Wasta: Are Jordanians for or against it?


Published: 2018-03-04 12:56

Last Updated: 2018-03-04 14:26

Those with Wasta tend to have life go easier for them than those without one. (Al Rai)
Those with Wasta tend to have life go easier for them than those without one. (Al Rai)
Roya News Source

If you’re familiar with Jordanian culture, then you will have heard of the term “Wasta.”

Wasta is loosely translated into a "middleman" or "nepotism" - the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs (OxfordDictionaries.com).

While many Jordanians use Wasta to get off paying a traffic fine, get a job, complete official paperwork more quickly, and a long list of other things, others refuse to “skip the queue” and use a middleman to their advantage.

This leaves a third type of people who don’t have a Wasta in the first place. However, this is not to say that everyone with a Wasta actually uses it.

In fact, according to the findings of a recent study titled “The Degree of Satisfaction and Public Perception Regarding the Justice Sector in Jordan,” 80% of Jordanians said they were anti-Wasta and considered it as a “serious problem,” reported Al Rai newspaper.

The study’s respondents noted that Wasta poses a “serious threat on society,” adding that “this problem must be addressed with transparency and by holding middlemen and those who use them responsible for their actions.”

Within the study, the respondents were asked about courts and the general performance of the legal system, as well as enquiring about the extent of their knowledge about the recent justice development initiatives.

The number of respondents who were content with the court and justice system was higher than expected. Meanwhile, a larger number of people were satisfied with religious courts than any other type of court.

Surprisingly, just 24% of respondents said they would resort to court when faced with a problem, while the other 76% said that they did not find it necessary to go to court for whatever problem they have.

The study also showed that it is more likely for women to seek legal help than it is for men.

The study was carried out by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development, in cooperation with Dora Al Manal Development and Training and with funding from the EU.