Good Governance and Service Delivery in Selected Municipalities: The Case Study of East and West Gojjam Zones of Amhara Regional State


This study underpinned assessing good governance and service delivery in East and West Gojjam Zones. The researchers used a mixed research approach and employed convergent parallel research design. The researchers depend on both probability and non-probability sampling technique to select the research participants while simple random sampling was applied to select the municipalities from each zone and those who have filled the questionnaires were accidentally selected. Purposive and proportional sampling techniques were used to select the key informants of the study and to determine the sample size respectively. Questionnaires, key informant interviews and FGDs were held to gather the primary data which were further supported by secondary data. Data was presented by using tables and the researchers used thematic and simple descriptive analysis techniques. The study found that the major principles of good governance were not fully exercised and implemented in the study area. The study also revealed that rules and regulations of the municipality were not clearly known or understood by the customers. Despite the existence of rules and regulations in the municipality, customers were not served accordingly. The study additionally found that good governance plays a role in enhancing service delivery in the municipalities. Finally, the study found out that there are various challenges or obstacles that can undermine the practice of good governance while delivering service to the municipality customers. Therefore, the study concluded that the practice of good governance in the provision of service delivery was poor in the municipality. To this end the study recommended that the municipalities should strictly adhere to the principles of good governance and thereby they can enhance service delivery.

