By Alagie Manneh
An Afrobarometer survey released Wednesday has disclosed that a staggering 71 percent of Gambians do not believe President Adama Barrow is doing a “good job” in fighting corruption in The Gambia.
Afrobarometer said this represented a 39-percentage-point increase compared to 2018 (37 percent).
Among other key findings, it said six in ten Gambians (61 percent) 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 percent).
“Over the past three years, citizens’ perception of widespread corruption among public officials have increased significantly. A substantial number of Gambians also report having to pay bribes to obtain public services, and only half believe they can report corruption to the authorities without fear of retaliation,” the researchers noted.
The communications manager of the Centre for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies, Demba Kandeh, told The Standard more than 12,000 Gambians were interviewed in 150 numeration areas.
Addressing the grim findings on corruption, he stated: “The [revelations of the survey] are very, very concerning. There’s been a lot of reporting on issues of corruption in the country but no action has been taken. Issues like the fisheries scandal, FaBB foundation and others at ministerial level and police…”
He said in order to fight public graft in The Gambia, serious policies must first be developed and those found wanting punished to the full extent of the law. “It’s important that we pass the Anti-Corruption Commission Bill, and set up an anti-corruption commission. People involved in public corruption should be punished to the latter,” Mr Kandeh said.
Anti-corruption activist Marr Nyang said he was not surprised by the revelations of the survey.
“I’m not surprised with the figures at all, if there was less corruption, I would’ve been flabbergasted but am not because our leader [President Barrow] lives and sleeps with corruption,” he told The Standard.
Decentralised as ever before, the Barrow administration actually provides opportunity for corruption to get to the red line without accountability, Mr Nyang added.
“The fear for accountability tells us that the leadership is running away from responsibilities. Perhaps their hands are dirty too.”
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on Africans’ experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.