majority of Africans (58%) say that corruption has increased over the past year. This is particularly the case in South Africa where more than four-in-five citizens (83%) say they have seen corruption rise recently.
There is no government which is rated positively on its anti-corruption efforts by a clear majority of its citizens, said the report.
Out of 28 governments, 18 are seen as completely failing to address corruption. Tanzania’s new President John Magufuli has just announced a war against corruption, with immediate actions such as firing senior politicians, laying of many and cutting off channels of plunder.