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Introduction Background of the Study The concept of governance has emerged as a popular agenda of development literature and appeared in the discussion of social organization since early 1980’s [1]. According to Graham [2] Starting from 1980s, however, the term governance has not reached consensus among different stakeholders. Governance implies how power and authority is exercised and distributed, how decisions are made and implemented, and to what extent citizens can participate in decision-making processes and hold decision makers accountable [3]. Governance covers all aspects of exercise of authority through formal and informal institutions in the management of the resource endowments of a state. The mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups communicate their interests, carry out their legal rights, meet their duties and mediate their difference [3]. In the 1989 World Bank (WB) Study “Sub-Saharan Africa from Crisis to Sustainable Growth”, good governance is indicated as a public service that is efficient, a judicial system that is reliable, and an administration that is accountable to the public [4]. In the 1992 report entitled “Governance and Development”, the World Bank defined good governance as “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development” as cited in [5]. Service delivery refers to receiving services in effective and well organized as possible to the planned recipient. In various occurrences, service delivery indicates a level of excellence on the part of the institution as well as it is a trademark of economies that have encouraged past the fabrication stage. The rise of government’s responsibility to the people in the form of providing what is viewed as necessary services has been a central focus in the field of public administration. The role of government has been in direct correlation with a shift in public values, occurring internationally and nationally, many times driven by nations’ progress towards development. Public services include health, education, employment assistance, infrastructure, and agriculture to name a few. Populations across the globe often demand that their governments deliver public goods to them; however, in some instances, particularly when it concerns extreme poverty, these demands go unmet by governments as a result of bad governance [6]. Poor service delivery remains an important challenge in South Africa, and there have been many violent service delivery protests in municipal areas, and these protests resulted from both the lack of service and from poor quality services rendered [7]. Noting the significance of strengthening capacity for effective service delivery, Ethiopia has designed and implemented large public sector capacity building programmes, which among other things, is aimed at improving public service delivery. The Public Sector Capacity Building Program Support Project introduced in 2004, is one of the largest public sector capacity building programmes that was designed and implemented. The aim of the programme was to improve the scale, efficiency, and responsiveness of public service delivery at the federal, regional, and local level; to empower citizens to participate more effectively in shaping their own development; and to promote good governance and accountability and there by enhance service delivery [4]. According to the Office for the Coordination of Capacity Building the Ethiopian government recognized the importance of improving the performance of service delivery and the creation of accountable and responsible civil service institutions that would improve municipal services by the practice of good governance. Service delivery needs responsiveness by service providers, managers, and policy makers to be answerable, to provide enforcement, and to make relevant organizational changes to make services “people-centered” [3]. The International Federation of Accountants [8], argued that in order to deliver good governance in the public sector, both governing bodies and individuals working for entities must act in the public interest at all times, consistent with the requirements of legislation and government policies, avoiding self-interest and, if necessary, act against a perceived organizational interest. Acting in the public interest implies a wider benefit to society, which should result in positive outcomes for service users and other stakeholders. According to African Institute of Management Development and Governance [9], the lack of good service delivery by Ethiopian public institutions including the municipalities have received much attention in recent years. And Service quality within local government is perceived as being generally poor. Therefore, an assessment of good governance practices is vital for municipal service delivery. Statement of the Problem According to National Urban Planning Institute [10], an urban area is said to be efficient and effective when it provides those urban services that directly affect the quality of urban life, which include social services, physical infrastructure and other municipal related services. Municipal services are those public services, which are rendered and controlled by the urban administration. These include sewerage, sanitation, garbage collection and disposal, public markets, abattoir, recreation and cultural places, etc. The delivery, efficiency and sufficiency of these public services are crucial in determining the quality of urban environment and life. Since the establishment of municipalities in Ethiopia low service delivery is a matter of concern which stagnate country development and the growth of municipalities [10]. There is worldwide dissatisfaction with the quality of service offered in public institutions. In Africa particularly in Ethiopia, many people complain about the quality of customer service representatives, facilities, procedure or policies and the general atmosphere of municipal services. Municipal service delivery is in a very precarious state, as a result, many people in Amhara