Stopping lawlessness in its track!
The type of tumultuous change Ethiopia is currently undergoing is bound to be fraught with grave challenges. Nonetheless, Ethiopians need to reflect seriously where they want their beloved nation is headed if lawlessness slowly sets in on account of the government’s inability to uphold the rule of law. One of the attendant problems which may derail the transition from rule by force to democracy is a descent into anarchism. The emergence of forces intent on arrogating to themselves the powers of civilian administrations and the security apparatus is apt to lead to the horrid lynching of an innocent man on suspicion of planning a grenade attack over the weekend in the central Ethiopian town of Shashemene. This act of barbarity has caused Ethiopians to hang their head in shame. It’s not enough to condemn such heinous act though; citizens from every walk of life must join hands to stop lawlessness in its track.
The varied support given by millions so that the change underway in Ethiopia comes to fruition is borne out of a yearning for peace, democracy and freedom. Sadly the ride is proving to be bumpy with deadly conflicts that give rise to death, maiming, displacement and destruction erupting with alarming frequency. The atrocities being witnessed recently on streets are particularly egregious. The government, opposition parties, religious organizations, elders, intellectuals and other sections of the public must all endeavor to nip in the bud the vigilante justice Ethiopians are gradually getting accustomed to before it destroys communities and eventually the country. Restoring law and order comes at a great price once mobocracy takes root. Turning a blind eye to crimes and lawlessness is akin to signing one’s own death warrant.
Ethiopia can turn into a stable democracy insofar as the different branches of government operate in an environment that enables them to firmly upholdlaw and order.The moment their authority is undermined chaos and mayhem will ensue. What was the point of the steep sacrifice heroic citizens paid to get rid of the yoke of oppression if the present generation is found wanting in preserving the freedom they bequeathed it? How can a country for whom countless people who paid with their lives in defence of its sovereignty, freedom and justice now be a land where citizens are lynched and brutallymurdered in broad daylight? Instead of displaying indifference to the brazen commission of appalling crimes, it’s incumbent on anyone having information about the perpetratorsto hand them over to the police. As an inhuman act that has shocked and ashamed all Ethiopians the Shashemeneincident is a reminder of the importance of inculcating the rule of law in the minds anyone inclined to take the law into their own hand.
The occurrence of change tends to bring out the worst in some people if it’s not properly managed. At such times religious leaders, elders, intellectuals, parents and the government owe a grave duty to general public but more so the youth in terms of impressing on them the need to practice in real life shared societal values that have united the nation as well as bringing them to heel when they desecrate them. Unfortunately, all these entities are guilty of dereliction of this solemn responsibility. Given that the lack of opportunities to earn a decent living is the key factor driving the youth to vent their frustration through violence the government is duty-bound to broaden economic horizons for them by enhancing the capacity and commitment of its leadership at all levels. It must also beef up its lethargic security apparatus to restore political stability in restive regions racked with conflicts. As to te actors active on the political scene they ought to contribute their share in ensuring that the tectonic shift unfolding in Ethiopia brings lasting peace and democracy. This calls for an abandonment of a politics of fear and hatred and the embracing of inclusiveness. The nation’s very survival cannot be guaranteed while lawlessness reigns.
Ethiopia is adept at wasting the few opportunities that came its way due to the toxicity that has been characterizing its political landscape for decades now. Its elite have constantly been at each other’s throats instead of finding a common denominator which brings them together. Their spats have occasionally spilled over to the rest of the population prompting sporadic ethnic and ethnic strife. They have never been willing to set aside differences and work as one on nation building owing to the fact that some have the long-term interest of the country and its people at heart while others are power mongers who do not stop at nothing to accomplish their evil agenda. Recent efforts to bring down this wall of hatred and intolerance are being thwarted by elements spreading unfounded rumors to incite hot-headed youths to violence and thereby sow instability across the nation. There is no arguing that such threat has to be nixed immediately.
Ethiopians who genuinely love their country must reject tribalism and be prepared to defend its enduring interests. Rather than being quick to point fingers at others in the wake of unspeakable crimes, it would be wise to acknowledge that even if the degree varies all of us are to blame. It’s undeniable that the perpetrators and the victim of the horrifying event in Shashemene are fellow Ethiopians. If a lesson, however bitter it may be, is to be learnt from it so that all of us are to go about the business of nation-building and democratization, we have no option but to embrace our ethnic, religious and ideological diversity. We should never let it divide us. This requires of us to demonstrate patience until such time Ethiopia breaks free of the vicious circle of poverty and repression besetting it through peaceful and democratic elections that help broaden the political space. In the meantime it is of the essence that the government stops the burgeoning lawlessness in Ethiopia in its track.