It’s Ethiopians who come to their beloved nation’s succor in times of adversity. All citizens who genuinely have Ethiopia’s interest at heart have no choice but to stand steadfast regardless of the gravity or frequency of the challenges that come their way for life is not a bed of roses. Contemporary political developments in Ethiopia are evoking mixed emotions. While some are apprehensive and wonder what they can do others are sinking into despair at everything they see and hear. Many are distraught as the nation is destabilized due to internecine conflicts, fueled by inflammatory rhetoric or lies, which have claimed the lives of thousands and led to the displacement of millions from their homes. And countless others are feeling despondent due to the government’s inability to uphold the rule of law by bringing bullies bent on fomenting unrest. This said it’s incumbent on true patriots to weather the storm with patience in the realization that any transition process is apt to be fraught with difficulties at every step. No one should ever give up on their country.
One of the worst malaises afflicting Ethiopia for far too long has been the absence of transparency in the conduct of government affairs. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) promised in his inaugural speech to Parliament that transparency would be the byword of his administration. Sadly, opacity still remains a hallmark of most government organs. From the Office of the Prime Minister down to the local level all government structures have a long way to go before they can e deemed to be transparent. As an essential prerequisite to bringing about accountability at every level of government, transparency is instrumental in ensuring that public officials duly discharge the responsibilities entrusted to them. Unfortunately, the poor job the government is doing in terms of facilitating the smooth flow of information at its end has led to the proliferation of fabricated lies that not only induce public unease, but also burn the bridge that ought to exist between the people and the government. This is precisely what is unfolding in Ethiopia right now. When the government neglects its duty to work vigilantly at thwarting anything that elicits public confidence in it desperation is bound to set in sooner or later. Therefore, it’s imperative that the government do whatever is in its power to see to it that citizens do not give up on their country.
If the public is not to lose heart in Ethiopia or engage in unnecessary acts, the government is obliged to carry out its law enforcement duties with a sense of purpose. This calls for the establishment of a strong and trustworthy legal system which protects defenseless citizens from criminals or individuals with political clout. Nowadays forces intent on engineering a state capture confident of the support of their base are brazenly challenging the government’s authority are creep up here and there. If these forces are not nipped in the bud using the full force of the law, the country will descend into chaos. Like any other people Ethiopians expect their government to protect their safety and security as well as to make good on its promise to build a democratic system which guarantees freedom, equality and prosperity. These age-old aspirations of the people can be realized to the extent that the rule of law triumphs over lawlessness. Needless to say the government must abide by the principle of due process as it undertakes law enforcement activities. Nonetheless, it’s of the essence to bring anyone that flouts the law with impunity. It’s then that the public’s waning hope in the nation will be revived.
The reform that has been taking place since Prime Minister Abiy came to power about a year ago continues to be the major topic of discussion among Ethiopians. A significant number of those who had wholeheartedly supported the change now fret that the country always messes up the opportunities that come its way and are beginning to change their minds in the belief that it has been hijacked by elements harboring nefarious motives. Others though are still staunchly behind the change saying they will not be discouraged by a few bumps in the road. In the meantime there abound characters that claim to be vanguards of the change and yet are actively undermining it. It’s troubling at this time of deep-running mistrust and simmering animosity that the political landscape is being dominated by mutually hostile forces trading insults and threats. So in this vitriolic atmosphere is it better to mollify the public and steer the change on the right course or keep on being victims of the politics of hatred of the past several decades? If the country’s politicians do not abandon their intolerance towards each other, there will be no end to the vicious cycle the nation’s politics is mired in. Politicians who have given up on Ethiopia and are incapable of coming up with solutions that restore the public’s faith are of no use to it.
The more than 100 registered political parties in Ethiopia have been found woefully wanting over the past one year in terms of contributing their due share. Aside from tagging along with the government and in some cases hanging on to its coattails, they have not produced any policy document or roadmap to speak of. The fact that they have been grossly negligent in meeting their obligations has allowed “activists” to utilize both the mainstream and social media to shape the narrative and incite conflicts aimed at furthering their agendas. The parties have kept quiet even though the census, due to be held early April, has been indefinitely postponed even as there are doubts that the 2020 general elections will be held on time. As organizations duty-bound to advocate for the interest of segments of the society they claim to represent the onus is on them to make their positions clear on these momentous issues. Be that as it may Ethiopians who sincerely love their country and believe in a rational dialogue must closely monitor current developments so as to generate ideas that help chart the way forward. Moreover, in a bid to avert the specter of a state collapse they need to play a central role in bridging the gap between political actors espousing polarized views through a consistent reminder that the national interest is at stake. Ethiopians aspire for Ethiopia to become a land of peace, democracy and prosperity. No one should give up on the nation!