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Lest EPRDF is adjudged harshly by history!

Lest EPRDF is adjudged harshly by history!

The much anticipated closed-door meeting of the Council of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) wound up this Tuesday. From the outset it was quite obvious that this week’s gathering would dwell on momentous matters determining the fate of Ethiopia and as such was not destined to be in the mold of the majority of the Council’s previous meetings. Many were apprehensive about the specter of an intense jostling among council members and the ensuing impasse over their differences would set off a chain of events jeopardizing the nation’s very survival. Time will tell if they acted in a manner which spares the Front of opprobrium in the eye of history.

It should be underscored here that ending the meeting without passing substantive decisions which help see through the political transition underway or in circumstances where the Front dissolves and the four parties making up the Front go their separate ways would have had undesirable consequences. Though it was impossible to agree on all agendas, it was imperative to adopt a shared position on fundamental issues of national importance for the sake of guaranteeing the country’s peace and stability. Putting the interest of the party above the national interest is akin to playing Russian roulette with the public’s welfare. All political actors should always bear in mind that their primary obligation is to be vanguards in steering Ethiopia on the path to free, fair, peaceful and democratic elections. Failure to discharge this responsibility only serves to foment unrest.

It’s the height of recklessness to allow Ethiopia to become a center of gravity for crisis and thereby render it incapable of playing a leading role in forging closer ties with Horn of Africa states towards ensuring regional stability and prosperity. The inability to stand united as a nation and a people in the backdrop of the continuing instability in Somalia and South Sudan as well as the uncertainty in Sudan in the wake of last week’s military coup will not bode well for the country. Coupled with the feuding in the EPRDF the deliberate actions of elements harboring nefarious motives have made life a living hell for millions of Ethiopians. Whipping up emotions with intent to escalate trivial disagreements into deadly strife in rejection of the constitutionally mandated mechanism of assuming government power via peaceful and democratic means must be stopped. The EPRDF needs to acknowledge that the national interest must not be sacrificed on the altar of personal glory. It must rid itself of tribalism and focus entirely on securing Ethiopia’s future. Otherwise, history is sure to adjudge it harshly.

The EPRDF is a seasoned organization that has been in power for the past 28 years. Inasmuch as it has accomplished commendable feats during these years it has committed egregious sins as well. The public fervently supported the forces of change that rose to the fore over a year ago now in the hope that Ethiopia would begin the process of transitioning into a democracy under their watch. Regardless of how things have unfolded since there can be no going back. After all there is no use crying over spilt milk. That is why it’s paramount to build a democratic system which is participatory and truly empowers citizens from all corners of Ethiopia. This calls for, among others, a commitment on the part of leaders of the EPRDF to forgive anyone among their ranks guilty of an intentional fault or otherwise and move forward. If, however, they do not abide by the pledges they made at the conclusion of the meeting and resort to spewing hateful rhetoric the moment they go back to their constituencies, history will not be kind to them.

On the other hand anyone scheming to reap political dividend from the turmoil within the EPRDF is in for a rude awakening. They should stop daydreaming about what they will do if power were somehow to fall into their lap. If power is assumed through force or fortuitously in Ethiopia, it will descend into sheer anarchy. Elements engaged in political brinkmanship are better advised to be mindful of the perils of their tactics for it only gives rise to a lose-lose situation. Mindless partisanship, inciting needless violence and spoiling to fight over each and every subject are also unhealthy traits which ought to be jettisoned. It’s for this very reason that it is imperative to support the EPRDF and other responsible organizations chart the correct course for Ethiopia. Then one will have done a great service for his country.

The EPRDF has reaffirmed that the biggest threats presently facing Ethiopia are ethnic extremism and youth unemployment. The dangers of ethnic extremism have been apparent for some time now. The root causes of the problem can neither be identified nor dealt with in short order; they require a shift away from the business-as-usual approach to a new mindset underpinned by wisdom, patience, collaboration. This would go a long way to creating an environment which facilitates the forging of a consensus on the best form of federalism for Ethiopia. Such an environment is instrumental to the establishment of a system of governance enabling the citizenry to realize their dream of living in peace, harmony, freedom, justice and mutual respect. If there is a genuine willingness to work hard towards the fulfillment of this aspiration it would be possible to create employment opportunities not only for the youth of Ethiopia, but also the people of neighboring countries. Ethiopia is home to a far-sighted, hardworking and courteous people who can do wonders if they are properly governed. Should the EPRDF do wrong by them it will most surely be judged harshly by history!