region have little confidence in the efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of local government as demonstrated by the protests in various municipalities of the region. In addition, the delivery of service by municipal sector is also not properly tailored to customer needs. Therefore, public service delivery faces numerous challenges including public money wastage, low revenue collections, low paid and unmotivated public servants, poor accountability and generally poor performance on service delivery [11; 12]. In most of the Amhara regional state municipal services are attributed to poor institutional governance. Moreover, there are public cries on inadequate electricity services, poor infrastructure, complex bureaucratic procedures, poor customer services, and corruption. There were various studies conducted in Ethiopia and abroad related to this study. Outside Ethiopia for instance, Abdullahi [13] has studied on good governance, institutions and service delivery in Gombe State; Tuhafeni [14] conducted a research entitled an evaluation of good governance and service delivery at sub national levels in Namibia; Woleola has investigated about good governance theory and the quest for good governance in Nigeria; Saada [15] has also conducted a study on the role of good governance practices in enhancing service delivery in public institutions of Tanzania: The case study of Tanzanian Electric supply company; Annie has studied on community expectations and perceptions of municipal service delivery: a case study in the Emfuleni local area in South Arica. Also, in Ethiopia the researchers have reviewed some studies related to the issue. These were for example, Tadele Fekadu [16] has conducted a study on public roads service delivery and governance: The case of Benishangul Gumuz regional state; Kassahun Yirga [17] has studied on the assessment of prevalence of good governance in the public sector: The case of public institutions in Debre Birhan Town; Gizachew Asrat [18] has examined the challenges and opportunities of local good governance in Lumame Town/Awabel Wereda, East Gojjam Zone), Amhara Region and Tewodros has also assessed the prevalence of good governance in the public sectors of Gedeo Zone: The case of Yirga Cheffe Town Administration, Ethiopia. All the above-mentioned studies failed to emphasize the practice of good governance in service delivery especially in the municipalities of East and West Gojjam Zones. Therefore, to fill this gap the researchers were motivated to conduct this study. Objectives of the Study The general objective of this study was to assess good governance and service delivery in the municipalities of East and West Gojjam Zones of Amhara Regional State. This study has the also the following specific objectives. 1. To determine the extent by which stakeholders in the municipalities are adhered to good governance practices in service delivery. 2. To identify the challenges that hinder good governance practices in the provision of service delivery in the study areas. 3. To investigate the level customers satisfaction on the services provided by the municipal authorities on the study area. Significances of the Study This study would serve as a foundation stone for providing information to researchers, development practitioners, and policymakers working in the surrounding zones and Woreda with regard to good governance and service delivery. It will also enable the government bodies and its partners to design policies for enhancing service delivery through good governance practices for the present and future generations. Moreover, stakeholders interested in intervening with the aim of promoting service delivery into the study area would benefit from the findings of the study. Scope of the Study The study was delimited to assess good governance practices in service delivery in the municipalities of East and West Gojjam Zones. Specifically, this study was limited to the municipalities of the two zones of Amhara Regional State. These were Bure, Mankusa, Finoteselam, Dembecha, Amber, Dejen, Bichena and Mertolemariam. The study was also limited towards the practice of good governance and service delivery in the selected study areas. Difficulty of colleting some of those data due to the negligence of the participants, unwillingness to fill the questionnaire were also part of the limitations of the study. Even some of the participants were fear of giving genuine responses. Research Methodology The study was conducted using mixed approach to get the desired evidence from the response providers. The objective for this study clearly shows that the intention of this research was to assess the practice of good governance for the improvement of service delivery in the municipalities. Using a combined approach would therefore enable the researchers to “collect numerous forms of data and examine them from various angles to construct a rich and meaningful picture of a complex, multifaceted situation” [19]. Research Design According to Saunders [20] the choice of the research design depends on the objectives of the study, the available data sources, the cost of obtaining the data and the availability of time. Research design is used to structure the research; to show how all of the major part of the research project the samples or group, work together in addressing research question [21]. Accordingly, the researchers employed convergent parallel research design. This method was appropriate to merge qualitative and quantitative data so as to provide a broad analysis of the research problem. The researchers collected both qualitative and quantitative data at roughly the same time and integrate the information in the interpretation of the overall results. Participants of the Study The participants of this study were municipal officials and authorities who have been addressed using key informant interviews. Municipal office professionals or service providers and accidentally contacted service users of the municipality were mainly the participants of the study. Sampling Techniques and Sample