“At this stage, we asked for the names of all male and female members of the household over the age of 18. At which point we will select the respondents based on a Kish-grid type rouster on a tablet. If we select a male respondent in one house we will select a female respondent in the next selected household.”When asked about the likelihood of the opinion of 2,400 people reflecting the public opinion of over 100 million people living in Ethiopia, Mulu said “I understand the concern. But we employed scientific principles to guarantee the accuracy of the survey. The sample selected by Afrobarometer is intended to guarantee a 95% accuracy with a +-2% rate of accuracy. For instance if the survey says 40% of Ethiopians believe in Federalism, then it is likely that a population survey would yield a result between 38% and 42%” maintaining that the surveyed population represents the general public’s opinion with a 95% accuracy.The respondents of the survey were 50% male and 50% female. A majority of the respondents lived in rural areas (79%) while the rest (21%) lived in urban settings. 59% of the respondents were between ages 18 and 25 while 20% were between 36 and 45 and persons between ages 45 and 54 represented 11% of the respondents. The remaining (10%) were over the age of 55. A majority of the respondents (42%) did not have formal education. 38% of the respondents had primary education, 12% completed secondary education and only 8% had post-secondary education. FindingsThe study was conducted on a wide range of issues. These included several political opinions regarding the federalism system, and amendments to several provisions of the constitution. The Constitution Questions designed to answer both the timing of the amendment and articles subject to the amendment were given to the respondents. According to the findings by Afrobarometer, almost seven out of ten Ethiopians which is a 69% representation support the revising the constitution while 18% believe it should remain the same. The findings of the survey also show that 11% of the respondents want the constitution to be discarded and replaced while the remaining two percent did not comment on the matter.Even though there is majority opinion supporting amendments to the constitution, when it comes to the timing of the such amendments, Afrobarometer says that Ethiopians are divided. Nearly one third of the respondents believe the constitution amendments should take place before the next election. Others (33%) say it should be done at some time following the election while 29% of the respondents prefer amendments to come a year after the next elections.Specific Articles:During the study, Afrobarometer selected a number of controversial provisions from the Ethiopian constitution and sought the opinion of the randomly selected sample. One was the designation of additional federal languages to the constitution. A majority of the respondents (73%) supported the idea while 24% strongly opposed the preposition. The remaining 3% neither supported nor opposed the designation of additional federal languages. Amendment on the term of the prime minister was another thematic area identified by Afrobarometer. Even though the Ethiopian Constitution limits the term of the president of Ethiopia, it does not limit the term of the prime minister. Roughly 68% of the respondents (that would mean 66% to 70% of Ethiopians according to the plus or minus 2% margin of error in the findings of the survey) believe this should change and that the term of the prime minister should be limited to two. 23% do not believe this is necessary while 9% did not respond positively or negatively to this question. Ethiopians were divided on other proposed amendments such as self determination (Article 39), private land ownership, making Addis Ababa a member state of the federation and removing the emblem on the national flag according to Afrobarometer. 43% of the respondents believe Article 39 should be removed from the constitution while 50% do not support this amendment. Amendments to the rules regarding private land ownership are not necessary according to 49% of the respondents. However, 46% support amendments allowing private ownership of land. 37% and 35% of the respondents believed in the removal of the emblem from the national flag and in making Addis Ababa a member state of the federation respectively. The emblem should be kept according to 52% of the respondents while 54% of the same believes Addis Ababa should not be made part of the federation. Finally the study by Afrobarometer also considered the public regarding the inclusiveness of any consultations to amend the constitutions. According to the study, 92 percent - an overwhelming majority - believes individual citizens should be consulted before and during efforts to amend the constitution. Seven percent of the respondents think this is not necessary, while only two percent did not agree or disagree with this question. “In order to guarantee the outcomes of the study and inform policy decisions, dissemination is as important as carrying out a scientifically accurate survey. As such, Afrobarometer will work to get the study and its findings to stakeholders” Mulu concluded by telling Addis Zeybe about the next stage of Afrobarometer’s work. The identification of stakeholders to be engaged in dialogue has been completed according to Mulu. These stakeholders include the three branches of government, policy advocates, civil society organizations, donors, development partners, investors and the media.
August 27, 2020
Ethiopians open to constitutional amendments but public opinion divided when it should be done, a study says
According to a study done by Afrobarometer - a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network…
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