The nexus between democracy good governance and development is significantly affected by political transformations that take place in Ethiopia. There is a general consensus in the nexus among these concepts. They are intertwined in a way if one of them is affected the others will be endangered.
In the last twenty seven years power was handled by delusionist extremists in Ethiopia. It was a government of thugs. They were highly corrupted. And they gave little attention for public interest.
TPLF was a collection of ignoramus compatriot people that have an anti Amhara sentiment. The Amharas have received the most ruthless treatment from them. Reports are claiming that the worst form of inhumanity and cruelty were committed against this nationality by the thugs in TPLF.
They were anti-majorities. They used to disdain the Amharas and the Oromos. As a result these two nationalities received grave injustices. They were treated as second class citizens.
Governance was at its highest level of deterioration as power was handled by incompetent TPLF cadres. They fought with the Derg for a meaningless aim for solid seventeen years and they held power for twenty seven years. As a result the progress of this poor nation was retarded for a summation of forty three years.
In the perspective of Almond (2004:27), “democracy is a political system in which citizens enjoy a number of basic civil and political rights, and in which their most important leaders are elected in free and fair elections and accountable under the rule of law”.
Democracy is not only the liberty of the people to choose who should be placed in office. But it is a means that increases the responsiveness of a government to the voices of the people. In the long run democracy has an inherent potential to provide good governance.
Governance is the totality of the process of constituting a government as well as administering political community. Governance is also seen as a process of social engagement between the rulers and the ruled.
Therefore, good governance implies the efficient management of state institutions and resources in accordance with the rule of law to promote the general welfare of the citizens. Good governance embraces such requirements like efficiently, curbing corruption, which inhibits development and investment, guarantee of civil and human rights and accountability to the people (Johnson, 1991). It also includes an appropriate political leadership and environment that furnish a predictable and transparent framework of rules, institutions and behavior for the management of public affairs.
Therefore, democratic governance seeks in common with good governance, efficient institutions and predictable economic and political environment that make economic growth possible and public services effective (UNDP, 2006). It is the sustainability of the means and ends of good governance that nurtures development in human society.
In the estimation of the World Bank, development implies a qualitative improvement in the living standards of the people as exemplified by levels of industrialization, food production, size and distribution of the labor force, pattern of income distribution, access to education, health facilities, good housing, regular supply of electricity, good drinking water, etc. (World Bank Development Report, 1981)
Democracy leads to good governance and the vice versa is true. Good governance is a prerequisite for development. On the other hand development helps for the improvement of good governance and democracy in a given political society.
In the last twenty seven years all the three were not achieved. In Ethiopia, absence of democracy has led to bad governance. The bad governance in turn affected the development of the nation.
Ethiopia was inefficient in managing its resources under the leadership of TPLF. We could have a better development had there been good governance and democracy that administers our resources efficiently.
The major cause for the failure of the nation to achieve them is the poor quality of the political leadership within the TPLF where disproportionate power was centralized. The political leadership was deteriorating with a high-level of corruption and ethnic extremism. Tribalism reigned under their leadership.
The political reform that began two years ago seems to resolve the root cause for the problems of political leadership. If the political leadership is corrected through the reform, it can be said that the nation has a hope of improving good governance and development.
But democracy in Ethiopia has a lot of hurdles. The prerequisites are not yet fulfilled. Will Ethiopia achieve good governance without democracy? This has been achieved by some Asian countries.
We need to work on consolidating our democracy hand in hand with the national effort for development. We do not need to rush on democracy even though it has a multitude of impacts on the lives of our people.
The problems of bad governance were at the highest level before the reform. There is a significant improvement in this regard. We should continue working on establishing good governance.
Ed.’s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]
Contributed by Tagel Getahun