Size The researchers relied on both probability and non-probability sampling techniques to select the research participants. From probability sampling techniques the researchers used random sampling techniques to select municipalities from East and West Gojjam Zone, accordingly four municipalities from each zone were selected randomly. The study used purposive sampling technique to select respondents of each municipal official in the study. In Addition, respondents of service users of the municipality were selected based on convenience sampling (accidental) method. This is due to the nature of the service users unavailability in a fixed time and place. A sample is a collection of some parts of the population on the basis of which judgment is made. It should be small enough to make data collection convenient and should be large enough to be a true representative of the population which is selected [22]. The sample size was determined by using proportional sampling technique. Since the number of service users in the municipality were not exactly known the researchers used proportional sampling technique. Cochran [23] adopted a formula for calculating sample size when the population is infinite. That is, when the degree of variability of the population is not known Cochran advised to use the following sample formula to calculate the sample size. no= Where, n0 is the sample size, z is the selected critical value of desired confidence level, p is the estimated proportion of an attribute that is present in the population, q p = - 1 and e is the desired level of precision. By considering the maximum variability, which is equal to 50% ( p = 0.5) and taking 95% confidence level with ±5% precision, the calculation for required sample size was determined as follows; p = 0.5 and hence q =1-0.5 = 0.5; e = 0.05; z =1.96 so, no= =384.16=384 Based on the above formula the sample size of the study was 384 as a whole and specifically 48 respondents have filled the questionnaires from each municipality. Tools of Data Collection The instruments or tools of data collection employed in this study were questionnaires, three FGDs and semi-structured interviews. The self-administered questionnaires were prepared in line with the research objectives and they include both closed and open-ended questions. Additionally, semi-structured interview with the municipal administration officials used as a primary data gathering tool. Two key informant interviews from each municipality were part of the study. Hence the Semi-structured interview provides an opportunity of getting reliable data, and it provided a chance for the interviewer and interviewees to have better interaction and clarification of the issues as well as support the response to be obtained through the questionnaires. Data Analysis Methods Data collected through questionnaire was arranged, condensed and corrected according to their similarities. These quantitative raw data were analyzed using descriptive statics. Data was also presented through tables, percentage and frequencies while qualitative data (i.e. nonnumeric data) collected through semi-structured interview was first summed up together and then was thematically analyzed. Data Analysis and Interpretation Background and Characteristics of Respondents The reason of the researchers in recording sex of respondents was to show that respondents came from both sexes. Unfortunately, the sex of respondents in table 1 item number 1 shows that 59.1% them were males and the rest of 40.9% were females. From this the study reveals that males frequently visit the municipality than females which indicates that females in the municipalities are not equally visiting or following up municipalities to get public service. Table 1 item numbers 2 indicates that majority of the respondents that is 41.4% of them were in the age group of 36-45, 33.9% of them were in between 18 and 35 and lastly 24.7 % of them were above 45 years of age. Hence the result of this study indicates that most of the respondent’s mature people who can really understood the issues related with the study. Table 1 General Information of Respondents in Terms of Age, Gender and Educational Background No Item Categories Frequency Percentage 1. Sex Male 227 59.1% Female 157 40.9% Total 384 100% 2. Age 18-35 130 33.9% 36-45 159 41.4% Above 45 95 24.7% Total 384 100% 3. Educational Status Primary 48 12.5% Secondary 52 13.5% Preparatory 75 19.6% Diploma 87 22.7% Degree 57 14.8% MA and above 34 8.9% No 31 8% Total 384 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). The sole reason of researchers in investigating educational status of the respondents was to ensure that the service takers can easily understand issues and provide reasonable responses to the questionnaires. As a result, only 8 % were not educated, 8.9% were MA and above, 14.8% were degree holders, 22.7% were diploma holders, 19.6% were in preparatory level, 13.5% were in a secondary level and lastly 12.5% were at a primary level. From this the researchers concluded that insignificant number of respondents were uneducated. Table 2 Experience of Respondents in Being Served from the Municipality Experience 0-5 years 5-10 years 10-15 years 15-20 years Above 20 years Total Frequency 85 111 76 57 55 384 Percentage 22% 29% 20% 15% 14% 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). Table 2 displays that 22% of the respondents from 0-5 years, 29% from 5-10 years, 20% from 10-15 years, 15% from 15-20 years and 14% above 20 years have been using service from the municipalities. This result indicates that almost more than half of the respondents do have enough experience about the situation of service provision in the municipalities because most of them have been served for more than five years so that they can understand what was being exercised in the institution. In short, they have an understanding of the situation of service delivery at the municipality. Questions Related to the Practice of Good Governance Table 3 Respondents Knowhow about Good Governance Response Frequency Percentage Totally aware 