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Reining in forces intent on dismantling Ethiopia

Reining in forces intent on dismantling Ethiopia

First we would like to express our deepest sorrow on the callous killing of the Oromiffa singing sensation Hachalu Hundessa this Monday. The perpetrators of this outrage must be brought to justice within the shortest possible time. While the motive behind the murder of Hachalu can be fathomed after the investigation underway is concluded, it can be safely surmised that it has political undertones. Ethiopia’s history is replete with egregious acts whose endgame was to accomplish selfish political ends by sowing the seeds of instability. The poisonous atmosphere characterizing Ethiopian politics for the past five decades has left behind a legacy of intolerance that continues to lead to bloody internecine strife. Moreover, at a time the country is in the midst of a perfect storm of crisis posed by, among others, the COVID-19 pandemic, tensions over the postponement of the general elections slated to be held in August as well as the standoff with Egypt over the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), forces bent on assuming power are collaborating with its archenemy and leaving no stones unturned to tear it apart. As enemies of democracy and traitors doing the bidding of foreign enemies intent on destabilizing Ethiopia they need to be brought to heel immediately.

Ethiopians should keep in mind that elements harboring evil agendas always plot to further their cause by whatever means necessary. Anathema to the age-old values which have enabled the people of Ethiopia to co-exist in peace and harmony, they not only kill, maim or exile individuals standing in their way, but also incite the youth to spark ethnic and religious conflicts in hopes of riding to power on the rubbles of the devastation they have wrought. They are particularly adept at using both the mainstream and social media to peddle false and vitriolic narratives that are antithetical to the process of democratization. This is precisely what some irresponsible media outlets are promoting.

Citizens can exercise their right to self-govern, promote their language and culture, and enjoy other constitutionally guaranteed rights through the peaceful pursuit of political objectives, not the path of destruction and violence preferred by anarchists and power-mongers. Disputes should never be settled through the barrel of the gun. The nation should not be subjected to turmoil for the sake of protecting the narrow interests of certain individuals or groups. Change can never be brought about by killing or harming a single individual. But when they put their heads together they can do wonders. Ethiopians should display their usual foresight to beat the trap set for them by the enemy. Otherwise, they are liable to self-destruct and be the laughingstock of the world.

As we have said time and again if Ethiopia is to become a land of peace and prosperity it is imperative to create an environment that allows the free flow of diverse ideas and empowers all citizens to engage in a constructive dialogue. The very survival of Ethiopia makes it imperative to abandon the backward politics of violence and counterproductive propaganda in favor of a brand of politics underpinned by the principles of give-and-take and the rule of law. Though exposing the weakness of rivals and communicating effectively one’s position is the stock-in-trade of politicians, they have to refrain from resorting to force and other autocratic tendencies if they truly wish to earn the public’s trust and support.  

It is of the essence that Ethiopians show a united front to navigate the unprecedented set of extraordinary challenges they are confronted with. This requires the customary demonstration of patience and wisdom on their part. They should not let enemies from within and outside exploit their differences to unravel the tie that binds them together in the realization that this is the best way to avert the catastrophe staring them in the face. Meanwhile, the government needs to see to it that justice is served through a legally defensible process which ensures that the murders of Hachalu and their masterminds get the punishment they deserve. If Ethiopia’s continued existence as a nation and its prosperity is to be guaranteed forces intent on dismantling it have to be reined in. Failure in this regard is not an option!