Decentralisation, development and accommodation of ethnic minorities: the case of Ethiopia
Decentralisation of political, financial, and administrative powers to sub-national units has been, and remains to be, a major trend in both developing and developed states. Very often decentralisation is not optional for a state. However, a state has the option to choose what to achieve through its decentralisation programme. After choosing what it intends to achieve through its decentralisation programme, a state may design it in such a way that it may attain the intended purpose. Many countries design their decentralisation programmes with the purpose of ‘deepening’ democracy and empowering their citizens. Other states decentralise power with the purpose of achieving development. They do so based on the postulate that development is preferable when it is achieved through the participation of those who benefit from it and that decentralisation enhances the extent and quality of citizen’s direct and indirect participation. States also decentralise powers based on the assumption that decentralisation brings efficiency in planning and implementing development projects. Several states also use their decentralisation programme to respond to the ethnic, religious, or other diversities of their people. They use territorial and non-territorial arrangement to accommodate the diversity of their people. Therefore, in some cases they create ethnically structured regional and local units and transfer to such unit political powers including the power to decide on cultural matters. Like in so many countries, the wind of decentralisation has blown over Ethiopia. The country has been implementing a decentralisation programme starting from 1991. Ethiopia has selected to achieve two principal purposes through its decentralisation programme namely, to achieve development and to respond to the ethnic diversity of its people. It is axiomatic that the success of a decentralisation programme, whether for achieving development or accommodating ethnic diversity, is greatly impacted on by its institutional design. This thesis, therefore, examines whether Ethiopia’s decentralisation programme incorporates the institutional features that are likely to impact the success of the decentralisation programme for achieving its intended purposes.
- Doctor Legum - LLD