1 December 2018

Ethiopia: Need for Capable Institutions Emphasized to Prevent Corruption, Rights Abuse

Addis Ababa — Establishing capable institutions that fight against corruption and human rights abuses is a lasting solution to prevent the recurrence of the problems witnessed in the country, scholars said.

Lecturer at the Center for African and Oriental Studies at Addis Ababa University, Mohammed Hassen told ENA that alongside providing space for rule of law there is crucial need for strong institutions to ensure the rights of people and virtue.

As ensuring rule of law in a country impacts on making policies flourish or perish and everyone should be accountable for the actions they take while in power, he added.

Mohammed noted that "rule of law has a significant impact on making policies of the country succeed or not."

"There is a need to establish a political system which centers the people; and now we are heading towards this democratic rule," he stated, adding that the new road will guarantee the prevention of such corrupt practices."

It is to be recalled that officials of the Metals and Engineering Corporation were charged with allegedly making about 37 billion birr irregular procurement.

Many suspects have also been detained for committing human rights during the past two decades.

Mohammed underlined that in order to have a democratically elected and legitimate government the public have "a responsibility to stand with the government and support the reform."

Economics Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University, Berhanu Denu said on his part the impact of corruption is devastating as it distorts service delivery system and prevents the government from generating income.

Besides, corruption leads to underground economy and contraband trade which weaken the capacity of tax payers.

Corruption affects the economy in the short term and causes illicit transaction of goods and services as well as bankruptcy of the formal economy in the long run, Berhanu said.

The scholar underscored the need for a strong anti- corruption law and strong monitoring authority.

He blamed weak political commitment and lack of transparency as well as incapacity in government institutions for corrupt individuals to flourish.

He said: "We had institutions that were not functional. Furthermore, fighting corruption is not only left to a single country but also to the countries we exchange trade with."

Berhanu added that the integration between countries to fight corruption in the country is the most important mechanism to relocate its wealth.

A report by Global Financial Integrity states that Ethiopia has lost 11.7 billion USD to illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2009.

School of Law Head at Addis Ababa University, Yonas Birmeta said revising and providing proper legal and policy frameworks is mandatory to resolve human rights violation and corruption challenges.

He pointed out that having law and policy is not enough by itself. Implementing respect for human rights in parallel is necessary. Strengthening the social system and shaping attitudes towards corruption are among the activities to be done among the public, according to the scholar.

Yonas emphasized on the need to shape responsible citizens and efficient institutions that have strong commitment to fight the challenges through working in collaboration with the government and other stakeholders.

According to him, compensating victims of human rights can be a considerable move by the government.

He noted that "stakeholders need to develop the ability to work in collaboration to realize human rights in addition to paying compensation to victims of human rights and people affected by corruption."

He insisted that "we need to take lesson from this mess and take precaution to prevent such kinds of violations from recurring."

According to Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, Ethiopia is ranked 107 out of the 180 countries perceived levels of public sector corruption.

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