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Desisting from pouring fuel on the fire!

Desisting from pouring fuel on the fire!

Ethiopia continues to be beset by multi-pronged challenges endangering public peace and national security. Politicians loathe to engage in a constructive dialogue are not stopping at anything, including spilling the blood of innocent citizens, to settle a score. Politicians worth their salt know well that the cardinal principle that governs their behavior is respect for the public they claim to represent. It should not be lot on them that resorting to violence to accomplish the objectives they purportedly set out to achieve has dire consequences. The flaws characterizing Ethiopian politics are not unique to opposition parties; to some extent the blame also lies with ruling Prosperity Party (PP). As the party in power and rivals aspiring to unseat it abandon a civilized brand of politics and perpetrate acts that impede the democratization process, death and destruction is bound to become an everyday occurrence. These days politicians are more inclined to pour fuel on the fire instead of extending the hand of peace to get their way. 

The Oromia Prosperity Party provisionally suspended three of its Central Committee members this week on charges of shirking their duties, disclosing secrets and involvement in intercommunal conflicts. Notwithstanding the possibility that the suspended officials may be brought to justice for their alleged infractions, the measure taken against them is indicative of the perilous state of Ethiopian politics because of infighting and other troubling developments. If individuals belonging to the same party are devoid of unity of purpose and action and bicker with each other, it’s not difficult what rivals competing for power are capable of doing to one another. It’s saddening and indeed alarming that political parties in Ethiopia are preoccupied with intrigue and could not care less about serving the public selflessly, recruiting, capable members and steeping them in the ideologies they espouse. What’s even more riling is the fact that innocent compatriots are needlessly dying due to this endless politics of conniving and the political space has been hijacked by elements uninterested in laying the foundation for inclusive democracy and nation building.

Any citizen appreciative of the raft of interminable challenges confronting Ethiopia would seek concrete solutions that help overcome them, not exacerbate them further. This is what any responsible human being does. Unfortunately, the proliferation of rabble rousers which have nothing to do better than stir up trouble has made it difficult to break the cycle of violence that has been rocking the country for some time now. The leadership and members of parties incapable of tabling useful alternatives are similarly roiling the nation by aggravating manageable problems. The rise in the number of deadly internecine conflicts which have led to the death of thousands, the displacement of millions more and the destruction of billions of worth property is attributable to the uncomfortable truth that the bulk of politicians are conflict merchants.

The rancorous confrontation between the leaders of Prosperity Party and the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) over the postponement of the 2020 general elections and other related matters; the dangerous political tug-of-war for control of the Oromia regional state; the recurring deadly conflicts in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples regional state in connection with demands to break away from the state; and unresolved questions over identity and boundary are all pushing Ethiopia to the precipice. To make matters worse the revelation by irresponsible elements of damaging information with intent to stoke tensions threatens to make things go from bad to worse. The display of military hardware in an apparent show of force while failing miserably at governing democratically is emblematic of the deplorable state of Ethiopian politics. Such blatant disrespect for the public is yet another manifestation of politicians’ blithe disregard for the hazards of playing with fire.

The proof that Ethiopians’ name has for centuries been invoked in vain lies in the abject failure of the political elite to stand united on issues of vital national interests. Until recently their stance on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)—the pride of Ethiopians—left a lot to be desired. Some of them actually conspired with foreign adversaries to disrupt the initial filling of the dam and undermine public support for its construction. The other evidence is the very existence of politicians that, instead of nurturing the youth to develop into productive citizens, are bent on poisoning their minds with bankrupt and divisive narratives so that they amount to nothing more than automatons which implement their evil agenda, namely to dismantle a nation which achieved a feat that inspired the freedom struggles of all black people for political gain. The propensity of politicians that do not care iota about the honor and safety of Ethiopians to instigate violence does not bode well for the country.

In this difficult period in Ethiopia’s history what its patriotic, farsighted and gracious people need and indeed deserve is dignity, not the contempt in which they are held by the political class. Bereft of the desire to extricate Ethiopia from the clutches of poverty these visionless politicians are inciting the youth and other segments of the public to wreak havoc as opposed to inspiring them to improve the lot of fellow countrymen. Another round of senseless violence is being instigated as though the country has not had enough of mayhem and destruction. Politicians residing thousands of miles away are also guilty of fomenting deadly unrest knowing that the flames cannot get to them. Some of these trouble makers are former public officials that used to sing the government’s praises while the others are have always harbored a futile dream that one day they would ascend to the throne. If they had an ounce of humility they would not have dared to show their faces in public. This why politicians need to be told in no uncertain terms that they must not only respect the public, but also stop pouring fuel on the fire.