Tesfaye Lemma 07-13-16
Many Ethiopians believe that the government is committed enough to fight rent collection activities so as to enhance good governance in the country. However, this is a serious task where the rent seekers have been changing their tactics and strategies to maintain their position. As a result, this is not a duty left only to the government. It needs consolidated efforts of all stakeholders mainly the Ethiopian people.
The decision to root out all the rent seekers and avoid conspiring bureaucracy; thereby, ensuring good governance. The government has identified areas liable for corruption and rent seeking and one among these major areas is the justice system.
Although there are problems in the justice system that has existed for years so worth before the coming of EPRDF to power and yet unable to fully serve the public interest and failed to create satisfaction, the government has already identified it as one of the sectors where there is bad governance and has been taking various measures. Different measures have been taken to ensure good governance and minimize corrupt practices. One typical example could be the registration of property of government officials.
In this regard, the possibility of public officials to embezzle and accumulate public property could be minimal as everyone has already made vivid what and how much wealth s/he possessed.
It has also given a special attention to corruption prone areas. It has made various researches on this area that gave the government a good ground to root out such problems, which include procurement, revenue collection, financial administration, land management and many others.
One of the most fundamental aspects in fighting corruption is the fact that the public and the government are on the same boat. It is possible to suggest that the government has a strong desire to root out corruption and rent seeking activities as the same time ensure good governance to the entire people via enhancing accountability, transparency and public participation.
Public participation is also the core value to meaningfully ascertain good governance as its along with the government’s political commitment is the most important and determining factor that in realizing this agenda.
In the second Growth and Transformation Plan, the government has broadly addressed enhancing democracy, improving human rights situations, ensuring good governance and rooting out corruption and rent seeking activities. “National consensus has been created on the basic principles of the Constitutional order, on the implementation of the vision of anti-poverty struggle and realizing accelerated development, on ensuring sustainable peace, on the firm commitment of respecting diversity, on the initial results of the road to renaissance, on the changes of the image of the country, and results on education, health, and infrastructure.”
It is known that the first Growth and Transformation Plan was implemented for past five consecutive years and it has completed in 2015. Following to its completion, Ethiopia has embarked on implementing the second Growth and Transformation Plan in which democracy, human rights and good governance have widely incorporated.
The people and government of Ethiopia believe that the second GTP would move the country to a position where it can shoulder to ensure its vision of becoming a country where civil and democratic rights are respected, rule of law and good governance are ensured, citizens’ safety and security is guaranteed and the society is ethical and free from corruption.
Therefore, the reason why the country has given due attention to democracy and good governance is the fact that development won’t be ensured unless such practices are rooted out so that it would be easier for the government to fully mobilize the people.
If the people come together, organized and mobilized it will be possible for them to engage in maintaining the pace and degree of the sustainable economic development of the country.
This is because of the fact that they could enjoy the gains without any differences according to their contributions and efforts. Being beneficiary from the developments of their country could enhance and strengthen their participation and ownership. In collaboration with the government, the people of Ethiopia could strengthen their efforts towards the realization of the renaissance of the country.
Like the first Growth and Transformation Plan, the second one incorporates the ideals of democracy which is treated in the context of good governance and rooting out corruption and rent seeking practices. It is planned to fiercely combat corruption and rent-seeking through enhanced capacity of the civil service and citizen engagement at all levels party and government structures.
The government has made efforts to weaken rent-seeking and realize the developmental of sustainable economy to achieve its development and good governance goals. These efforts have also increased the capacity building of the government political leadership, civil service, and justice sector through short and medium term trainings, and new recruits.
The efforts exerted in those years to make the operation of the government transparent and accountable were also significant. Despite such efforts, problems of rent seeking are rife in urban areas that the government has determined to strive against these problems and ensure the supremacy of developmental political economy in the urban areas as well.
It is overtly reported by the government that serious challenges have been observed in delivering government services in an open, accountable and fair manner, particularly on land administration and in the justice system. The rent-seeking political economy were rampant on customs and tax administration, land administration, government budget and procurement administration and other related areas.
