The Role of Civil Society Organizations in The Democratization Process of Ethiopia:Post 1991 Assessment

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The existence of vibrant civil society organizations does have the potential to make a positive contribution to the democratization process of Ethiopia. These organizations perform different activities such as limiting the power of the state more generally, challenging the government when doing wrong; complementing the role of the state, creating awareness in the community, promote transparency and advocate on fair and free election. They can also reform the state especially by building the capacity of the various institutional settings. The purpose of this study is to assess and examine the role of CSOs in the democratization of Ethiopia since 1991. The study is of descriptive survey type where both primary and secondary data were used. The study also used non-probabilistic, purposive sampling technique to assess the issue at hand. The state civil society relation is an inherent feature of a certain organized society. Civil society organizations remain the watch dog of the public, though the role playing in and the strategies differ. When the state becomes powerful, it is CSOs that should check challenge and reform it. Thus, the relation between the state and civil society should be smooth and governed by the common objective of democracy. A very close examination of data shows that Ethiopia's civil society is built around the poverty crisis facing the country in 1973/74, and 1984/85 and proliferated after the liberalization from the Dergue regime. In Ethiopia, the political reform was taken place as a result of the dismantling of the authoritarian Dergue regime and the adoption of new constitution yvhich provides a legal provision for the freedom of association, created relatively a favorable environment for the emergence of civil society organizations. Right after the change of the regime in 1991, the legal provisions that ascertain the freedom of associations have instituted in both the transitional charter and latter in the 1995 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) constitution that has laid the foundation for the operation of CSOs.



Civil Society, Democratization Process