Decentralization of Power and Local Autonomy in Ethiopian Federal System: A Look at Two Decades Experiment
The main purpose of this study is to undertake an academic assessment on the practice of prevailing decentralization in ensuring good governance at local government in Ethiopia. Although politics is the driving force behind devolution in most countries, fortunately, decentralization may be one of those instances where good politics and economics may serve the same end. In Ethiopia, soon after the end of the cold war, a revolution group called Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) controlled state power in 1991. Despite different commitment to achieve local autonomy and good governance, the country’s governance suffers from a number of limitations in the last two decades. In this respect, the research question revolves around to what extent the existing devolution of power and resources ensuring good governance and democratization process. The research method employed to this study is qualitative method and a descriptive case study research design. The time of 1980s was a “turning point”, particularly in the developing countries that decentralization and good governance became an agenda through policy and academic arena. In Ethiopia, as a policy making, to link decentralization with (good) governance is a very recent phenomenon. Subsequently, since 2001/2, the second wave of decentralization that is DLDP has been implementing. The finding of the study shows a mixed outcome. In one hand, since decentralized power and resource, different institutions, and associations are established. While a decentralized system of governance has formally been introduced in Ethiopia, this paper argues that local authorities still remain instruments of political control by the central government. This and other related factors contributed to lack of local autonomy and good governance that generate a wide public protest for the past many years. In so doing it highlights the factors that continue the trend of central control of local government despite extensive formal decentralization and institutional arrangement. Practically the process of ensuring good governance under a decentralized political system in the study Woreda is far from desirable that is undermined by lack of financial and human resources, existence of one dominant ruling political party, low implementation capacity and lack of adequate autonomy. Therefore, unless measures are taken the challenge of good governance would continue being the worst which will facilitate the existing public protest further.
Kena Deme Jebessa,
Decentralization of Power and Local Autonomy in Ethiopian Federal System: A Look at Two Decades Experiment, Urban and Regional Planning.
Vol. 1, No. 3,
2016, pp. 45-58.
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