Skip to main content

The nexus between education-development-democracy in Ethiopia

Ethiopia, as a third world country, has to pass through democratization. It cannot attain democracy as a spontaneous miracle. The democratization process requires a political leadership committed for both development and education.

The nexus between education-development and democracy is given a considerable attention in third world democracy as the philosophy constructs democracy through process.

Education is the basis for fostering the development of the nation. Both education and development will help the nation enjoy an established democracy.

Education, in every sense, is one of the fundamentals for development and democratization. Education raises people’s awareness, productivity and creativity and promotes technological and entrepreneurial capacities.

Educational attainment makes people more supportive of democracy, and encourages them to support democratic initiatives.

More generally, in Ethiopia, education is increasingly seen as a defense against the rise of violence, racism, extremism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance. It helps in transforming the political culture to a democratic one. As it plays an important role in the national effort for democratic citizenship.

There is an intellectual debate on the linkage between development and democracy. But there is a general consensus that they are mutually supportive. That means development fosters democratic values and democracy is a means to development. I believe the two concepts are intertwined that one leads to the other in Ethiopia.

Working on development enhances the democratization process as the mammoth impacts of poverty are hampering our democracy. Democracy desires development in Ethiopia and for development we need to strive on working education both in quality and quantity.

Development and education will help the nation build strong institutions with capable personnel.

The above reasons are why we need a political party in power that stands for both development and democracy.

But imposing democracy at this given moment in time is not advisable as the nation has very little experience in that area. Even the prerequisites of democracy are not yet attained. The nation has failed to put a stable democracy in place.

Ethiopia has to pass through a transition period. At least we need to prepare the nation for democracy before we indulge in it. The process on the conversion to liberal democracy demands conditions conducive to its emergence. Ethiopia has not enjoyed the prolonged economic development, civic culture, institutions building and social consensus necessary for democracy’s effective operation.

This being said, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is rebuilding national unity that was debilitated by the divide and rule political policy of Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). His party is promoting Ethiopiawinet (Ethiopianess) for it is the instrument for Ethiopia’s unity.

 I believe the way forward with Abiy’s leadership would take us to a bright future full of hope and optimism for he has a special skill in regards to political leadership. More importantly. His party stands for both democracy and development. It is the strongest and capable party in the nation. And this party saved the nation from the brink of collapse that could have crippled the nation irreversibly.

I believe that till the job of uniting the divided nation is completed power has to be handled by this party. This party is responsible for the job of transiting the nation to democracy.

With the leadership of the impressive Prime Minister Abiy, Ethiopia will advance to becoming strong nation where human rights and democratic rights are respected. Optimism has come about with the advent of his reform.

Abiy said he is building a constitutional democracy for Ethiopia.

Unlike the twenty seven years’ experience, there is an independent judiciary that is free from state intervention. The independence of other state machineries is growing as well.

More importantly gross human rights violation is abolished even though there are some remaining jobs to be done.

The sporadic ethnic conflicts that took place in the aftermath of the reform are the result of divide and rule policy that the former regime has practiced. They are not the pitfalls of Abiy’s reforms.

Ethiopia is a nation where there is not even a little experience of democracy.  

Finally, let me share with readers about a constitutional democracy – as it is what the nation is striving for – from what I read from Professor Michael Puret.

A constitutional democracy is any democracy that has a constitution setting. The term democracy indicates a form of government where all the state's decisions are exercised directly or indirectly by a majority of its citizenry through a fair elective process.

One theory holds that democracy requires three fundamental principles: upward control (sovereignty residing at the lowest levels of authority), political equality, and social norms by which individuals and institutions only consider acceptable acts that reflect the first two principles of upward control and political equality.

The features of a constitutional democracy are free speech/press/assembly, freedom of exit, and the right to know any charges against you, and a fair, speedy, and public trial. After that, it calls for universal adulthood suffrage, removed only as punishment for a crime.

Some of the mentionable constitutional democracies in the world are Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Poland, Portugal and Sierra Leone.

Ed.’s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. The writer can be reached at [email protected]

Contributed by Tagel Getahun