A new research conducted by independent governance group Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has revealed a disturbing trend of increasing perception of corruption in government from 2008 to 2012.
In the latest series of its periodic survey called the Afro-barometer, the CDD concluded that corruption in the Presidency, the Executive and the Legislature were on an alarming rate of increase.
The Afro-barometer, which specifically surveyed accountability and corruption in the public sector, was unveiled at the conference hall of the CDD yesterday.
In the report, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is the worst hit in this image denting impression, as almost all respondents interviewed by CDDâ€™s researchers across the country said corruption increased significantly between 2008 andÂ 2012.
Edward Ampratwum, a senior researcher at CDD, explained that 70 out of every 100 respondents interviewed said corruption in the Presidency in 2008 had become a major problem and by 2012, the Presidencyâ€™s image had become almost irreparable, as 87 out of respondents contended that there was a high incidence of corruption in the high office.
According to the senior researcher, the CDD interviewed over 2400 respondents across all the 10 regions of the country where it did a comparative series of public opinion surveys that measured public attitudes toward democracy, governance, the economy, leadership, identity and other related issues.
Indeed, in the findings, the impression of corruption at the Presidency during the reign of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) pales significantly in comparison to the NDC government. In 2002, 47 percent of the general public thought there was corruption in the Presidency; the figure inched up to 56 percent in 2005. From 2008, the damning numbers did a double take.
Proportionally, government officials and district assembly representatives during this timeline were also said to be havens of corruption as it increased almost exponentially over the period. In 2002, an average of 63 out of every 100 people interviewed by the Afro-barometer team thought these government executives were corrupt and by 2008, the number increased significantly to 74 out of every 100 respondent. By 2012, the figure had increased to 88 percent.
Mr. Ampratwum explained that the research encompassed a wide cross-section of the active segment of the Ghanaian public within the age bracket of 18 years to 60 years and above.
Instructively, about 79 percent of respondents have received some level of education, while only 21 percent did not possess any form of formal education.
Approximately 10 percent of the respondents include highly discerning individuals who have diverse university degrees, while about 32 had completed secondary education. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents are primary school leavers.
This damning verdict on the integrity of government officials in both the Presidency and the Executive arm is coming at a time several anti-corruption initiatives have been carved by both the NPP and the NDC governments. Key among these initiatives is the Public Procurement Law which sets out strict procedures for awarding contracts for government procurement.
The Procurement Law, which was enacted in 2003, was designed to significantly cut down the massive leakages of public funds into undeserving accounts.
â€śThe findings are indeed interesting. There is a certain overt attempt to suggest that things have been put in place to check corruption,â€ť noted Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, who thinks that these glowing anti-corruption initiatives may have failed to serve the purposes that they were designed for. Prof. Gadzekpo is a communications expert and member of the CDD board.
The CDDâ€™s research is a subset of similar ones conducted simultaneously in 35 other African countries by other independent governance organizations across the continent. The findings were collated in May 2012.
The Afro-barometer research is funded by several international donor agencies such as the United States Aid Agency (USAID), the British development agency (DFID), the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
The first round of the Afro-barometer was conducted in 1999 to give the public a voice in policymaking processes by providing high-quality public opinion data to policymakers.
Â By Raphael Adeniran