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More people lose trust in public institutions

BY: Zainabu Issah
Dr Cynthia Addoquaye Tagoe (2nd right), Research Fellow, ISSER, Legon, making a statement.

More than half of respondents of the latest Afrobarometer survey, representing 56 per cent, have expressed more trust in the military ahead of any other public institution in the country.

They also perceive that some, most or all government officials, law enforcement agencies, the Judicial Service, informal sector leaders, such as business executives, traditional and religious leaders, are corrupt.

A report on the survey was presented by the Afrobarometer Project Manager for Anglophone West Africa, Mr Daniel Armah-Attoh, at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)-Ghana in Accra yesterday.

The report, launched on the theme, “Trust and Corruption in Public Institutions: Ghanaian Opinion”, is the sixth survey conducted by Afrobarometer, an African-led non-partisan research network, in collaboration with CDD-Ghana.

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During the survey, 2,400 adults were interviewed from May 24 to June 10, 2014. However, the demography of the respondents was not included in the report.

Mr  Armah-Attoh said 75 per cent of respondents believed that corruption had increased this year, compared to the previous year, while 71 per cent thought that the government had performed very badly or fairly badly in tackling corruption.

However, he said, more than half of  the respondents, representing 53 per cent, believed that the ordinary citizen could make a difference in fighting corruption.

Public trust

According to the report, 45 per cent of the respondents have trust in the opposition parties while 36 per cent trusted the ruling party.

Also, he said, 50 per cent has little or no trust in the opposition parties while 61 per cent had little or no trust in the ruling party.

Corruption

He said while a quarter of respondents believed that the best way to combat corruption was to report it when it occurred, 23 per cent said the refusal to pay bribes was the most effective thing to do. 

That aside, he said, 20 per cent were of the view that there was nothing that the ordinary citizen could do to combat corruption.

 Mr Armah-Attoh said despite the belief that reporting corruption was one way of fighting the canker, a quarter of  respondents said the most common reason Ghanaians did not report corruption was that they were afraid of the consequences.

Reactions to report

Reacting to the report, some Members of Parliament (MP) described the situation as dangerous and worrying, saying it needed an immediate solution.

 According to them, the pronouncement by Ghanaians that they trusted the military more than other public institutions showed that the over two decades of Ghana’s democracy and the fight for constitutional rule were yet to make any impact.

In-depth investigations

In his remarks, the MP for Asene-Akroso-Manso, Mr Yaw Owusu Boateng, called for an in-depth research to determine the reasons for the level of trust of Ghanaians and work towards reversing the trend.

“In the 1980s university students had to fight the military regime and even lost one academic year before civilian rule could be restored in 1992,” he said 

‘Report is dangerous’

The Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Alfred Agbesi, said the latest report was a dangerous development which needed immediate attention to change the thoughts of Ghanaians.

“It is not just enough for you to undertake research and say that institutions are corrupt; it is also incumbent upon you to go further and find a solution from the people who are making the accusation,”he said.