The quest for Democratic oversight: The National Defense Forces of Ethiopia | Tessema | Nova Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

The quest for Democratic oversight: The National Defense Forces of Ethiopia

Damtew Tessema


Democratic oversight to the defense forces is imperative in pursuing of democratic system due to the fact that unchecked and unaccountable defense apparatus is a threat for the sustenance of healthy political system. Against the backdrop of improvements in politico-legal framework for promoting democracy, this article examines the state of Democratic oversights to the Defense Forces of Ethiopia. Drawing on qualitative analysis based on the data gained from primary and secondary sources, the article proves that the practices of overseeing the Ethiopian Defense forces to ensure accountability by the parliament, civil societies and executives were less effective. The Defense and security Affairs standing committee of the parliament has legal permission to undertake supervision though its effectiveness has been constrained by its weak institutional performance. Some norms and practices of the country disregarded the involvement of civil societies in the issue of defense. In addition, the law of the Defenses forces of Ethiopia equivocally prohibits external auditing though the constitution empowered the Auditor General of the federal government to audit and inspect all the Ministries. In fact, the Prime Minster and his security advisor have access to the periodical defense reports. But, his office was dependent on reports and lacked capable supervisory team. Due to the prevalence of legal and practical constraints the exercise of overseeing the defense forces to ensure accountability and transparency became unlikely.

Keywords: Defense, Oversight, Accountability, Parliament, Civil Societies 

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