The Funding of Political Parties in Ethiopia: A Review of Problems
Political parties serve democracy through articulating and aggregating social interests. However, keeping other factors as they are, the success of political parties is dependent on having the necessary funds. Yet, there is extreme manipulation of political funding to create political advantages and disadvantages that affect election outcomes in a range of ways. Specifically, unequal access to funding, abuse of state resources and illegal funding are the challenges disrupting the competitiveness of election and democracy in Africa and Ethiopia alike. Thus, political finance is both a necessity and a problem. In response to such problems, the author tries to explore the way the Ethiopian political finance functions with due emphasis to the problems of political funding. For doing so, it uses primary and secondary sources of data. It reviews the existing laws governing the system of political funding. It also examines the reports of the 2010 and 2015 national elections of the ENEB, the EU and AU Election Missions to Ethiopia. It conducts interviews with key political actors and officials of the ENEB to appreciate the problems of the system of political funding. Accordingly, the research finding indicated that the incumbent party in Ethiopia has excessively used its incumbency to protect its position and further weaken the already weak opposition political parties. The amount of public funding granted to the political parties is so insignificant related to all African states. Of which the incumbent party takes the lion’s share because of the biased apportionment criteria. The public media allocation also significantly favors the incumbent party. Besides, the incumbent party massively abuses the state resources for its own partisan advantages. Now, therefore, there is a pressing need for leveling the political playing field by safeguarding equitable political resource distributions.