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Dumping old-fangled practices posthaste!

Dumping old-fangled practices posthaste!

The 21st century is characterized by an exponential growth in technological progress. Incredible minds are introducing or innovating exciting technologies which make life easier and more convenient. Fortified with well-developed theories and accumulated experiences contemporary knowledge is a product of the constant evolvement of humans’ cognitive skills. Even as they ease the burden of human existence technological finds are increasing people’s needs and modernizing their attitudes. As the fast-paced world we are living in now has no place for backwardness and sloth humans are locked in a race to gain an edge. As quality and speed are essential in winning this race the mind game is more frenetic than ever before. Living in the past in this day and age not only renders one uncompetitive, but also out of step with reality. It’s those who toil ceaselessly and keep up with the astonishing advances in human life that can earn respect and make it in this cutthroat world. Lacking these attributes is practically a matter of life and death.    

The same is true in the political arena. Irrespective of the ideals they espouse politicians of all stripes each and everything they do need to be in the interest of the public and fitting for the times.  In an era where such technologies as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, additive manufacturing and automation are radically transforming the way human beings work, live, play and learn it’s counterproductive to bicker over inconsequential issues and distract the country and its people from the issues that are vitally important. To make matters worse the deliberate circulation of false information is instigating sporadic violence around the nation. In the latest incident two health researchers working on a study regarding the effect of poor water, sanitation and health provision were stoned to death last week while a colleague was critically injured. Poisoning the mind of the youth with fabricated lies and exhorting them to violence is a disgraceful and unforgivable act that is entirely unacceptable and unfitting in present-day Ethiopia.

One of the solemn duties of politicians is to lead the process of building a nation. It goes without saying that they can succeed in this endeavor to the extent they are receptive to the counseling of wise intellectuals and above all treat everyone with dignity and respect. A political leader who detests his fellow citizens and peddles a politics of hatred can neither be part of nor manage the job of democratic governance. If such politicians do not mend the errors of their ways so that there can be a constructive political engagement anchored in a civilized dialogue, politics will be beset with bigotry and belligerence. The primary reason why some Ethiopian political forces are prone to fits of bellicosity is the fact that they are not armed with the kind of sophistication befitting contemporary realities. The propensity to vilify rivals instead of working out differences through discussions and negotiations is a hallmark of autocrats, not democrats. Or it is an errand job carried out at the behest of elements behind the scene. In this 21st century regardless of the objective it sets out to achieve any political party owes the obligation to put the masses first. As the repositories of sovereign power what the people need and deserve is someone capable of delivering a technology-driven growth that transforms their lives as opposed to miring them in conflicts and wars. Little minds that fear and thus resist a change to the status quo are not fit to lead a small village let alone a nation.

Thanks to unprecedented advances in technology nowadays all sort of information is at society’s fingertips. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for elements harboring a sinister motive to goad segments of the public which ingest any piece of information without subjecting it to critical evaluation are liable to perpetrate horrifying actions. That’s why innocent people falsely accused of committing transgressions are being lynched by mobs with increasing frequency. Mob justice is largely meted out by a group of normally rational individuals angry about something who do things they would never otherwise do. It’s the elite that whip such individuals into a fury and cause destruction instead of educating and empowering them. Completely devoid of a mentality appropriate for the 21st century these “elites” have no qualms about ingraining hatred and vengefulness in children and the youth to further their wicked agenda. In particular the actions of those bent on instigating intercommunal strife and precipitate a political crisis behind the safety of social media have no place in the globalized world of today. It’s imperative to rein them in through an uncompromising enforcement of the applicable laws before they wreak havoc.

The process of democratization may be consummated insofar as it is informed by a civilized political discourse. Such discourse is realizable in the context of a peaceful political struggle. The peaceful pursuit of one’s political objectives is accommodative of open-minded discussions and negotiations and instrumental in upholding the rule of law and facilitating the free flow of diverse ideas. It also helps put in place a level playing field, addresses duly the demands of the public, and champions cooperation and the national interest over conniving and the interests of individuals or groups. Sadly, Ethiopia has far to go in this regard. It’s unhealthy to spew toxic rhetoric in a country the vast majority of whose people live in abject poverty. And it’s become customary to divvy up resources and bestow political power on the basis of ethnicity and religious persuasion. Competence and quality have been sacrificed on the altar of identity politics. It’s not in keeping with the times to waste time and energy on harping on ethnic, religious, gender or other differences; it’s a recipe for disaster.  

There is no earthly justification for the violation of the dignity of a human being on account of his/her identity. Nation building cannot succeed by organizing solely along ethnic, religious, gender or other narrow interests. The leading technology companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are staffed by the best minds drawn from all over the globe. There are tens of thousands of migrants who have gone to the top universities in Europe and North America and made something of themselves. The secret behind their success is the ability to do whatever is necessary to adapt to changing circumstances no matter the challenges in the way. The forces active on the Ethiopian political scene need to learn a lesson from this and deliberate at length on how they can transform into effective and credible organizations. At a time a significant proportion of their African peers are shunning violence to settle differences and embracing democracy they are well advised to rethink that they can grab power by fueling internecine conflicts. If Ethiopia and its people are to enjoy the fruits of peace, democracy and prosperity, old-fangled ideas that are not befitting this day and age should be dumped posthaste.