Ethiopia Exhibiting Strong Democratic Aspiration, IDEA Report says

ADDIS ABEBA – The latest Global State of Democracy has put Ethiopia among few African nations that are showing a strong aspiration for democracy.

The second edition of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance or IDEA’s report has been released in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

The report has employed five parameters to measure the democracy level of countries.

These include the extent of representative democracy, level fundamental rights, check and balance on government systems, impartial administration, and public participatory engagement.

It said democratic aspirations in African remains strong.

“Popular mobilization demanding democratic change in countries with longstanding autocratic leaders have been seen recently in Ethiopia (2014-18) and the Gambia (2016) resulting in incipient democratic reforms in the former and a democratic transition in the later after twenty-two years of non-democratic rule,” it said.

The existing political reform is a manifestation of Ethiopia’s deep interest to build the nation, according to Officials of IDEA.

More focus should now be given on state-building and citizens’ livelihood, said Adebyo Olukoshi, director for Africa and West Asia program of IDEA, in an interview with The Daily Monitor.

He also said the fight against corruption should be continued and addressed accordingly.

Since Prime Minister Abiy has come to power the process of reconciliation, the opening of political space and the release of political prisoners and many more factors have been contributing to the betterment of democratic practices, said the director.

“The new chapter that we are looking in Ethiopia is a great aspiration of the population to a strong democracy,” said Olukoshi.

Democracy, however, has its enemies both domestic and external, he warned.

International IDEA secretary General Kevin Casas-Zamora sees the change in countries like Ethiopia with optimism.

“Looking at the current Ethiopia’s journey is truly an inspiration not only for Ethiopians but also to the rest of the world,” he added.

Building democracy in the developing world is more difficult than in a developed nation, he said noting the importance of sharing positive experiences from other nations.

At the continent level, the report said, despite Africa as a continent going on the right track with at least 20 countries practicing a democratic system, 18 with a hybrid democratic practice and 10 countries with no democracy at all, the continent is still under the largest share of those weak, low quality and fragile democracies.

The report has mentioned flawed election system, conflict and civil war, gender inequality, lack of judicial independence, corruption and other more challenges for lack of democratic practices.

In the continent, while West Africa named as the most democratic sub-region followed by South Africa, North and East Africa ranked as the third and fourth communities respectively by the report.

—– By Sisay Sahlu

Image: officials of IDEA, Sweden embassy and more at the launching event [Photo SweinEthiopia]

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