On the other hand, the Parliamentarian system in the country has played a significant role in realizing the equality of nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. Besides, institutions have established in the country that could strengthen the democracy.
Ombudsman and Human Rights Commission are two of the institution that has been running in the country. These institutions have also significant roles in ensuring human rights and enhance democracy in the country.
It is also possible to consider associations in the country that have founded for various themes but at the pith of all these associations guarantying the rights of their members.
Participations of different sections of the society, mass and professional associations such as women and youth organizations, academics, and the private sector are encouraging steps that the promote democracy in the country.
It is undeniable that the creation of national consensus, the emergence of mass and professional associations, the existence of more than 60 legally registered opposition parties, building the capacity and accessibility of the media and other related issues and legal frameworks so fruitful.
One of the major focus areas of the second Growth and Transformation Plan is ensuring good governance and strengthening democracy. It also mentioned above that in the urban areas, rent-seeking political economy is still dominant so this has to be changed in the coming five years time.
Some of the strategies that will be taken so as to ensure these agenda include capacity building, raising public participation and strengthening the activities of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
It is possible to implement everything and achieve any goal as to the people are engaged willingly. That is why the government of Ethiopia has been working industriously to realize the participation of the people.
It has been attempting to realize the public ownership of the struggle against corruption and rent seeking. The government planned to encourage the people to stand against corruption and rent-seeking. These two are identified as the major obstacles of the country’s vision to be one of the middle income countries in 2025
Making the civil service to be a reflection of the diversity in the country by representing all sections of the society particularly the youth and women is given a priority. Implementing citizens’ charter to ensure transparent and accountable government operation and ensuring public satisfaction and credibility is another priority area.
It is believed that building sustainable democratic system is only possible when putting the public at the center because curbing the attitude of the public towards rent-seeking, backward and anti-development could highly facilitate the struggle against rent seeking political economy.
To systematically enforce human and democratic rights and particularly strengthen the justice sector, National Human Rights Action Plan Office is established five years ago. The major tasks of the office includes ensuring the respect of human rights through implementing and monitoring the national human rights action plan and enhancing legal literacy through
The Ethiopian Government has designed various strategies so as to implement these burning issues: ensuring good governance and ensuring the dominance of developmental political economy to the rent seeking political economy particularly in the urban areas.
Some of these strategies include maintaining the independence of the judiciary, ensuring public participation, raising the transparency and accountability of government as well as strengthening democratic institutions and other mechanisms.
The National Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman are institutions that need to be strengthened in materials, manpower and skills. So far these institutions have done a lot of thing to improve good governance. Now as the ruling party and the government have decided to root out rent seeking and corruption, these institutions could strengthen their efforts to meet their very objectives.
The government has set various organs at all levels to facilitate its struggle against rent seekers and corruption. Some documents indicate that over three hundred government organs have identified to report on their activities and follow ups were also n the ground that help to make check and balance.
In fact, in accessing social services to the people, Ethiopia has done a lot of things. The right of children to get access to education has already guaranteed. The people have been also getting benefits from the development of health services and infrastructure. Many political and economic analysts argue that that when we talk about rights we basically talk about their fundamental rights to live peacefully, work without any stress, getting basic health services and education as well as infrastructure and other institutions in their areas.
In this case, when we say the rights of the people we mean their equal share from development of the country. The consecutive economic growth, expansion of infrastructure, improved access to education and health and pro poor policies are given the highest national priority by the Ethiopian government.
The great visionary leader Meles Zenawi once argued, “Liberal civil and political rights have no meaning in a context of abject poverty or political chaos. Thus, development and a strong state were prerequisites for human rights, and Ethiopia needed to establish these first”.
That is why the Ethiopian Constitution recognizes democracy, human rights and individual liberties in line with socio-economic rights. It is impossible to consider development, rights and democracy separately as they are intertwined to one another. However, the festering question is the second aspect of good governance. There is a serious problem in service delivery and enhancing transparent and accountable systems. The Ethiopian Civil service has to reform itself meaningfully to serve the Ethiopian people heartily and properly.