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Good Governance, Accountability and Development: Aceh as a Case Study

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(These are the notes from an address to the recent International Conference on Governance and Development, Padang, Indonesia, 15 December 2010)

Good governance theory


      = Electoral accountability

      Requires transparency

      = Good governance (reduced corruption, focused work, better performance)

= more effective development

Post-conflict theory

      High expectations

      Limited capacity

      Lingering conflict-era organisation and approaches

      = problematic post conflict transition

Post-Conflict Practice in Aceh:
Some positive outcomes

      Since 2005, new democratic political system : local parties, local government, accountability

      Development: education/technical skills, health care, economic growth

      Jailing of corrupt former governor

      Limits on TNI activity, ‘businesses’

… but also negatives

      LoGA vs MOU

      Problems with reintegration – limited funds

      Some ineffective bupatis – low capacity

      Central government lacks responsiveness

      11 national bills still required to implement LoGA (8 DPR, 3 President)

      DPRA ineffective, self-serving, very low capacity

      59 local bills still required for LoGA

      20 bills presented by governor

      Only one bill discussed: Qanun Wali Nanggroe on behalf of Malik Mahmud

      QWN executive powers contradict 2006 Stockholm agreement on democratisation of GAM/PA

      QWN contradicts Indonesian Constitution, LoGA, MOU and Teungku Hasan di Tiro’s signed commitment to symbolic status only

      Top down/bottom up divisions within GAM/PA, GAM/PA’s struggle for internal accountability

      Hence retention of some conflict-era methods

… leads to increasing               disappointment

      Some believe limited implementation = sell-out of struggle

      Political agitation – but democratic space to allow it

      Fragmentation of previous political loyalties = dynamic realignments

Aceh conforming to post-conflict/early democratisation type

but not marked by the broad post-conflict failure of some

Executive government and                               accountable development

      Universal health care

      Improved education, international scholarships

      Anti-corruption campaign

      Ban of commercial logging/protection of wildlife

Rejection of Qanun Jinayat

Self interest continues in some areas

      Many panglimas now wealthy

      Continuing elements of patron-client relations

      Pressure for traditional methods of business favors and extortion (formerly pajak nanngroe)


      Provocations overcome, TNI-police rivalry ended

      TNI, police business diminished to near zero

      Heightened political competition consistent with emerging plural/ democratic process

And positives around the peace

      Presidential commitment to maintaining peace

      Gubernatorial commitment to retaining peace

      Re-engagement of CMI in watching brief

Aceh’s dynamic political                                         environment

      2011 pilkada to change several poor performing bupatis

      Conflict-era loyalties being tested

      Governorship will be hotly contested: party vs performance?

      2014: existing DPRA members will struggle to be re-elected



      Discontent producing continuing demands for further change

      Some local politicians to pay the price of failure to achieve that change

      Incentive for performance: accountability to produce better political performance, or else removal

      Conclusion Mixed performance based on low capacity, old practices

      Commitment by some politicians to good governance and good outcomes

      Desire for re-election enhancing performance

      Under-performers likely to struggle to continue

      Political accountability arrives more slowly than is desired

      … but it does arrive

      Despite expected problems, the logic of accountable politics in Aceh continues to progress!

      Successful on peace

      Democratic consolidation?


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