A Critical Assessment of Decentralized Public Governance Features and Challenges in Ethiopia: Insights from Self-Governance in Guraghe Zone Districts

Melkamu Moshago


Ethiopia decentralized its centralized unitary government system in 1991. This decentralization reform accompanied continuous restructuring of regional ethnic-based States and sub-national governments with the objective of establishing self-governing and empowered States for effective decentralized public governance in the country. However, some empirical studies criticized the policy stating that the objectives have not yet been achieved. The critics point out that the system lacks proper design to ensure accountability and structure that recognizes the population size for services provided. This article assesses the decentralized public governance system focusing on the features and challenges in order to improve public service provision in Ethiopia, in the context of Guraghe Zone Districts. To achieve the objectives of the study, the researcher employed concurrent mixed methodes research design. The data were collected through survey questionnaires,focus group discussions and key informant interviews, simultaneosly. The data were integrated for analyses and interpretation of the results. The researcher employs percentages, graphs, Chi-square and Kruskal Wallis Test to discuss and analyze the data, and identifies the institutional factors affecting the success of decentralized public governance for improved services. The results show that the majority of respondents agree that the decentralization system was well designed, while a significant number of respondents confirmed that decentralization reform has not been properly implemented. Furthermore, it was found that Zonal and Woreda administrators were not appropriately empowered, though this charge is enshrined in the Regional State Constitution. Through careful analyses of the data, the study identifies specific gaps in the system that leaders can then use to take corrective measures.

Keywords: decentralized public governance, proper local government size, empowerment

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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