117 30 % Aware 129 34% Partially aware 75 20% Not at all 63 16 % Total 384 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). As it is demonstrated in the above table 3 regarding the knowhow of good governance 30% of respondents have full knowhow about good governance, 34% of them have awareness, 20% of them are partially aware and 16% of them don’t know anything about it at all. This shows that the respondents have no difficulty in responding to questions related to good governance which fills the problem of responses that comes as a result of knowledge gap. Table 4 Respondents Awareness about the Rules and Regulations of the Municipality Service Provision Do you know the municipalities’ service delivery rules and regulations? Frequency Percentage Yes 147 38.3% No 237 61.7% Total 384 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). As it is clearly presented in table 4, most of the respondents that is, 61.7% do not have the understanding and the knowhow about the municipalities service delivery rules and regulations and the remaining 38.3% of the respondents have information about it. Hence this finding indicates that the respondents were not able to clearly recognize the rules and regulations of the municipalities. This indicates the persistence of knowledge gap in knowing and understanding the rule and the regulations of the municipalities. The rules must be known in so that they can be actually enforced and applied consistently and fairly, that conflicts be resolvable by an independent judicial system, and that procedures for amending and abolishing the rules exist and are publicly known. The key informant interview result from Finote Selam Municipality official which was conducted on 14/05/2011 confirms the above finding as follows; He argues that most of the service users didn’t have an understanding about the rules and regulations of the municipality and there is a divergence of customers needs with the rules and regulations. Since they didn’t know exactly the rules and regulations of the municipality, they blindly consider the municipality as the main source of the problem while in fact there are plenty of problems on the side of the service users. Kassahun Yirga [17] identified that good governance will persist in any institution if and only if the whole staff of the institution have the understanding and the awareness of good governance which can be addressed through seminars, trainings, workshops, pamphlets, journals, etc. Inability of awareness creation through different mechanisms to concerned bodies about the service they provide will provoke confusion among stakeholders and there by leads to the total destruction of service provision. Generally, the limitation in awareness creation will produce low value for good governance both among the civil servants and service users. They may also consider good governance as an idea or concept that has no significance for efficient service delivery. According to FGD participants most of them declared that they didn’t fully know the rules and regulations of the municipality. Table 5 Implementation Level of Rules and Regulations of the Municipalities Level of Implementation Response Frequency Percentage Very High 54 14.1% High 56 14.5% Low 89 23.2% Very Low 185 48.2% Total 384 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). Regarding the extent of implementation of rules and regulations by the municipalities 14.1% replied very high, 14.5% said high, 23.2% replied low and 48.2% responded as very low. Therefore, the finding confirmed that the level of implementing the rules and the regulations of the municipalities was highly diminished. The interview conducted with House Development Official of Dembecha municipality in 5/05/2011 proves the above finding as follows; As it is obvious rules and regulations are made by the regional state and distributed to the municipalities in the region. These documents are given only to high officials of the municipalities and will not be clarified or distributed to all staffs. Even some claim that the rules and the regulations as ambiguous and have no practical implementation. Thus, this leads to obstacle for quality service provision in the institution. This idea was also substantiated by FGD discussion which was conducted at Bichena municipality. They said that rules and regulations of the municipality are not practiced. Some of the municipality officials in return for money they frequently serve people by breaking the rules and regulations that they are sure of getting money or any other incentives. Table 6 Respondents Attitude towards Service Provision in the Municipality Attitude towards service provision Response Frequency Percentage Very Good 64 16.7% Good 76 19.8% Poor 126 32.8% Bad 118 30.7% Total 384 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). In table 6 above, the attitude of respondents towards their municipality is bad constituting 30.7%, in addition 32.8% of the respondents claim it is poor, some of them (that is 19.8%) replied good and the rest 16.7% concluded that it is very good. Consequently, this finding indicates that the service users didn’t have a good perception to the service provision process in the municipality. One of the interview results which was taken from Bure Town Service Provision Office in 14/05/2011 supplement the finding raised above. Customers have awful perception to the municipality service provision. According to the respondent the reason for this bad image was because of frequent leadership replacement open up gaps in service provision. Even if the institution has posted the ethical principles but they are failed to be implemented by the staffs. In addition, most of the staffs lack benevolent and honest habits of service delivery. Table 7 item number 1 shows that 16.4% of respondents strongly assure that there is transparency in service delivery at the municipality, 15.6% of them agree that there is transparency in service delivery in the municipality, and above all 68% of the respondents disagree or strongly disagree in the prevalence of service