Presently Ethiopia is teeming with neophytes which do not care an iota about fundamental issues of paramount national importance and instead are consumed with trivial matters. Particularly, both local and overseas-based individuals and groups thronging the political scene are blatantly undermining national security. Devoid of any semblance of a vision and constructive policy alternatives thatare in Ethiopia’s interestthey exploit the media to peddle emotive rhetoric aimed at fomenting hatred and inciting the youth to violence. Rather than leveling informed criticisms against the government when it errs and helping it make a course correction, insults and threats come first. Accommodating differences is becoming a taboo as though the country suffers from a dearth of ideas;in a desecration of the values and virtues Ethiopians are synonymous withappalling ethnocentric barbs are hurled wantonly; and the nation is lurching from one crisis to another by hyping nonsensical agendas which are entirely of no use to anyone.
Everyperson has an inalienable right to freedom of thought and expression. Ethiopia may steer on the path to a better and future insofar as human and democratic rights are fully respected. These rights cannot be properly exercised ifthe majority begs for them from the privileged few. It’s for this very reason that it’s of the essence to embark on a nation building effort anchored informed by the notion that embracing diversity is critical to forging unity and that democracy is a potpourri of varied ideas. A system where one uses force to coerce someone else into submission or where some abides by the law while others flout it with impunity is bound to face an ignominious end. On the other hand anyone who sets out to serve the public must first rid himself of rumor-mongering, scheming and vindictiveness. Engaging in undemocraticacts while claiming to be a liberatoror a savior is not right by any stretch of imagination. Such behavior stems from being alien to the concept of democracy.
All citizens need to have no illusions about the fact that they owe a solemn obligation to their country. The innocent suffer the most when law and order breaks down. The job of ensuring that that peace and stability reign in Ethiopia does not rest on the government alone; it’s also borne by each and every Ethiopian. The dividends of peace may be enjoyed as long as the rule of law is loyally upheld by the government and the general public. Like any other right freedom of expression is a right that must be exercised responsibly lest the legitimate rights of others are unduly affected. Needless to say, this does not imply that anyone who feels that his rights are infringed by others’exercise of free speech shouldbe allowed to take the law into his own hands. Though rights are said to entail corollary obligations, viewing individual rights broadly is important in moving the democratization process forward. When the exchange of ideas takes place in this spirit the interest of the nation shall gain precedence over the selfish motives of individuals and groups. Such shared vision is sorely missing in Ethiopia. Petty matters are eclipsing vital issues having nationwide bearing.
Ethiopia has been going through a sea change for the past 16 months. Had there been a culture of solidarity and cooperation which helped take advantage of the opportunities that the change brought about, it would not have been difficult to overcome the testing challenges facing the nation.The deadly struggle for power between elements which could not care less about the needs of the public has exacted and continues to exact a heavy toll.A constant stream of hate-filled narrative threatens to deal a blow to the peaceful co-existencecitizens have been leading for centuries. Vile acts that in no way represent the shared values of the public are on the increase.The country’s elites are afflicted withintolerance, conniving, squabbling and mutual disparagement; they rush headlong into repeating costly mistakes; and they bandy about inflammatory conspiracy theorieswhich only serve to stoke conflicts. Ethiopia is still adept at bungling the opportunities that fall into its lap, disheartening many who had pinned hope on the ongoing change.
Now is a time cooler minds should prevail. If age-long disputes and animosities are toabateit’s imperative to undertake constructive dialogues. Similarly, particular attention needs to be given to forging national consensus. One of the mainfactorsthat has crippled Ethiopian politics is the propensity to turn toaggression to resolvedifferences instead of seeking amicable solutions. The ruling party and other ethno nationalists should desist from playing the ethnic card to settle scores.Needling each other over trifling matters at a time the nation is standing at a critical juncture in its historyis not in anybody’s interest. There can be no denying that the recent assassination of senior civilian and military officials can be attributed to the inability to sit down and work things out in a civilized manner. It’s obligatory to see to it that guns do not have a place in politics. Ethiopians have had enough of suffering under the yoke of oppression. They yearn to see their beloved country become a land of peace, democracy and prosperity. And they aspire to live in freedom, equality and justice. No one can attest more than the people of Ethiopia about the futility of agendas which do not put the national interest front and center.