8 January 2016

Ethiopia: More Synergy for Strong Democratic Institutions

editorial

The government of Ethiopia has taken a strategic direction in its development goals to ensure democratic governance in the country focused on strengthening and deepening good governance and democratic institutions to ensure the rights of citizens.

For this, the government has established various institutions with the mandates to implement its development, democratic and good governance programmes. The wide range of anti-poverty policies and strategies as well as development and good governance programmes are being implemented are glowing with success.

Ethiopia, as democratic country, has been striving to work for the realization of good governance from which the public benefit from all spheres. It has also been implementing good governance packages and civil service reform programmes across the nation aimed at installing transparency and accountability system where citizens could get the responses given to their service and administration inquires. To this effect, democratic institutions become mandatory to set up.

Cognizant of this fact, with active engagement of the public the government is trying to implement viable reforms to address causes of bad governance, and violation of human rights and corruption in all sectors. Indeed, democratic institutions could make a critical contribution towards promoting good governance and human rights protection.

Effective democratic institutions are the manifestations of the democratic government. As budding democracy Ethiopia is taking measures to deepening democracy and ensuring good governance. As part of this effort, the government has established and equipped various democratic institutions to nurture democratic values, protect violation of human and democratic rights, take corrective measures, and raise constitutional and legal awareness of the public.

Certainly, strengthening democratic institutions is vital to deepening democracy and ensuring good governance since they serve as a watch dog to the grievances of citizens which may be resulted from maladministration. Since all the interventions of these institutions to benefits the public from ongoing developments and democratizations as well as reduce the burdens of rent-seeking mentality and other menaces the executive should institute transparent and accountable mechanisms for doing business and forcing offices to strictly follow them.

The underlying principle for establishing watch dog institutions such as the Ethiopian Institution of Ombudsman, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the General Auditor, the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission among others is to monitor the effective implementation of constitutional responsibilities.

As the mandate given to foster the principles of transparency and accountability of government in the country Ethiopia, the institutions are responsible to bring about good governance that ensures citizens' rights and benefits provided by the law are respected by the organs of the executives.

When the institutions have not been serving well to their purpose, it negatively affects the aspiration to consolidate the democratic rule in the country. Of course, over the past years encouraging results were attained in setting up and strengthening various democratic institutions to promote and protect human rights in the country.

At a recent consultative meeting with pertinent actors and stakeholders with the democratic institutions, participants underlined the need for strengthening the institutions. The institutions have acknowledged participants complaints against them and took note well. Taking practical steps is more than needed to change their names with more augmented efforts in addressing public concerns and grievances thereby building trust among the public.

These institutions should exert utmost effort to receive and hear the grievances and complaints of the public and give corrective measures. Though the institutions are the leading entities, the ethics officers in the respective public offices should extend support for this cause.

With no reason, the democratic institutions need to be strong to fight corruption, rent-seeking and impropriety as their role and responsibility is indispensable in ensuring the rights of citizens fully as enshrined in the constitution.

Truly, the government especially the executive has to display its stern commitment to make them effective institutions as it has employed for their establishment. For instance, the executive should bold enough to take corrective measures for issues recommended by these institutions with urgency.

Above all, since the public primarily victim of lack of good governance and maladministration, citizens are expected to intensify the battlement against these problems by joining hands with all actors to deepening good governance and fighting maladministration.

Notably, problems of good governance are threatening the development and economic growth the nation is pursuing. The effort to extricate the nation from poverty would not be realized if there is indifference to fight corruption and good governance problems.

Strengthening democratic institutions would help realize nation's vision. The more we exert effort to consolidate democratic institutions the more we address the issues. Taking concrete steps to consolidate democratic institutions is much anticipated.

The implementation of the second GTP has already launched. The performance of democratic institutions in first GTP has been reviewed and best lessons have been formulated for the second GTP. To this effect, due emphasis is given in the plan to enhance good governance and democratic system building by deepen transparency and accountability.

Currently, following the commencement of the national Good Governance Public Mobilization government offices are deliberating on their plan to address problems of good governance and rent seeking practice in their respective offices. For the effective implementation of the mobilization democratic institutions have decisive role in addressing the major concerns of the public.

Since they have been receiving and hearing the complains and grievances of the public no other institution is relevant in reviewing the plans of government of offices regarding good governance interventions.

The institutions shoulder greater responsibility to undertake, however, the task of realizing good governance squarely requires efforts that go beyond the mandate of a single institution.

Obviously, the role of stakeholders in advancing democratization and addressing good governance problems is determinant. Thus, facilitating an interactive dialogue forum for the constructive engagement of the civil service and civic societies would help further strengthen the democratic institutions.

Therefore, the continuous support and cooperation as well as the participation of the public and all stakeholders at all levels need more synergy to consolidate democratic institutions in fostering sustainable development.

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