Dawit Miteku 03-09-17
The deep renewal movement that the government is undertaking at every level is deepening even further. Meetings are being held in all corners of the country with massive involvement of the people. In addition to expressing their opinion freely, the people are going as far as exercising their rights to fire government officials alleged to have created good governance problems.
However, some people tend to denigrate from the reality and react skeptically towards the outcomes of the movement. Among such cynical views is ‘don’t expect any accountability or change from the movement”. The aim of this article is to show with concrete evidence what the people have actually obtained from the deep renewal. In this regard I will raise the question ‘what did the people benefit from the deep renewal?’, and will probe into some realistic outcomes in some regions as an illustration. One of the outcomes of the renewal movement that best demonstrates its benefit to the people is the fact that they were able to exercise their constitutional/sovereign power without any interference.
The main reason that led to the launching of the deep renewal is good governance problem that prevailed in public service institutions across the nation. The government’s decision to carry out the deep renewal process by understanding the desire of the people demonstrates its commitment for transparency and accountability, and the people have all the rights to be heard.
The government’s responsibility is not limited to properly responding to the democratic quest of the public, but also to involve them actively and directly in addressing the challenges.
I think the fact that the people are getting what they wanted out of the process is a great success. The deep renewal process that took place in Oromia National Regional State is part and parcel of the nationwide movement. During the first round of the movement that took place in the last six months, measure were taken against 4,460 senior and middle level leaders as well as 13,578 junior leaders.
According to the regional state government, the senior and middle level leadership held political positions from regional to kebele levels. Apart from those who faced administrative and political measures, legal cases have been against 260 of the 694 leadership that are alleged to have perpetrated grave malpractice. Further investigation is underway against the remaining.
Out of the measures taken against the leadership that held positions from regional to kebele structures, 2587 cases were in connection with incompetence, 964 for rent-seeking, 397 for ethical misconduct and 512 for personal problems. Due preparation is underway to sue 2470 kebele level leaders.
In the meantime, the region’s ethics and anti-corruption commission has frozen assets and bank accounts belonging to the officials pending trial. The frozen assets include more than 7.2 million birr in cash, four vehicles, two buildings and 40 residential houses, 244 326 m2 urban land and 548 , 662 m2 forest?.
In my opinion the people and the national regional state government of Oromia have mainly achieved two fundamental issues from this first round of the deep renewal movement.
One is they were able to investigate the reason that instigated the unrest that destabilized the region, and secondly they are able to institute sense of accountability in the region. All in all, I would say that they should further uphold the practice in the coming rounds as well.
The Southern nation and nationalities region has also illustrated a remarkable instance for the success of the ongoing deep renewal movement. The regional government noted that it has managed to build the capacity to respond to the burning needs of the public in due course of time though popular participation. Reports indicate that about 5.3 million people of the region have participated in the deep renewal process. After thorough evaluation of each government official, the people have taken actions including firing or relegation.
1,920 senior, middle and lower level leaders and 18,250 from the lower level leadership have been sacked from their positions. On the other hand 2,359 new and young leaders that have won the trust of the people have been raised to middle and senior level leadership position.
Administrative and legal measures are going to be taken against any of the government officials alleged to have committed grave administrative offences. In connection with this 15 million birr that was embezzled from the region has been restituted while favorable conditions are being put in place to consolidate sense of accountability at every level. As these deep renewal platforms ensured the sovereign ownership of power of the people, the platforms should be further strengthened and continued.
Last but not least, Addis Ababa city administration has also come up with commendable achievements out of the deep renewal. The administration stated that through the works the administration undertook for the past 15 years and the subsequent challenges that came in from the social, economic and political sector has helped in creating a demanding society. And through the deep renewal, measures were taken against rent-seeking and incompetence.
The measures are likely to sustainably address the good governance problems that reigned in the city. The City Government is also working strenuously to deliver appropriate and timely response to the people’s quest for democracy and development as these two issues were the key driving factors behind the turmoil that somehow rocked not only the metropolis but also the entire nation.
Nevertheless, the public should continue to be the frontline participants of the ongoing deep renewal movement. I think it is obvious for anyone that the deep renewal measures and subsequent results I mentioned above are few of the instances that could be mentioned to argue that the movement will have a meaningful role not on in settling the immediate cause of it but also to reinforce the overall process of building democratic system and accountability in the country.
This fact shows that the incorrect rumor disseminated by some people that there is no accountability and change involved with the process is not right or correct. Therefore, it should be understood that the deep renewal process is bringing change, and I would like to add that it is a democratic process that will hold the culprits accountable. More than anything, it should be understood that the demand presented by the public is getting answers in an appropriate manner with the people playing a protagonist role in it. Therefore, the deep renewal process should be looked into through concrete evidence.