SÉMINAIRES / SEMINARS
Gimgema: The evaluation of civil servants in EPRDF Ethiopia
By Mehdi Labzae (PhD candidate, University Paris I-Pantheon Sorbonne, France)
Date: Monday February 18, 10-12am
Venue: Berhanou Abebe Library, French Center for Ethiopian Studies (Jan Meda, https://goo.gl/maps/sutSritp3MU2)
Based on an ethnographical survey of land administration, the presentation analyzes the Ethiopian answer to the dilemma of how to evaluate civil servants. The gimgema evaluation was introduced by TPLF fighters in liberated areas during the fight against the Derg. By this time, it was practiced among fighters and peasants in order to evaluate military operations, the new administration and ensuring the accountability of the fighters.
By this time, the gimgema public evaluation involving criticism and self-criticism was inspired by Marxist texts and similar procedures found in the USSR and socialist China. When the ERPDF took control of the whole state apparatus, the practice of gimgema spread in the civil service. Changing world order and the rise of the New Public Management agenda led to new justifications for the gimgema system, now rebranded as a tool for accountability, transparency, efficiency of the civil service, and commitment. Gimgema now has much in common with neoliberal human resource management techniques. However, the party remained central in the process of evaluating state agents. This presentation retraces the history of the gimgema, and shows how civil servants find their way through bureaucratic procedures.