THE Dilemma VIS-À-VIS ATO DAWIT GEBREGZIABHER’S ADWA PROJECT
ON THE EVE OF OUR NATION’S 2ND GROWTH AND TRANSFORMATION PERIOD.
Yohannes Gebresellasie (Ph.d) Addis Ababa
I love that beautiful and historic area where I grew up. It is called Adwa and Adi-Abun to be more specific. We also called it “Buleko”. It is five kilometers from the town of Adwa. My place is located in a very historic area right at the bottom of Mount Soloda: where our ancestors defeated fascist Italy during the Ethio-Italian war long time ago.
As kids, we used to walk five kilometers back and forth: to school and five kilometers back home ten kilometers every day except weekends. We loved the walk because we played, laughed and even fought all the way; kids staff; you know! On weekends, we used to swim and play football on the few and uncomfortable little fields scattered here and there; the only entertainment there were; nothing else. Hey! I forgot; we also played “Biyi” a game played on the floor with little round silver balls although our parents detested that game while the grown ones spend their time dirking Tela (the local beverage) because there was nothing else to do.
We did not have open and comfortable spaces and play grounds to play football or other games ; we did not have entertainment parks, libraries, swimming pools, laboratories, cultural centers, technical and technological centers let alone stadiums and other larger scientific or cultural centers. Therefore, we managed to be satisfied with what we had because that was the only one available at the time. This time around however, with the new generation and with the advent of technology and globalization, there is more public demand for better, more sophisticated, up to date and modern cultural, linguistic and scientific centers everywhere and more so in areas not fortunate to have so. Although currently governments and the private sector has done little work in that regard, the demand still remains very high therefore, the involvement of the private investors, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists and charitable organizations is not only important but indeed indispensable. Here, I am reminded by one philanthropist and business man by the name of Ato Dawit Gebregziabher who came up with a very noble idea coupled with a detailed project and full budget in order to solve the aforementioned traditional problems the public at large have faced over the years within the town of Adwa.
The project started four years ago and currently it was halted for non-specified reasons and that is the dilemma between the Tigray Administration, the public at large within the town of Adwa and Ato Dawit Gebregziabher. The debate regarding this issue is not a new phenomenon. Many people especially those within the area where the project was intended to begin have been shattered to learn that the project has not continued because they had great hope that they and their children will have a great future with the implementation of this project. The project has been designed to include among others modern cultural, linguistic, scientific centers with latest internet and other information communication and technological facilities, entertainment spaces with swimming pools, libraries and laboratories etc. Who doesn’t like that? So, the question is why such a big and important project was not put in place? Why was it made to stop? Who stopped it? And other similar questions have been revolving for some time now.
Here, what is important is to note that the project is not solely Ato Dawit’s although he is ready and willing to spend his money, energy and skill to the project that also involves the interest of the public at large and that means the people who would be beneficiary from this project. Further, the project is intended to fulfill their dreams and opportunities; but now, their dreams have been chattered in spite of all efforts from the person who stood to help his people. Our country’s policy and the policy of our struggle encourages, supports and defends government’s, non-government’s and the private sector’s involvement within the developmental endeavor of the country and this has to be the priority of the administration; so, why! the impediment? These are some of the questions and concerns of the public at large and those questions and concerns ought to get clear and unequivocal answers in a free and transparent manner because they are questions and concerns of the public at large and not of individuals or few groups alike.
Anyone would like to see our young future leaders to enjoy life that the old generation was not lucky enough to get. Thousands of our people lost their lives and many are left disabled fighting to liberate our people so that they can freely express themselves and be free from all sorts of marginalization, disadvantages thereby to have better living conditions. All those sacrifices were intended to improve the way our people live and to respond questions and concerns of our people. The project of Ato Dawit addresses exactly that; so again why and who stopped it? Here, I am again reminded by our culture of criticism and self criticism. I believe it is time to apply and use this good culture to resolve the issue in question. People especially those in administration must be ready and willing to resolve differences and do their part to put the project that benefits the public at large in place. Here are some thoughts and/or suggestions in that regard.
Ø Rigid attitudes must be avoided by all sides in order to create an enabling environment for a free and transparent discussion.
Ø All must be ready to learn from mistakes and be flexible enough to do the right thing that benefits the public at large leaving aside their personal interests.
Ø The administration must be open-minded, tolerant and forgiving and must address public concerns and questions promptly in accordance with transparency and accountability.
Ø Those who become impediments to developmental endeavors should be identified, be asked to explain their side of story and they must apologize and be accountable for their actions.
Ø There should be open, transparent and brotherly discussions in order to resolve the issue in question as the issue in question is between and among our own people.
I wish a very good understanding of the matter with all stakeholders and a quick resolution of the matter sooner than later for the sake of the public at large in general and our youth in particular.