delivery in the municipality. Mulat Chanyalew [24] finds out that access of appropriate information is good enough to deliver efficient and effective service delivery. Failure to release information by staff members will put service provision at risk. Table 8 item number 2 shows that 14.8% of respondents strongly agree that there is accountability in service delivery at the municipality, 16.2% of them agree that there is accountability in service delivery in the municipality, and in aggregate 69% of the respondents disagree or strongly disagree the prevalence of accountability in service delivery in the municipality. Whenever a delivery system is adopted by a particular municipal government, it remains the responsibility of that municipality to be accountable for all its activities, which includes the assurance of service provision of an acceptable quality [25]. This finding was confirmed by an interview carried out with Dejen Manicipality Chief Excutive (16/05/2011). Table 7 Respondents Stand on Implementation Level of the Principles of Good Governance in the Municipalities No Principles of good governance Category Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree Total 1. Transparency Frequency 154 107 60 17 384 Percentage 40.1% 27.9% 15.6% 16.4% 100% 2. Accountability Frequency 124 141 62 57 384 Percentage 32.3% 36.7% 16.2% 14.8% 100% 3. Participation Frequency 102 131 76 75 384 Percentage 26.6% 34.1% 19.8% 19.5% 100% 4. Responsiveness Frequency 126 138 58 62 384 Percentage 32.9% 35.9% 15.1% 16.1% 100% 5. Rule of law Frequency 144 108 76 56 384 Percentage 37.5% 28.1% 19.8% 14.6% 100% 6. Equality Frequency 174 111 50 49 384 Percentage 45.3% 28.9% 13% 12.8% 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). He argued that our municipality is highly affected by the problem of accountability. He said that if we had really practiced accountability, all of us would have been resigned or removed from office. Most of the staff members as mine judgment are not free from being questionable. This indicates that we are not effective in being accountable. Table 7 item number 3 shows that 19.5% of respondents strongly accept that there is participation in service delivery at the municipality, 19.8% of them agree that there is participation in service delivery in the municipality, and a total of 60.7% of the respondents disagree or strongly disagree in the existence of participation in service delivery in the municipality. Here the interview held with Amber Municipality Official (16/05/2011) strengthened this idea. He believed that one of the main good governance problems of the institution are lack of involving the community in matters affecting them and lack of coordination with concerned institutions. In addition, according to Girma Defere [26] absence of people’s participation in the planning strategies of an institution is one indication for the dominance of bad governance. Peoples should take part in the formulation of policies and the making of decisions to have good governance in the institution. Good governance requires opening of opportunities to the concerned bodies to participate during the formulation of development strategies and related affairs that directly affects the communities and groups. That is, they should be able to participate in the design and implementation of programmes and projects [27]. Table 7 item number 4 shows that 16.1% of respondents strongly agree that there is responsiveness in service delivery at the municipality, 15.1% of them agree that there is responsiveness in service delivery in the municipality, and overall 68.8 % of the respondents disagree or strongly disagree in the prevalence of responsiveness in service delivery in the municipality. According to an interview conducted with Mankusa Municipality Manager (15/05/2011), he said that the municipality is known by different complaints. The major reason of such kind of complains is inability of the municipality to provide quick response for each case which is related with lack of committed decision making by officials in the municipality which has a great impact on responsiveness. According to Kassahun Yirga [17] absence of immediate solution for customers complaints and delaying the cases of customers will lead them to find solutions to their cases illegally and there by becomes one of the main problem of good governance and thereby puts service delivery at risk. Table 7 item number 15 shows that 14.6% of respondents strongly believe that there exists rule of law in service delivery at the municipality, 19.8% of them agree that there is rule of law in service delivery in the municipality, and 65.3% of the respondents disagree or strongly disagree in the existence of rule of law in service delivery in the municipality. This finding was also supported by an interview held with Finoteselam Municipality Office Authority (14/05/2011) , he explained that though there are rules and regulations of the municipality they were not fully implemented and exercised. For instance, there are some staffs making favor to someone that provides them money or someone who is their own relative. Generally speaking, he said that the office is open for corruption rather than to serve the customers based on rules and regulations. In addition, according to an interview conducted with Mankusa Municipality Manager (15/05/2011) there were three recorded cases of staff members who were serving without the rules and regulations. These were convicted as practicing corruption and rent seeking so that they were given a written warning. According to the focus group discussants they said that even on the side of service takers there are some who want to maximize their interest and needs by neglecting the rules and regulations of the municipality. Rampant Illegal land grabbing’s in the town is one of the manifestations of failure to act in accordance with the rules and regulations of the municipality. Table 7 item number 6 shows that 12.8% of respondents strongly argue that there is equality in service delivery at the municipality, 13% of them