Parties views on “True image of good governance”

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Addis Ababa, 12 January 2014 (WIC) - It is an accepted fact that in a modern democracy, good governance is one of the key elements vital for ensuring sustainable development. When we see Ethiopia's case we notice that good governance is at its infancy. Still today many people have reservations on service delivery and grudges on malpractices. That is why, these things have become burning issues nowadays.

The persistent disruption in power and water supply and sluggish cellphone connections are some of the manifestations of poor service delivery which is one of the foremost yardsticks for checking good governance.

The diametrically opposite outlooks being entertained by different politicians is what prompted this reporter to approach two senior politicians. Though the government claims good governance is making a turn for the better, still some argue that it has gone from bad to worse.

In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Mushe Semu who is member of the Ethiopian Democratic Party said that although achieving good governance proves a tough task to any government, in many ways, its indispensability for the public is out of question. Good governance has an overriding importance in ensuring peace, stability and even in facilitating the day- to- day activities of the public. For good governance to strike root and flourish, institutions should be strengthened and stakeholders need actively participate in discharging their tasks.

He further said that good governance for a country like Ethiopia,where institutions working in the administrative wings, among others, are poorly organized, the system is vestigial, hence it seems unthinkable to achieve it.

“Good governance cannot materialize out of the blue. Taking facts on the ground in Ethiopia, good governance seems undermined and less developed due to the absence of strong institutions, limited awareness of the public and the passive role of the government,” Mushe added.

He also said that justice, fairness and basic service provisions are the major indicators of good governance. When analyzing good governance from such perspectives, in Ethiopia it is yet ways behind and undeveloped. Given this fact it is premature to talk about Ethiopia's success in achieving good governance. Furthermore, the most destructive political practice of the government that has been witnessed is that its structure impedes good governance.

According to Mushe ,citizens that seek public service still languish under bureaucratic red tape. Injustice is not inconspicuous in the country. Hence, without the full unfolding of justice and fairness and in the absence of prompt public services, it is impossible to say good governance is improving.

Of course the government has made attempts to ensure good governance through the introduction and implementation of Kiezen, VPR and BSS management tools, but the changes witnessed are not to the extent the public needs. People still spend much of their time seeking justice and public services. Many irregularities exist in the justice system. Judges avert verdicts for personal sake.

Mushe further indicated that the provision of basic services is directly related with the administrative system. In this respect, the public gets fed up with the protracted procedures it has to pass through in order to engage in some business.

Unless good governance is ensured,the gov't lacks the ticket to talk about development. ''I don't think the gov't is doing enough to ensure good governance in a visible way,” Mushe said.

Ethiopian People's Revolution Democratic Front (EPRDF) Public and Foreign Relations Sector Head, Desta Tesfaw on the contrary argued that good governance, democracy and development are inseparable. One cannot be achieved without the others missing and none of them could be achieved over night.

Setting directions, the ruling party is seeing to the development of good governance. In fact, good governance is being improved through time,though much is needed to be done. The issue of good governance is stipulated in the constitution and in various policy directions. And it is being implemented currently. The country emerging out of poverty is embarking on the sunlit path of development. Witnessing many development activities, including the expansion of infrastructural facilities, does no longer comes as surprise in current day Ethiopia. Citizens are enjoying the amenities of a civilized life. For this reason, the public's request for good governance and basic service delivery is increasing significantly.

Responding to the question posed that 'Hasn't the party's system of appointing officials become a setback for ensuring good governance?' Desta stated that EPRDF appoints officials who have political commitment and the ability to execute government policies and strategies. Most of governmental posts are held by House of Peoples' Representatives elected by the pubic in national elections. We believe political appointments encompass or presuppose both political and educational qualifications. Appointees are evaluated in accordance with their executive competence.

Desta also underlined that having political commitment and fluency alone can not be a guarantee for the deliver of best services. It is equally true that academic competence solely is not enough to effectively implement gov't polices and strategies. That is why besides rendering its members conversant in politics, the ruling party provides scholarships to its memberships to enhance their academic competence. EPRDF believes that both political commitment and educational skill have to enjoy equal attention.

According to Desta, Ethiopia now is confronted with the task of spurring development and promoting democracy while fighting rent-seeking practices. There is a bitter struggle ahead in cleaning rent -seeking mentality, he said and added that most of public grievances are related with the basic service provisions .Due to the massive development activities afoot in the country, limitations, at times, surfaces in basic service delivery. Slowly but surely these inconveniences would be tackled.

He also indicated that only handful parties have already been working with the government to help the country improve good governance. Desta finally called up on opposition parties, gov't officials and public to work together to achieve good governance for a common goal. (EH)