Let me start by thanking Aigaforum for opening the forum to discuss different opinions regarding the general development in Tigray. I am aware that it takes some risks when disseminating statements that are critical to the leadership and its supporters. A leadership that cannot grin and bear criticism is no worth its name and fame. I am deeply convinced that, when composed and sober, the leadership will be able to listen to and handle all critical opinions magnanimously.
We are forever thankful for the sacrifice many in the leadership have made and are still making to the people of Tigray and the nation.
We hear critical voices here and there in regards to the Political and economic atmosphere in Tigray. According to some critics the leadership of Tigray is holding a tight control with a hardly anyroom for private initiatives. This applies to both the business and philanthropic activities in the region. Some accuse the leadership of being adamant, arrogant, and inflated. These adjectives may be somewhat exaggerated but there must be a grain of truth that has resulted from many unaddressed complaints that are boiling over to an irrational frustration.
I do not want to be one of those who would like to raise unfounded accusations and whip up hysteria and fling some derogatory criticism at the leadership, but the one who rather begs for the leadership’s insightful and serious attention to all these criticisms. In my opinion, the leadership of Tigray is elected by the people of Tigray and should, without any reservation, be accountable to the people, and work for the best interest of the people of Tigray.
The leadership should represent the people at the Federal level and advocate on their behalf in order for them to get the right portion of the total budget of Ethiopia. It is also the duty of the leadership to initiate and work hard in inviting and attracting government and private investment to flow to Tigray. The final performance of the leadership is to be judged and measured not only by the total GDP, but rather by the inflow of capital and by the amount of government, NGOs and private companies it attracts to the region. In order to attract investment to Tigray, leadership needs to facilitate and make the process smooth and simple. Part of this is rooting out corruption.
Leadership should be keen and perceptive to all criticism and opinions. If it does not agree with them, it should provide a clear explanation candidly and without ambiguity. Good Governance means leadership should never, never suffocate criticism, or punish critics even when they are political opponents. Every criticism should be seen as an opportunity to improve. Most of all, leadership should be consistent and abide by the Rule of Law, Laws that are legislated in the land. No one should be above the law, not even the President.
When criticism and dissatisfaction comes even from one’s nearest friends, one should take heed and act immediately to correct it before things take a turn for the worse. If this fails, leadership will have turned its friends into its worst enemies. The voices of criticism we hear so far are still from friends but the yellow light is on, and leadership should act before the traffic sign turns red.
I call upon the leadership not to repudiate critical voices, but to be keen to address them fully.
Finally, I want to beg H.E., The President of Tigray to take all criticism seriously, to scrutinize them carefully, and make all necessary correction and see the outcomes. The President will then have implementeda sublime change in leadership, process, rules and laws in the near future. That will be a real “Good Governance” – one that listens to the voices of the people.