agree that there is equality in service delivery in the municipality, and in sum 74.2% of the respondents disagree or strongly disagree in the prevalence of equality in service delivery in the municipality. This idea was supported by an interview carried out with Amber Municipality Authority (16/05/2011). He said that there is a number of staff who make a different treatment for those customers whom they are very intimate and there by delaying the cases of others. Municipal services must be equitable and accessible for all local residents and must enable all municipalities to achieve and fulfill their objectives and duties [25]. In general, Tuhafeni [14] complement the above findings by arguing that good governance practices couldn’t achieve its proposed plans in the deficiency of democratic values like accountability, rule of law, transparency, integrity and openness active public participation. Table 8 Respondents Feedback towards the Role of Good Governance in Promoting Service Delivery Do you believe that good governance can enhance service delivery in the municipality? Category No of respondents Percentage Yes 239 62.2% No 145 37.8% Total 384 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). Regarding the role played by good governance in the enhancement of service delivery majority of the respondents that is 62.2% of them considered good governance as having significant role for service delivery and some of the respondents composed of 37.8% undermined the role of good governance in enhancing service delivery. According to Saada [15] good governance is seen as a positive stimulator for the better performance of service delivery. In addition, Tanveer [28] argued that good governance could secure justice, empowerment, employment and efficient service delivery in a country. Finally, all the results from the interview indicate that good governance as an essential element to promote efficient and effective service delivery. Table 9 Respondents Feedback towards Good Governance and Service Delivery Category No of respondents Percentage 1. Have you satisfied with the services given by the municipality? Yes 130 33.9% No 254 66.1% Total 384 100% 2. Do you think that problems related with service delivery are a result of the absence of good governance in the municipality? Yes 278 72.4% No 106 27.6% Total 384 100% Source: Researchers Own Survey (2019). In relation to satisfaction of service delivery in the municipality by service takers in line with table 9 item number one, 66.1% of the respondents replied that they are not satisfied by the services given in the municipality while the remaining 33.9% are satisfied. Respondents were asked about why they were dissatisfied with service provision in the municipality, so most of them replied that the major cause for their displeasure towards service delivery was the lack of good governance practices in the municipalities. This idea was also supported by an interview result conducted with Bure town complaint handling office authority. He said that, The municipality has failed to provide service that can fully address the concerns of the customers. If you ask me why, my response is clear, that is, in our municipality the twelve ethical principles are only posted for symbolic value (only for formality) with no real application by majority of the staff members. This leads to customers to be disappointed by our service delivery”. Good governance principles which are complementary elements of ethical values are not fully exercised in most public institutions [29]. The main challenges related to inadequate service delivery and poor governance are; the degree of corruption, institutional capacity constraints relating to appropriate skills and staff, lack of transparency, lack of accountability by councilors and municipal officials, lack of public participation in issues of governance, failure to comply with municipal legislation and other by-laws, failure to prioritize community needs and budgeting processes not aligned, tensions between the political and administrative sections of the municipalities and weak financial viability of the municipalities (FGD result conducted at Bichena in 08/29/2011). Respondents were also asked to mention the responsible factors for the absence of good governance in the municipality, hence they mentioned that the major factors for the absence of good governance in the municipality were lack of qualified human resource, unstable leadership tenure in office(frequent leadership replacements), problems of transparency, corruption, staffs do not respect customers, lack of immediate response for cases, punctuality problem, failure to use digital mechanisms delayed service provision, frequent appointments for a single case, discrepancy in between the staff members, unequal treatment that is prevalence prejudice, lack of integrity, seeking favors, lack of awareness regarding the rules and regulations, not availing in office, decisions are always biased to the rich, service delivery doesn’t consider societal needs, failure to make lawful decisions for those who are guilty of illegal activities, inability to involve the society in their affairs, influence that comes from the ruling political party and lack of commitment. To complement the above findings, one of the interview results which were conducted with Finoteselam Municipality Official (14/05/2011) confirmed that lack of qualified and insufficient human resource as the major impediment of quality service delivery which is a symptom of bad governance. As an example, he said that in the municipality plan implementation, urban greening and development as well as waste disposal which needs a number of personnel’s in the field, are run by only a few professionals. According to Gizachew Asrat [18] with a limited skilled human power change in any institution is ridiculous. Good governance will not persist in any institutions unless their exists governance reforms corresponding to the principles of all the theories of governance which embraced in all ramifications, ranging from