Guardians of Accountability: Citizen knowledge and opinions regarding oversight bodies

Seven out of ten citizens (69%) see the type of corruption uncovered in the Controller and Auditor General’s (CAG) annual report as a loss of their (the people’s) money. More than half of citizens (55%) further believe that this type of corruption matters ‘very much’ to their daily lives and three out of ten (31%) would like to be informed about audit findings in a weekly half-hour radio program.

Citizens also believe that the President should take action on the findings of the CAG report: almost six out of ten (57%) believe that the President is responsible for following up on audit issues. Other institutions that are mentioned as responsible include the cabinet (16%) and the courts (11%). Apart from the President, no institution or individual is named by more than 20% of citizens as being responsible for addressing audit issues.

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled Guardians of accountability: Citizen knowledge and opinions regarding oversight bodies. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,474 respondents across Mainland Tanzania (Zanzibar is not covered in these results) in September and October 2014.

Despite clear statements on the wrongs of corruption and the need for the President to take action, citizens are more ambivalent when it comes to consequences for misuse of public funds. Only one out of twenty (6%) think that those found to be corrupt should be banned from public office and one out of six (15%) think they should be imprisoned. The most popular penalties were to be fired and lose pension and benefits (32% of citizens thought this was the right sanction) or repaying the money that was misappropriated (30%).

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