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Electoral Authoritarianism and the Question of Representation: The Case of Caffee Oromia, Ethiopia


Regassa, Asebe; Tadesse, Getachew (2023). Electoral Authoritarianism and the Question of Representation: The Case of Caffee Oromia, Ethiopia. Representation, 59(2):207-223.

Abstract

This article analyses aspects of representation and legitimacy of Caffee Oromia (the legislative council of the Oromia National Regional State) within Ethiopia’s electoral authoritarian political landscape. The article sheds light on the interplay between the Caffee, elected representatives and constituencies in Ethiopia’s ‘democratisation’ experiment within the post-1991 federal system. The empirical data for this research were collected from five zones in Oromia, namely East and West Guji, Borana, West Wallaga and Oromia Special zone surrounding Finfinne between February 2019 and June 2020 through qualitative research methodology. Leaders of indigenous institution (Gadaa system), community members, elders, members of the Caffee and local government authorities were interviewed. Ten Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and 30 key informant interviews were conducted with purposively selected informants. The research findings show that there is a big rift between the elected representatives and their constituencies in terms of representation, accountability and communication whereby party loyalty overrides representatives’ accountability to the constitution, constituencies and conscience. Thus, Ethiopia exemplifies electoral authoritarianism both at national and sub-national levels, whereby election is used as a strategy of power consolidation of the ruling party rather than as a democratic exercise.

Abstract

This article analyses aspects of representation and legitimacy of Caffee Oromia (the legislative council of the Oromia National Regional State) within Ethiopia’s electoral authoritarian political landscape. The article sheds light on the interplay between the Caffee, elected representatives and constituencies in Ethiopia’s ‘democratisation’ experiment within the post-1991 federal system. The empirical data for this research were collected from five zones in Oromia, namely East and West Guji, Borana, West Wallaga and Oromia Special zone surrounding Finfinne between February 2019 and June 2020 through qualitative research methodology. Leaders of indigenous institution (Gadaa system), community members, elders, members of the Caffee and local government authorities were interviewed. Ten Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and 30 key informant interviews were conducted with purposively selected informants. The research findings show that there is a big rift between the elected representatives and their constituencies in terms of representation, accountability and communication whereby party loyalty overrides representatives’ accountability to the constitution, constituencies and conscience. Thus, Ethiopia exemplifies electoral authoritarianism both at national and sub-national levels, whereby election is used as a strategy of power consolidation of the ruling party rather than as a democratic exercise.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:3 April 2023
Deposited On:03 Dec 2021 06:16
Last Modified:19 Mar 2024 04:49
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0034-4893
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2021.2005672