With a new party code of conduct signed by over 100 parties and elections scheduled for 2020, Ethiopian political parties are gearing up for what is seen as a crucial 12 months for the nation’s democracy.
It’s also a busy time for NIMD Ethiopia, who are helping the parties prepare for the election cycle. While many spend this time of year taking a well-earned break from work, NIMD Ethiopia has been hosting training and dialogue sessions for political parties.
Starting Democracy with Dialogue
At the start of July, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition (EPRDF) and opposition parties engaged in dialogue hosted by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and supported by NIMD. The meeting was part of a series that will allow the parties to discuss reforming the overall electoral system in Ethiopia.
The large turnout is a cause for optimism about positive outcomes later in the dialogue. With this level of commitment to dialogue from so many parties, there is a real chance for Ethiopia’s political class to build trust in each other and the institutions that govern them. NIMD’s objective is to consolidate democracy in Ethiopia, so meetings such as this – where parties can peacefully and democratically decide what system works for their country – is a sure step in the right direction.
Training for parliamentarians at the regional level
Since the start of our work alongside NEBE in Summer 2018, NIMD has provided capacity strengthening to political parties in Ethiopia on top of our support for NEBE’s dialogue programme. NIMD currently offers this to national parties and those in Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia.
Our first session in mid-July saw NIMD provide training on party planning, budgets, and the policy cycle to officials and experts from Chaffee Oromia (Oromia’s regional council). This training is part of the series of trainings and other capacity building efforts that have been selected in a joint meeting between the two parties themselves at the start of the year.
After the training, Ms Lomi Bedo, Speaker of Chaffee Oromia remarked: “The training we have got in the past four days was quite important to undertake our activities in a more informed way. We want to thank NIMD for the continued engagement”. NIMD has further work with Chaffee Oromia’s officials and experts planned for the rest of the year, which will help solidify multiparty democracy in Ethiopia.
National training on legislative drafting
This Summer, NIMD also organized training on legislative drafting for House Speakers, MPs, and experts drawn from five of Ethiopia’s regions.This programme is part of NIMD’s wider strategy in the country, which seeks to engage national and regional MPs, political parties, and the electoral board on the consolidation of Ethiopian democracy.
Speaking of our past and present collaboration, Ms. Worksemu Mamo, Amhara Regional State Council Speaker, stated: “NIMD has always been our most important partner when it comes to capacity building. We want to thank them once again“.
Notoriously one of the hardest parts of MPs’ daily responsibilities, writing and analyzing legislation is a very technical task. Even in more established democracies, examples of badly written legislation and poorly scrutinized law have led to serious implications. By providing this technical training, NIMD seeks to directly boost the ability for parliamentarians to fairly and democratically legislate in their people’s interests.