transparency, justice, accountability, participation of the public, leadership responsibilities, efficiency and effectiveness, freedom and civil liberties, among others. Which generally entails to boom good governance practice in public institutions, service delivery must reflect all the principles of good governance. According to the idea of Mankusa Town Municipality Manager (15/05/2011) regarding why good governance practices have not achieved their goals were lack of community cooperativeness, frequent leadership substitutions, lack of commitment towards ones task, reluctance, rent seeking behaviors of the staff, limited budget given to the municipality couldn’t addressed the needs of the society as a whole and specifically the customers. According to table 9 item number two respondents were asked about whether service delivery is a result of absence of good governance or not. Consequently, 72.4% of the respondents replied that problems of service delivery are a result of the absence of good governance and the remaining 27.6% of respondents reacted that problems related to service delivery are not the result of the non-existence of good governance practices. From this we can conclude that the absence of good governance deters service delivery in the municipalities. Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusions The ultimate goal of public institutions is providing service to citizens in an effective way. In addition, the services provided by the institutions are causes of satisfaction and dissatisfaction of service users. But, poor service delivery and the practice of good governance remains an overwhelming challenge in most municipalities. To this end the researchers tried to assess the practice of good governance and service delivery in the municipalities of East and West Gojjam Zones. As a result, the findings in chapter four reveals that not only lack of understanding rules and regulations by the service users in the municipality but also the service givers also are not able to fully implement rules and regulations of the institution. The customers taking service from the municipality were having bad outlook to the municipality. This bad image towards the institution emanates from frequent leadership change (short tenure of office), inability of the staffs to be benevolently and honestly serve the people. It is obvious that to have good governance an any institution it is believed that its principles or values should be really exercised in the institution. Unfortunately, most of the municipalities were known by bad record of good governance practices. The finding indicates that the reason for such impractical values and principles are failure to appropriately release information’s; not involving the people in matters that concerns them; most of the staffs are not accountable for their activities that they are undertaking; service provision is inequitable and inaccessible for all. The finding also has indicated that the major causes for the dissatisfaction of service delivery in the municipalities were the extremely prominent poor governance practice. The challenges for inadequate service delivery and poor governance(major impediments for quality service delivery) was corruption, skill gaps on the part of service givers and limited human resource, failure to governed by the principles of good governance, inability to comply with municipal legislations and other related rules in the municipalities, weak financial viability(limited budget), and reluctance to prioritize on community needs, unsettled leadership tenure, even unwillingness of the community to cooperate with the municipalities. Recommendations To address the problems of municipal service delivery in the study area the researchers suggest the following recommendations. · The municipalities to minimize complaints from the customers they should organize different occasions to give awareness about the rules and regulations (customer charters) of their institutions. Changes in the mindset, behavior and skills require willingness and commitment to continuous learning and capacity to adapt to different circumstances. · There should be a strict follow up mechanism of the staff of the municipality to check whether the customers are served well or not so that the bad image will be reversed to the better condition. · To address the law implementation of good governance principles, the municipalities should strictly adhere not on simply posting them on a board, but it is advised to oversee their implementation level. · To alleviate frequent staff replacement the municipalities should observe its negative impact on service delivery so that they should strive to retain or keep experienced staffs in the municipality. · The municipalities should constantly monitor citizen’s needs and expectations in order to respond to citizen’s priorities for service improvement. · Most of the respondents stated that the municipalities lack skilled human power. To this effect, the municipality should invest in educating manpower. · The municipalities should build up institutional mechanisms that can allow the public to make direct involvement and disseminate information to the service users in a way that can be easily accessible by everyone. · To address the challenges of good governance and inadequate service delivery, both municipality officials and the community members should work as much as possible.


About the authors

Mulugeta Nega

Debre Markos University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0587-4730

MA in Governance and Development Studies, Lecturer of the Department of Civics and Ethical Studies

A3, Debre Markos, Ethiopia

Genanew Jemberu

Debre Markos University

ORCID iD: 0000-0000-0000-0001

MA in Gender and Development Studies, Lecturer of the Department of Civics and Ethical Studies

A3, Debre Markos, Ethiopia

Degu Asress

Debre Markos University

ORCID iD: 0000-0000-0000-0001

PhD in Political Science, Lecturer of the Department of Civics and Ethical Studies

A3, Debre Markos, Ethiopia


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