Commentary

Commentary



Acting Against Gender Inequality- Instrumental for Good Governance
Friday, 24 July 2015 06:50

Even these days, although it has long been a century ever since women’s day is being celebrated worldwide remarking the end of gender inequality, women and girls are said to suffer from multiple and diversified forms of violence even in developed nations. It is sexual (seduction, rape and harassment), child marriage, unequal marriage, female genital mutilation, physical attack, low esteem and other forms of feminicide. It all starts in home, steps out to the outdoor, continuous in school, at work place, etc. leaving a generation scar against women. Every corner faces, every event occurs but against women.

This violence, just like a sword with double blade brandishing and cutting away at the extreme directions-the women at the one and the entire world at the other point, is a viral attack that mutates from generation to generation, from an event to another, unchanging as culture and thoughts change, and uncontrolled in time and space. This violence deprives the woman of her fundamental human and private rights፡ it leaves her both in physical and mental sickness, prevents her from economic and social advancement, slackens her from achieving her full potential; downgrade her personal and natural dignity and respect. It is unfortunate that it is one of the most relentless phenomena encountering the woman.

Stretching its long and crooked hands on the shoulders of the women right straight away towards the rest of the world, it never stops itself from infiltrating in the welfare of the entire realm. Since our global security in respect of social, economic and political stability should only be rescued by the efforts made to bring an equal opportunity to the whole world citizen without gender-based discrimination, the threat against women by any means-directly and/or indirectly-seriously affects the human race. The influence made against one kind of sex is the downfall of the other which intern results in global social, economic and political crisis. That is why it seems to attract world attention to adopt human right conventions based on gender equalities both at international and national level.

So, in order to narrow the gap between women and their men counterparts in participating in and thereby benefit from socio-economic affairs, the adoption of human right conventions became an inevitable. In this regard, many democratic countries passed national human rights resolutions based on the fundamental international human rights conventions, and many of them got the recognition. Since the adoption of the constitution, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) has taken significant administrative, policy and law reform measures aimed at ensuring compatibility of national laws with provisions of international human rights instruments that are relevant to the protection of the rights and benefits of the women. Article 34 of the constitution states that men and women, without any discrimination, have the right to marry and found a family. Article 35 specifically states that women shall have equal right with men, taking into account the historical legacy of inequality and discrimination; they are also entitled to affirmative measures.

Based on the provision of such constitutional rights of women, different institutions with distinct activities and responsibilities and with independent policies and organizational laws were established to work cooperatively. Among which is the Institution of the Ombudsman which was established based on Article 55(15) of the constitution as a watch dog behind the protection of the rights and benefits of the women.

The constitution clearly put that the women, equally as men, have the right to benefit from democratic rights and human rights resolutions, and there are also distinct laws issued on behalf of the women. The Institution of the Ombudsman is thus responsible to conduct the monitoring and supervision of the implementation of the laws. The Institution also provides different awareness creations and researches in order to be able to enhance the women’s active participation and thereby benefit from social and economic activities.

The researches have been conducted for example on equitability of gender-based rural land distribution, implementation of special support given to women, inspection of public policies and procedures whether they are designed to protect the rights and benefits of the women. The Institution in collaboration with other executive bodies, especially with those working pro-women’s rights, and civil society organizations is making extensive efforts to create awareness on gender equality.

Generally, as the objective of the Institution is to bring about good governance that is of high quality by way of ensuring that citizen’s rights and benefits provided by law are respected by organs of the executive, it is playing a significant role in the activities made to ensure the rights of the women. One important thing everyone should hold clarity about is that the threat of violence, whatever from it may take, thrown to the women, erodes by its damaging floods eating away every world citizen without discrimination of gender, age, race, culture, etc. therefore, everyone must fight against such mass destructive violence not merely for the benefit of the women, but for the sake of the universal welfare.

 
Proactive and Reactive Obligations
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 06:53

The right of access to information drives primarily from the guarantee of freedom of expression found in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It provides that all citizens enjoy rights of freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to ‘seek, receive, and impart information and ideas, a guarantee now generally considered to include an obligation of openness on the part of government.

Article 29 of Ethiopian constitution as per Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone shall have the right to hold opinions and to freedom of expression without interference. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through other media of his choice.

Right of access to information laws reflects the fundamental premise that governments should serve the people. This right of access to information places two obligations with two parts on governments. These are proactive and reactive obligations.

The proactive obligation enforces the public organs to dispatch information prior to any requests made for information. It includes a duty to publish and disseminate to the public key information including core classes of information such as policies and their organizational structures and duties, officials responsibilities and decision-making procedures, descriptions of complaint hearing mechanism, a description of its regulations, directives, policies, guidelines, and manuals which govern the operation and activities of their various organs and of employees of the organizations. In this case, it is certain that the public can know what the government is doing, can participate in public matters and keep public authorities accountable. This develops transparency and openness on the part of government and credibility and trust on the part of the people. Therefore, all information held in a recorded form by public organs can be proactively accessed unless they fall under the exceptions established in the access to information laws.

The reactive obligation enforces the public organs to receive from the public requests for information and thereby responding to it. Here, all persons have the right to ask public officials for information about their activities and responsibilities, and any documents they hold, whereas, the public officials have the duty to give an answer with access granted either by viewing original documents or provision of copies. In case, the information upon which the request is made may fall under exception, the public organs may not be forced to give, but the requester has still the right to lodge his request while the officials have the duty to explain the reason of rejecting the request since the requester has still the right to appeal.

