Forgiving one another for the sake of peace
Listening to questions posed by citizens and in a bid to widen the political space, the government said it has ordered the release of 63 prisoners and discontinuation of their lawsuits.
Be it discontinuing a lawsuit, forgiveness or mercy; attention should be given in that, these are parts and parcels of the rule of law. When the government and the people are in tune, and are able to reach consensus on wide-ranging topics, there will be no nonsense lawsuits. However, if there is no transparency, accountability and responsibility in the steps taken while trying to ascertain the rule of law, it will create resentment. Even if mistakes are sometimes made, and is not possible to correct the wrongs committed immediately, the relationship between the government and its citizens will sour. The saying: “It is better to free one thousand criminals than to imprison one innocent person” shows how much the rule of law means.
We have to examine our procedures, as quickly as possible, whenever there is an objection by people who have lawsuits brought against them or by those arrested. The trend set by Ethiopia for many years was to free those who should have been held accountable, and arrest those that should not be held. When you start pushing aside collective accountability, it is followed by resentment. In addition, criminal suspects are widely seen hiding behind their ethnic identity. That is why we need to forgive each other; for the sake of peace of the country.
It can be recalled that, before the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) came in power, the Executive Committee of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) held a meeting for 17 days, contributing to kick-starting the reform. Furthermore, it can be remembered that after the coalition leaders of the four parties said, “There is no issue we have not talked about beneath the sky, and we take a collective responsibility for what wrong has been done,” and decided to release political prisoners, invited back those who have fled political persecution and those who bear arms to return peacefully, widen the media landscape etc..
The parliament came into session to choose a chairman when at that time PM Hailemariam Dessalegn decided to abruptly resign. His successor, PM Abiy very quickly decided to ask for forgiveness for the rights abused by EPRDF in parliament. It can be recalled that, that move garnered him a lot of support from the people. This support was counted as a springboard for ensuring peace in the country.
Innocents died in different places due to conflict, they were displaced and there properties robbed, government official and high officials from the military were assassinated, these not being enough, universities have turned into a center for conflict. Last week, Burayu police commissioner was killed; and scores were injured when a bomb was thrown in a peaceful protest in Ambo.
It is known that chaos ensues when a country does not have peace.
When it is said that we must forgive or charges be dropped, it does not mean to do nothing to people who have committed grave harm to the country or people, knowingly. A person, who is found guilty by law and has been proved and been witnessed against, should be punished. Those punished according to the law, should see out there sentences while there rights provided by the law, are respected. We have to keep in mind that, by using pardons or forgiveness as an excuse and letting a person, who has committed grave sins against his own go free; might awaken the people’s anger. There are many languishing in prisons for sins they have not committed and that can benefit the society if they are reintegrated; contributing to the peace of the country.
However, we must be careful of individuals trying to use this for their own benefit. We have to make sure that any individuals released must be free from vengeance and grudges. They have to understand that there are also duties attached to the rights gained by a released prisoner.
Rather than going into chaos on issues of the conditions of the release (freedom found by pressure from citizens), everyone has a role to play, to create a peaceful, democratic political space in which no one is harmed. The political space in Ethiopia has been ruined and is a playground for the powerful due to a mentality that does not go beyond ‘the incarcerator and the incarcerated.’ This has always been seen as harming the country rather than benefiting it.
Using this opportunity, it is only appropriate to focus on issues that propel Ethiopia forward. We have to stop focusing on issues that jeopardize the countries integrity, hold grudges, and seek to kill, insult each other and go into conflict with one another. Ethiopia has many problems to address. Strangling each other for every small, and insignificant problems, rather than extricating those problems to make the country better, is pointless. The previous years have only yielded in poverty and backwardness. Bickering and fighting each other, on a steep slope that bends your back, only earns us disrespect not respect. In Africa, where poverty is rampant; inciting people to go into conflicts against each other, culminating in displacement, is a shameful act at best.
Working towards gaining power or benefits rather than implement policies which address the bitter life of the society, is a crime to be judged by history. Instead, by creating peace and acknowledging differences, it is important to create and widen the political space, and strive for all to participate equally. Even though politics is a tool for the wise, the results will be worse for those who conspire to jeopardize innocents. We need to understand each other to create a political space where people can elect freely. Arguments and hot headedness are pointless besides lead us to the detriment of peace.
No one should be harmed for their position, be it political or other, in order for the upcoming elections be successful and its procedures accepted by all. Every concerned party, government who say are concerned by matters of the country, must make their stands clear. By this way lawlessness must be extricated from the political space. It is necessary to be free from conspiracy in the preparation to conduct a peaceful and democratic election. Contestants, according to election laws, should only vie for earning the hearts and minds of the people, rather than join lawlessness.
It is not by focusing on past wrongs committed and strangling each other that the country will be peaceful. It is by forgiving each other and working together with our differences, for a brighter future of the country. Blaming each other and committing grave acts has only resulted in chaos. Since we cannot continue this way, we need to get used to forgiving each other.