Corruption in the public service: The case of the Regional Delegation of Basic Education, south west Buea
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Background to the Study
The machinery for implementing government policies is the civil service. The effectiveness of public service performance is determined by the socio-political environment under which it operates. As an important instrument for the execution of policies and programmes of government, the public service is expected to be competent, and effective devoid of corruption practices. In Cameroon, the economic and political landscape is surrounded by corruption. According to National Planning Commission (2005) “systemic corruption and low levels of transparency and accountability have been major sources of development failures. To perform its functions effectively, public service needs to be divested from all sorts of corrupt acts.
Effective public service performance is a pre-requisite for sustainable development. This notion is anchored on the fact that government’s ability to deliver on her promises for better living is based on the efficiency of its public service performance. Therefore, the inability of the Cameroon public service to perform optimally had over the years constituted a challenge, yet to be resolved. It is a known fact, and Cameroon’s experience exampled to this, that corruption is pronounced in the public service, its efficiency as well as ability to affect policy directed toward sustainable development goals like reduction of poverty, remains very low. The behaviour of public officials which deviates from accepted norms in order to serve private ends is corruption. It is a general term covering misuse of authority as a result of considerations of personal gain, embezzlement, stealing or misappropriation of public funds. Corruption has become highly rampant and permeates every sphere of state and society. Corruption in political and administrative arena hinders equality, efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness, accountability and justice and so on.
Corruptions in Cameroon exist at an alarming proportion. In government via public service, it thrives in the areas of project costing; ghost workers syndrome, contract awards and subsequent abandonment, payment of huge sums of money to political godfathers; embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds among others. The impact of corruption on the Cameroonian society includes abysmal public service performance, inadequate infrastructure, bad governance, pervasive dehumanizing poverty and general underdevelopment. This accounts for the inefficient and unimpressive governance in Cameroon.
Corruption remains endemic as well as extremely prevalent in the public service which affects its effectiveness and performance. There are instances where corruption within the public service has manifested over the years: the haphazard or ineffective implementation of the state budget. For example, the formal minister of Defence, who was arrested and jailed for an alleged embezzlement of over billions of Francs CFA, and a host of other ministers and top government officials. The persistent challenge in the Cameroonian civil service has greatly affected the human resource service in the country, given that those who merit appointments and integration into the public serve, are not always given the opportunities, but those who are able to bribe and find their way up the ladder, are given the positions which they don’t deserve and as such, incompetency, ineffectiveness, and laziness becomes the order of the day within the public service, given that those who bribe to have those positions, will be working to fill their pockets and not for the interest of the populist. It is on the background of this that study aims to investigate impact of corruption in the civil service in Cameroon by using the South west Regional Delegation of Basic Education as a case study.
- Statement of the Problem
Corruption has become a major problem in government. Corruption emanates from the top level and so, the higher echelons of government are infested with the disease of corruption. Politics has been converted into pursuit of personal ends. The public office has become an opportunity to “strike gold and enjoy loaves and fishes of office”. The sharp decline in the standard of conduct of public service and the circumstances of governance, administration and management has lost their relevance. For example, the non-implementation of government policies, financial fraud and crises of confidence within the ministries and its agencies. These problems are no doubt caused by corruption. Worse is the fact that despite the rapid growth in the size and power of the public service, there has not been an accompanied noticeable improvement in performance to the public or increased labour productivity in the public sector. The pertinent question at this juncture is: IS CORRUPTION A CURSE OR A BLESSING TO THE CAMEROONIAN CIVIL SERVICE OR WHAT IMPACT DOES CORRUPTION HAS ON THE CIVIL SERVICE OF CAMEROON.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
- How does corruption affect the performance of civil servants in the Regional Delegation of Basic Education Buea?
- What are the causes of corruption among civil servants in the Regional Delegation of Basic Education Buea?
- What are the feelings of civil servants regarding the phenomena of corruption at the Regional Delegation of Basic Education, Buea?
- How could the anti-corruption drive the strength to reduce or eliminate corrupt practices in the state civil service?
1.4 Research Objectives
The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate impact of corruption in the civil service in Cameroon by using the South west Regional Delegation of Basic Education, as a case study. The specific objectives are:
- To identify how corruption affects the performance of civil servants at the South west Regional Delegation of Basic Education.
- To examine the causes of corruption among civil servants at the South west Regional Delegation of Basic Education.
- To determine the feelings of civil servants regarding the phenomena of corruption at the South west regional delegation of basic education.
- To understand how the anti-corruption drive the strength to reduce or eliminate corrupt practices in the state civil service.