Government and the Rwandan society in general should take action in dealing with Gender Based Corruption before it takes its toll on the country’s workforce, the Chief Gender Monitor, Rose Rwabuhihi has said.
Rwabuhihi said this yesterday while addressing participants at the launch of Transparency International Rwanda’s findings on Gender Based Corruption (GBC) in public workplaces in the country.
She pointed out that for GBC to be understood and given the attention that it deserves, there was need to demystify it and create awareness because in the long-run, it has lasting negative consequences.
“This vice is like a pest. It’s never that obvious and by the time you see it, so much has been damaged. We need to fight corruption at all levels, without leaving any type behind. We may assume that we have gotten somewhere when there are some aspects that are blocking our country from progressing,” she said.
Rwabuhihi expressed her disappointment at how GBC was not given the seriousness that it deserves, pointing out that it was viewed by many as a joke.
“Gender Based Corruption is the kind of vice that is overlooked. When someone is arrested for any other corruption, you will get many reactions from people who are disappointed or even angered by the suspect. We are surprised and hurt that Gender Based Corruption is most times taken as a joke. What you call a joke is disrespectful and destructive to the country and to the victims,” she said.
She called on the participants to collectively take action and work together towards finding a lasting solution.
“What happens when it comes to implementation and monitoring? Showing us the issue is one thing but working out ways how we are going to fix it is also an important step. Let’s leave this room with a clear direction so that when we meet next, we have some significant progress to look at,” she said.
The Chairperson of Transparency International Rwanda, Marie Immaculée Ingabire, said that there was need for sensitisation but heavy punishments would also be adopted as deterrents.
“Whoever is found guilty of this crime should be punished heavily. Right now, it is not given the seriousness that it deserves. Even when someone has been investigated, the only action that is taken is transferring him to another office, which is basically the transfer of the crime to other places. We need serious sensitisation and demand that this is treated in the same way as other forms of corruption,” she said.
According to the findings, the highest per centage of GBC was in higher institutions of learning (universities), at 65.30 per cent, and local government, at 63.40 per cent.
In public hospitals, it stands at 52.80 per cent and judicial organs 50.90 per cent.
48.50 per cent of the respondents felt that GBC was mostly caused by sexual immorality, while 33.30 per cent thought that it was due to lack of a transparent staff promotion system.
Other reasons given were lack of transparence when it comes to sending employees to work related missions, at 30.40 per cent, lack of transparency in staff recruitment, at 25 per cent, ignorance by employees of their rights, at 18.10 per cent, among others.
The study also pointed out that those responsible for this form of corruption at workplaces in the public service are largely in positions of power. Over 50 per cent of GBC victims were abused by senior and top management position holders.
Most of the cases also continue to go unreported. Of the respondents that were interviewed, 52 per cent did not report the abuse for fear of reprisals.
28.9 per cent lacked sufficient evidence to back up their complaint, 21.60 per cent felt that reporting wouldn’t change anything, while 12.7 per cent felt it was an acceptable behaviour.
This is the second Gender Based Corruption survey in Rwanda, following the one that was conducted in 2010, when the results indicated that the scale of this vice was far from negligible.