Swiveling straightaway back to development
Now that the law enforcement campaign that the federal government had been prosecuting in northern Ethiopia for three weeks is over the country needs to swivel immediately back to development endeavors. It may command the respect of the global community if and only if it ends its perennial dependency on aid and manages to stand on its own two feet. Aside from exacting a humanitarian and economic toll military conflicts not only imperil the sovereignty and integrity of a nation, but also deal a blow to its reputation on the international stage. They further tend to provoke strife between communities that have coexisted harmoniously for centuries. Although the forces which launched the attack that gave rise to the military operation and culminated in their defeat have trotted out indefensible justifications for their heinous act, the atrocities they visited on Ethiopians and the damage they inflicted on the national economy are unforgivable. It’s absolutely imperative to extricate Ethiopia from the morass they have put it in and steer it back on the path to growth and development.
Ethiopia may become self-sufficient and prosperous through the tireless efforts of its sons and daughters, not the alms handed out by donors. Needless to say the attainment of this ideal requires, first and foremost, the institution of a truly inclusive system of governance. In this regard it’s incumbent on all political actors and the general public to sow the seeds of a peaceful political process underpinned by a consensus on issues of critical national importance. As Ethiopians from all corners of the country declare loud and clear that nothing matters more than the survival of Ethiopia, elements bent on perpetuating the injustice and violence that had been racking the nation better desist from their futile exercise. Ethiopia has no choice but to rid itself of its toxic brand of politics that has not done it good and turn its face back to extricating itself from the clutches of abject poverty.
Politicians, activists and their followers owe the obligation to put a stop to such destructive practices as undermining the institutions of democracy, the government bureaucracy and the courts, using the defense forces and the security apparatus as instruments of suppression as well as abusing state-owned banks and the revenue services to commit egregious financial crimes. They need to contribute their share in laying the foundation for a civilized political rivalry and the resolution of legitimate differences in a peaceful manner. Entities that neither possess a viable political platform nor subscribe to the notion that a political environment fostering peace, democracy and justice is essential to enabling the people—the ultimate repository of sovereign power—exercise their fundamental rights are better advised to quit politics. Otherwise, the political arena will continue to be dominated by tyrants, thereby condemning the country to eternal violence and backwardness.
As Ethiopia enters a new era of politics it should be understood that no one should be allowed to destabilize the country, to gamble with the fate of its people for selfish political ends. The sole mechanism by which political power is assumed must necessarily be through free, fair and credible elections. All political forces worth their salt bear the responsibility to work together towards this end. Such collaboration is indispensable to combating the number one enemy of Ethiopia—poverty. Engaging in internecine conflicts while wallowing in poverty and going cap in hand to foreigners only serves to compromise Ethiopia’s sovereignty. A nation may walk proudly with its head held high as long as it is self-reliant and preserves its independence. Ethiopia too may assert itself and tread the corridors of diplomacy with dignity insofar as it builds a strong economy. This cannot be achieved without stability and harmony.
Ethiopian politics has constantly been blighted with distrust. Absent a genuine political discourse on a whole range of national issues the problem is bound to persist. Central to forging this culture of dialogue is the commitment on the part of political parties and their leadership to, among others, the principles of peaceful struggle, transparency accountability and respect for each other. They also need to formulate coherent policy alternatives and strategies and enhance the capacity to sell their vision to voters. In addition they have to refrain from consorting with forces harboring sinister motives for the sake of taking the reins of power. Self-serving politicians who have no qualms about conspiring with foreign adversaries to further their agendas should know that Ethiopians will no longer tolerate them, that they cannot have a place in Ethiopian politics.
The first order of business following the completion of the military component of the law enforcement operation has to be the provisioning of humanitarian assistance and the rehabilitation of affected communities and areas. These efforts demand hard work, massive funding and the participation, in particular, of unemployed youth. Ethiopia is endowed with considerable natural resources that if utilized properly have the capacity to lift it out of poverty and transform the lives of its people within a short span of time. Obviously, the prevalence of durable peace and stability as well as an unprecedented display of enterprise is essential to the full realization of the country’s potential. In an age and day when it’s imperative to join hands in tackling poverty while respecting differences it’s criminal to use innocent civilians as cannon fodders in a conflict intended to safeguard the interests of a certain clique. Ethiopia needs to keep pace with rapidly evolving trends if it is not to be left behind. That is why it must swivel immediately back to the road to growth and development.