How do people view the government reforms in Ethiopia?
By Molla Mitiku Ayenew
Tigrai Online, Ethiopian News, Nov. 17, 2016
It is quite clear that the government has begun its reform since the day President Dr. Mulatu Teshome has promise to the people. Despite various attempts laying basis to realize the reform, there are groups propagating as if EPRDF has been mishandling it. They attempted to justify their arguments saying the measures that have taken so far couldn’t do in line with public expectation.
There is still doubt among some interested groups, activists, opposition political parties and some people whether the reform could bring an ease to the society through realizing good governance holistically. They attempted to substantiate their arguments saying there are still networks and nepotism in some institutions, unfairly favoring individuals and victimizing others.
However, it is advisable to consider the constructive and affirmative actions that the government has taken so far and contributing ones-own role in strengthening and diversifying such efforts. I usually realize one miss-link in viewing situations in Ethiopia.
There are groups who usually considered the darkest sight while there brightest issues that could be considered side by side. What we are observing in connection to viewing the current reform has also similarly examined by some individuals and groups.
However, it is advisable and important to consider constructively and affirmatively the reform measures that have taken so far. Above all, it is wise to comprehend the fact that all the problems can’t be solved over night so that the problems might be still there as the reform itself has begun recently.
Following the government’s pronunciation of conducting a deep reform, the ruling party has been taking various measures step-by-step. Four of the member parties of the ruling party have been also conducting a series of separate meetings to look for a way how to mitigate the challenges.
As it was mentioned repeatedly the major problems are abusing power, expanded network, severe nepotism, lack of merit based appointment, failure of ensuring transparency and accountability; thereby, the widespread of anti-democratic and bad governance activities.
These problems are intertwined one to the other; in which one is the direct or indirect reflection of the others. In this regard, the government and the ruling party have been working industriously to mitigate these challenges.
For instance, one of the most important measures the Ethiopian government has taken so far could be the reshuffling of its cabinet on the 1st of November 2016 in a bid to meaningfully address the aforementioned challenges.
The recent appointment is so historical that broke the tendency of party loyalty assignments and appointments of top officials. In this regard, it mainly considered competence into account while restructuring the Ministries. As a result, the cabinet is not entirely filled by party loyalists. That is why many people hoped the new cabinet will discharge its responsibility in making hay the destabilizing efforts of some interested groups and restoring peace, democracy as well as good governance in the country.Abusing public power is one of the major challenges identified so far. Bringing the right persons to the right position could be one means of tackling the problem. That is why the government has appointed highly profiled scholars who could their people honestly.
The previous appointments were mainly based on political loyalty not based on qualification, experience and relevance to the responsibilities given to the official. The primary parameter was political stand; if an individual is believed to run the politics, s/he could assigned for a position regardless of qualification relevances to the responsibility bestowed on him/her while there are others who are well qualified for that position. Past experiences indicate that professionally unrelated politicians were assigned have been leading organizations blindly, which has become a trend at all levels.
This problem, I think, has now solved at the top Federal Level. The formation of the new cabinet mainly considered academic qualification, relevance experience and other factors related to the responsibility.
According to the new government structure the Minister of Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Public Service, Science and Technology as well as Water and Irrigation have filled with highest responsibility relevant portfolio.
This first move should be accepted and appreciated as it is an affirmative historical move. However, EPRDF shouldn’t stop there. Similar measures must be taken down at all regional levels and federal institutions.
It is evident that there are so many Ethiopians in various government institutions that have been performing their tasks by far better than EPRDF members in the same position. The efforts to understand merit based appointments should be strengthened.
The recent appointee is also expected to enhance good governance and respond public questions working in collaboration with the people and the civil servants in their respective sectors. Therefore, there should be a balanced view when we talk about the reform that the ruling party has been conducting.
We shouldn’t need to miss the most important link in viewing good governance in Ethiopia. It could be viewed from two perspectives. The first one is providing fast and good services and the other one is enhancing balanced development among all regions with a special focus to the developing ones.
The first one has already evaluated and remained being a serious challenge to EPRDF as public officials at all levels failed to ensure good governance; enhance transparency and accountability. All the reforms undertaking nowadays are to meaningfully avoid such problems.
However, there are some positive moves in development distributions to bring a balanced situation in all corners of the country, which have to be further strengthened. This incorporates infrastructure, social institutions and human development incorporating political, economic and social issues.
The expansion of health institutions, schools and the boosting of investment in the country has contributed to all nations, nationalities and peoples fairly. In this regard, there are lots of promising performances one can’t deny. The reform also aims to maintain the fast sustainable economic development of the country
Therefore, the already started reform is on its progress not only to bring good governance but also to maintain the stability and development of the country. The four EPRDF member parties are in continuous meetings to reform themselves so as to meaningfully diminish abusing power. If what has started at Federal level is implemented at Regional and Organizational levels, there will be hope for the country to improve its governance system and maintain its development status.
It is blind to give pessimistic judgments in contrary to what is really happening on the ground. Efforts to mitigate the problems and challenges the country faced. The serious evaluations are crucial steps to take follow up measures and completely change the failure to use public power properly and improve services delivery that could contribute to respond questions posed by the people step-by-step.
This could as the same time help not only to minimize the effect of some extremist groups that have aimed to destabilize the country and jeopardize its development but also the challenges within the parties and government structures mainly network and nepotism.
It is known that if there is a widespread of networks and nepotism in the country, citizens couldn’t get equal opportunities to services they deserve. They never feel easy at the governance system as there are groups who have become victims of the corrupt, networked system.
Citizens who have someone in the Network get easy access to all opportunities and those who have no one in the Network remain being victims of the system. Nepotism should be carefully viewed by the government and the parties as it is a serious challenge n ensuring equal opportunities to all citizens.
In summing up, the government has started the reform through reshuffling its structure based on merit, highly qualified relevance portfolio to the required responsibility. All EPRDF member and allied parties have also been conducting a series of meetings to find ways that could help to meaningfully alleviate the challenges the country has faced. Hence, we can conclude that the measures taken so far at Federal level is one of the significance indications for the intended forward move.
This commitment will be effectively carried out at all institutions at federal and regional levels if there is a strong participation of all citizens. The people, the scholars, opposition political parties and other concerned individuals and groups should allied with the government to bring the desired change in the country via the realization of the reform.
In fact, the people have viewed the reform affirmatively. They want to come together for the betterment of the overall situation of the country. Consolidating all efforts towards ensuring lasting peace, maintain sustainable development and ensuring good governance is so crucial that Ethiopians want to happen as a result of the reform. In this regard, all of us should comprehend that the success of the reform mainly depends on the participation and affirmative action of all Ethiopians at home and abroad in addition to the political commitment of the ruling party.