Pan African research network, Afrobarometer, has been in the news over the past week for its findings on people’s perceptions on a number of social issues topped by corruption.
Despite efforts to give a clear and honest picture of what is happening on the ground to fight the vice, Afrobarometer assisted by the country’s media have deliberately swept some crucial truths to blind spots.
Afrobarometer is trying to paint a picture that there is more corruption under the Tonse regime than during previous governments. This is a wrong assertion.
It could be that the questions used to gather information were poorly framed hence creating discrepancies in the narrative of corruption in the country.
For instance, the respondents applauded President Lazarus Chakwera for immediate dismissal of cabinet ministers and government officials that have been entangled in corruption investigations and cases. In numerical context, almost 83 percent of respondents agreed with the dismissals.
Remember, the survey came only a week after the President has reconfigured his cabinet to let go former Minister of Lands, Kezzie Msukwa, for his alleged involvement in the Ashok Nair case.
Social and political scientists are of the view that these perceptions, as presented by Afrobarometer, are simply a product of an open society in which citizens discuss issues freely and report corruption to relevant authorities effortlessly.
The fact that Malawians are now talking about corruption is proof enough that democracy is being entrenched at a faster rate than before due to the political environment set by the Chakwera administration.
To put icing on the cake, Anti Corruption Bureau director Martha Chizuma was last December awarded as an anti-corruption champion at a global gathering known as Summit for Democracy. Such accolades can only be presented to nations where the fight against corruption is being won not lost.
Malawi has also made notable strides on global corruption perceptions index (CPI) ranks.
The 2021 Corruption Perceptions Report by Transparency International TI) shows there has been significant improvement on Malawi’s score. The country has scored 35 out of 100points and its ranked 110 out of 180 countries and territories assessed.
The report also indicated that the improvement on the rank is because of changing perceptions of government’s resolve to fight corruption. This clearly shows that Malawi has done well in this field.
It is therefore surprising that just a week after the release of TI report Afrobarometer went into communities for their own survey that produced a different outcome altogether.
It is here that one notices serious discrepancies between the two reports. The questions by Afrobarometer were definitely not framed to solicit the right information. No wonder it came up with contradicting results with what other experts have found out.
On the CPI rank Malawi has bettered countries like Algeria, Egypt, Zambia, Eswatini, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zimbabwe.
This is the first time in six years that Malawi has performed well on the index. Between 2015 and 2020 when Democratic Progressive Party was in power the country scored an average of 30 percent.
The 35 percent under Tonse administration indicates that the new administration has adopted a workable approach in fighting corruption.
For the first time government is providing the bureau with enough resources for its operations. Chizuma is on record to have said that the Tonse regime is supporting ACB better than previous governments.
For corruption to end, we must focus on telling the truth about our condition followed by right interventions. Afrobarometer has not helped Malawi with this set of information which defeats the truth and paints a picture that is not legitimate.
It is therefore not surprising that during the presentation of the survey results in Lilongwe, renowned political scientist Dr. Henry Chingaipe advised Afrobarometer and Centre for Social Research to consider providing more information on the criteria used to gather data.