Addicted to corruption
What are the reasons for growing corruption in Tanzania? PhD student Modestus Lukonge has traced a shift in mentality as well as practice compared to 20 years ago. The establishment of the WTO and the introduction of neoliberal policies in Tanzania is one factor among many others.
He notes that after the neoliberal transformation of Tanzania, many laws have been adjusted to facilitate foreign investment, thereby giving not only international corporations, but also local businessmen and politicians the opportunity to make money from rent-seeking activities. These can be activities such as speculation in land or owning shares in local subsidiaries of international companies.
– These are not necessarily illegal, but in a society where the economic sphere is closely connected to the political, they are easily misused and difficult to control. Even if such activities are perfectly legal, increased rent-seeking in Tanzania marks a shift in people’s mentality with politicians and businessmen in the forefront, Modestus Lukonge argues.
He thinks that this shift in mentality and the market’s new central role in people’s lives help to explain the increased petty and grand corruption in Tanzania. Contrary to popular opinion, it is seldom that the lowest-paid officials are the worst offenders. On the contrary, corruption is widespread even among middle- or highly-paid civil servants. Thus, corruption is rather a matter of greed than need for people in this category.
– Once such “supplementary incomes” start coming in, the habit is hard to stop. It is like getting involved with drugs. In Tanzania today many have become addicted to the habit of corruption, states Modestus Lukonge.