Hence, respecting both obligations-proactive and reactive- (of disseminating information and receiving requests for information and responding to it) ensures the implementation of access to information law on the one hand, and creates transparency and openness on the part of government thereby creating credibility and trust by the people on government activities on the other.

The principle behind the right of access to information is that public bodies are acting as servants of the people. It is therefore, important that the government that creates or controls the information avail it to the public in a form that is accurate, timely and accessible.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:40
 
Maladministration – Corruption Relation
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 07:25

Maladministration – Corruption Relation: Crippling Whirlwind to development

“The roots of corruption lie in the unequal distribution of resources in a society. Corruption thrives on economic inequality. Economic inequality provides a fertile breeding ground for corruption – and, in turn, it leads to further inequalities”.

(Eric Uslaner, a working Paper, “Corruption and the Inequality Trap in Africa”, April 2007)

Democratic scholars underscore the idea that good governance is ‘a fundamental right’ of citizen. And it must ensure that the ‘citizens’, especially the poorest, basic needs’ are met. This means that it is a kind of administration that is ‘sensitive and responsive’ to the needs of the people and is ‘effective in coping up with emerging challenges’ in society. In order to be capable of tackling such challenges, it needs to be designed and crafted in such a way that it makes use of laws and measures that are well framed and appropriately implemented. Rules must be strictly bound by generally accepted norms and controlled by institutions to enforce them.

When the Institution of the Ombudsman (EIO) has been constitutionally established under the proclamation no. of 211/2000, it is for nothing but, as one of parliamentary arm in the control of maladministration, with the view of the need of an institution that follows behind the implementation of such rules and regulations by government authorities. Since the implementation of the laws is hardly enough, the Institution is also empowered to enforce them so that citizen can equally benefit from them. In this case, when it is the duty of the Institution to supervise the appropriate implementation of the rules, the government authorities are responsible for the appropriate service delivery.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 May 2014 06:41
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Why Good Governance Our Concern
Monday, 03 February 2014 07:27

For reasons that shall be hereby underscored, good governance becomes our greatest concern. One major reason is that the characteristics of good governance are pivotal for achieving the visions set out in the Constitution. That good governance is part and parcel of the country’s vision is the other important reason. Furthermore, it is issued in different government policies and regulations so that the government officials shoulder prior responsibility to execute. And lastly, that to bolster good governance is one of the pillars of the country’s growth and transformation plan (GTP) makes it our greatest concern. What more, it is no more contentious, that the quest for good governance is comprehensibly the question of existence.

Ultimate peace, sustainable development, human right and democratic right protection are the constitutionally grand visions of the country. The country can be said to exist as a sovereign nation, only when it attains such constitutionally incorporated visions. In the first place there shall be a well established ground for human right and democratic right protection. A citizen whose right is protected develops a healthy personality towards the rights of others which may result on arousing feelings of one-to-one considerations and mutual benefits. Healthy relationship in a society as it locks the room for social unrest is a fertile ground for peace to settle. A stabilized state can foster development. Good governance, well then, is an integral part of achieving the visions; the absence of which, however, would make things go otherwise. That is, citizens’ rights breaching rather outweighs citizens’ rights protection, social unrest erodes peaceful life, poverty suppresses development etc. At last, the future envisioned by the Constitution would rather go illusory than visionary. That is why good governance becomes our concern.


 

Good governance is part and parcel of the country’s vision. The country envisions getting itself along a democratic avenue constructed and polished by keen participation and acute consensus made by citizens. It also sees to bringing about justice exercised to all on equal base, and achieving to be one of medium income nations by fighting against poverty. This also remains illusory if good governance would be trodden on. Thus, this makes it our concern.

Good governance has been referred to in different government policies and regulations so that it could be the duty and responsibility of executive bodies to give it primal importance in their agendas. Along with building democratic system, good governance, in the present context of the country, has become the question of existence. As it is redemption, for people who once, under the imperial and the dictatorial regimes, were their property and benefits robbed and their rights trespassed, the culture of democracy needs to have a favorable climate to flourish in. To this effect, ensuring good governance on the part of the government officials would become significant. They share responsibility to implement the policies and the regulations of their organizations and therewith hold account, without which it is vanity to think about good governance. This is the reason for our concern to good governance.

Good governance is one of the pillars of the GTP, and it plays a major role in fulfilling its success. The GTP is mainly targeted at achieving a double digit economic growth. Besides, it aims at succeeding in the millennium goal by improving quality education and extending access to health. Ensuring sustainable development in the country by creating stability in the forthcoming activities is also the target of the GTP. There it is needed to have responsible executive bodies and transparent working procedures, an aware society where mal administration activities and corruption will not be condoned or tolerated, and a sustainable social, political and economic development if the GTP is to succeed. That also makes good governance our concern.

Accountable to the House of Peoples’ Representative, the Institution of the Ombudsman (EIO) has been established by proclamation No. 211/2000 with an objective to see to bringing about “good governance that is of high quality, efficient, transparent, and based on the rule of law, by way of ensuring that citizens right and benefits provided for by law are respected by organs of the executive” (art.5). This objective could (only) be realized within the context of a broader framework. On the one hand, it calls for the constant improvement and transformation of the public administration system, and on the other, a rising appreciation of the value of a progressive system focused to bring about increased access and proximity to citizens' needs and complaints. As a watchdog of the citizen, along with hearing public grievances and seeking for remedies, the EIO also provides awareness both for the executive bodies and the citizen in order for the former to legitimize their duties of serving the people according to the law, and for the later understand their rights so as to persistently fight ill practices committed against their rights. Notwithstanding the responsibility of the institution, it is, however, on the shoulder of the executive bodies and the entire citizen to play the game of good governance.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 09:03
 
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