Raising the public awareness on the social and economic impact of wasta, bribery and corruption patterns is a major component in efforts to fight corruption in the coming four years, officials said. Publicising the National Anti-Corruption Strategy for the years 2008-2012 on Wednesday, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) staged a focus-group discussion of the plan, where experts also agreed that the media can play a vital role in fighting the phenomenon. The strategy highlights means to fight corruption practices and increase the efficiency of relevant anti- corruption authorities. [source]
I think most Jordanians are already aware of corruption, whether in the form of bribery or wasta. The reason many engage in such activities is because the mechanisms that allow them to get a fair shake in life are absent. They cannot guarantee getting a job based on merit or guarantee that the law will be just and fair, rather then bended at the will of bigger players. Hence wasta, hence bribery.
Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner, Abed Shakhanbeh, stated in this same article that “the strategy [to raise awareness] is designed to enhance peopleâ€™s confidence in public institutions”.
The reasons corruption is prevalent on this citizenry-level is because there is no confidence in public institutions and their ability to be effective public-serving mechanisms. I agree, that in the context of time, these mechanisms have improved, but, nevertheless, people’s confidence remains low because these mechanisms are no where near the required efficiency level. Hence wasta, hence bribery.
But let me say this:
Collecting all these forms of corruption on the citizenry-level in to one giant ball, should be labeled as petty corruption. In truth, the bigger, more apparent, and more dangerous form of corruption is that which exists on the level of politicians and businessmen. As is the international experience.
So what I’m trying to say is maybe, in the context of corruption in Jordan, maybe, just maybe, the people raising the awareness should be raising it closer to home.
And if there is ever any hope in combating corruption on that level, then the instruments required are quite simple: a strong, consistent and implemented legal system, as well as an independent monitoring and regulatory body, and a free media.
None of those things do exist currently: at least no where near the required efficiency level we need them to be at.