Abiy’s political skills will be measured by the tactic how he balances the challenges from Amhara and Oromo nationalisms. He has to strike a balance between these two interests within his party. Both nationalities claim that they were marginalized from political power and economy during the last twenty seven years. Abiy will definitely harmonize these two interests and create a fair political system that hosts them comfortably towards unity.
Amharan nationalists’ claims include “restoring” Amhara identity in external territories and providing protection for Amhara living around the country, including by instituting Amhara zones to achieve self-administration.
But a big question remains: what is the future of Amhara nationalism, and by extension ethnic federalism, if and when its proponents realize that they can’t deliver on most of their promises to the people?
Even ideologically, the majority of Amharic speakers have been historically affiliated with Ethiopianism, instead of Amhara nationalism. So ethnic Amhara movements didn’t receive grassroots support—until now that is. This time around Amharan nationalism has risen to its peak and it is becoming a challenge for politicians in office.
On the other hand, Oromo nationalism has been mistreated by the former regime. This time around, Oromo nationalism is becoming a huge challenge. Analysts argue that Abiy lost the trust of Oromo nationalists because of his emphasis on a pan-Ethiopian identity.
According to some analysts, it can be said that Abiy is both an Oromo nationalist and an Ethiopian patriot at the same time. He walks a fine line between the two nationalisms. As a result, some Oromo nationalists feel betrayed that their victory was stolen by the Ethio-Amhara nationalists.
In November, Abiy Ahmed established a new pan-Ethiopian political party. By transforming the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) into an all-inclusive, pan-Ethiopian, national party, Abiy is creating a political force that could bring an end to all these problems from the two nationalisms and ensure Ethiopians have the option to elect a governing party that represents all of them.
Actually, a Prosperity Party (PP) government would strengthen, not damage, Ethiopia’s federal arrangement. I believe if a national party with a wide base takes control of the federal government, this would encourage the regional states to work on their relations and increase their collaboration.
The establishment of the PP could be a cornerstone in Ethiopia’s journey towards becoming an enviable democracy where its diverse peoples live in peace, unity and prosperity.
I believe that the prosperity party is the only democratic institution capable of saving Ethiopia from political groups with ill political interests because of its moderate nature. In my opinion no opposition group has the organizational and administrative expertise necessary to wield power effectively at this given moment in time.
I believe that Prosperity Party would reverse the fragmentation that currently plagues the country, and boost political inclusivity.
Abiy’s alternative to the EPRDF ideology is a concept he named Medemer. It is a model that rejects ethnic oppression and instead focuses on harmony and national unity. This has won Abiy support from “pan Ethiopian” forces because he seems to agree with them that the EPRDF and its ethno-national federal order is the source of Ethiopia’s troubles. Their support for the PP is driven less by a careful assessment of Ethiopia’s social and political fault lines and more by their belief in the need for a homogenizing ideal of a “common identity”, which they say has the potential to bring together a long-divided country and make the historic step towards national unity.
Nevertheless, many Ethiopians appear to be pleased with the merger, seeing it as an opportunity to unite the country and resolve its many deep-rooted problems. Indeed, it is difficult to deny that a pan-Ethiopian party led by people who have ample experience and significant public support has the unprecedented potential to address major challenges like growing ethnic polarization and violence in Ethiopia.
The foremost political mistake done by Abiy Ahmed is the move he took to widen the political spectrum. In the absence of strong democratic institutions that regulate the direction of the democratic system, democracy is not functional. That is one of the reasons why the nation is losing political stability. We need to build institutions in advance. Then we will move on democracy.
Historically, Ethiopian political institutions such as constitutions, legislatures and judiciaries have been seen as weak and vulnerable to manipulation, leading some to claim that the nation is ‘institution less’
By drawing attention to how institutions can shape the practice of politics, this article demonstrates that electoral commissions, economic regulations and systems of land tenure are vital to our understanding of contemporary Ethiopia.
We need to describe and compare Parliament and the Supreme Court and examines the relationship between them. Parliament may still be a great institution, but its members are no longer great men. How long can a great institution remain great in the hands of small men?
Parliament and the state legislatures, the Supreme Court and high courts, and political parties, highlighting the maladies that beset these basic institutions of democracy today have to be strengthened. When we look at the role of government and opposition in Ethiopian democracy, civil society and the state, constitutional morality, how institutions work and why they fail, the representation of Ethiopia as a society of castes and communities as well as a nation of citizens, pluralism and liberalism in Ethiopia, the distinction between law and custom, and the relationship between sociology and ideology.
This balance between the government and the opposition is considered integral to the success of a functioning democracy in diverse countries such as in Ethiopia.
Institutions are getting stronger and free of political control though empirical evidence suggests otherwise. In order to provide relief to masses, judiciary has taken decision against government and endorsed laws. While Election Commission of Ethiopia administers polls and Finance Commission allocates funds without any partisanship. Bureaucracy, backbone of administrative system in modern democracies is not autonomous in Ethiopia. The deeply rooted clientelism in political system has weakened rule of rational authority in Ethiopia.
Since their genesis in the 21st century, political parties, social organizations have been initial. In particular, Ethiopian political parties emerged as an organized expression of social and political conflict. Organizations liberal, conservative, rural and social democrats tried to reaffirm their positions and through the organization of parties.
Democratic Ethiopia will evolved political institutions and practices that reflect both centralizing and decentralizing forces. The ruling political party is highly disciplined national organization, and deputies (MPs) in the parliament (the Cortes) answer directly to their party leaders and whips throughout the legislative process.
When I examine the ideals of democracy and the actual operation of its institutions in Ethiopia, focusing on those political institutions that began to emerge have to be strengthened. The institutions of civil society are of particular importance to the operation of democracy. The weakness of the institutions of civil society explains in part why democracy in Ethiopia is weak. We have to look at Parliament and the state legislatures, the Supreme Court and high courts, and political parties, as well as the maladies by which the basic institutions of democracy are beset in Ethiopia today.
In democratic political systems, parliaments have three main functions: lawmaking, oversight and representation.
According to our definitions, institutions are a socially constructed set of arrangements routinely exercised and accepted. Democratic institutions are in essence a set of arrangements for organizing political competition, legitimating rulers and implementing rule
The British colonies are lucky in that they have strong institutions. That is why nations like Kenya are able to enjoy democracy.
Democratic institutions in Ethiopia are weakened in the past twenty seven years. Abiy has to build them in advance to progressing on democracy. The political space should not be widened in the absence of democratic institutions.
Thus, I recommend that the political space has to be narrowed until the job of building institutions is done.
Ed.’s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. The writer can be reached at [email protected].
Contributed by Tagel Getahun