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NewsOfficials’ reluctance to accept Ombudsman's suggestions on administrative issues draws criticism

Officials’ reluctance to accept Ombudsman’s suggestions on administrative issues draws criticism

City administrations and regional states are unwilling to implement suggestions offered by the Office of the Ombudsman regarding weak governance and public discontent with government service, according to its officials.

Endale Haile (PhD), the Chief Ombudsman of the Ethiopian Ombudsman Office, told The Reporter that while there has been significant progress in recent years, there are still officials who assume they have absolute power.

The reluctance of officials to recommendations is not due to a lack of awareness of the topic at hand, but rather to their wilful ignorance of the responsibility that comes with the authority that the public has bestowed upon them, according to Endale. On the other hand, he did not specify which agencies were flouting its advice.

The Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman was established to promote high-quality, efficient, and transparent governance based on the rule of law by ensuring that executive organs respect citizens’ legal rights and benefits.

The recommendation, according to the Office, is made on behalf of the public on issues primarily concerned with the delivery of efficient and effective public and social services as well as public trust in government and public institutions.

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Recent Office assessments included reports on fraudulent activity in a few Addis Ababa city public services, evaluations of grade 12 results, a study of the government’s targeted fuel subsidy procedures, the provision of social services in the Afar and Amhara regions during the northern Ethiopian war, and many others.

“Before I was appointed, the performance level of approval by government officials for the ombudsman’s recommendation was around 42 percent, but in the last few years, the rate of recognition for our recommendation has increased to 75 percent,” said the Chief Ombudsman.

Unlike a court, an ombudsman usually does not have the authority to make legally binding decisions. It does, however, investigate complaints against public bodies and, if necessary, recommend remedies. According to Endale, the Ombudsman has been dealing with a slew of issues that require immediate administrative and political resolution.

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