Moving forward despite various challenges!
Molla Mitiku Ayenew
Ato Mersha is in his early 80s. He is one of the residents in Addis Ababa. He witnessed what the past and the current regimes look like. “In the Derg regime, it was impossible either to set any political party or any other organization. The right of the people to form any groupings and even to gather together in one place even for non-political purposes like religion and other social issues was violated. Everything was considered seriously and a strict follow up was made up on citizens’ activities. The nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia were even deprived their rights of speaking in the languages. Hence, both democratic and fundamental rights were violated.”
Recalling all the ill-activities of the military rule in those old days, he said that the people were in tension and terror as their sons were compelled to join the military and their daughters were subjected to various abasement by the advocates of that regime. The people were obliged to lead miserable life. They even failed to get daily bread for their children and themselves. Consequently, the youth were filled with despair. They had lost hope to think about their prosperity and improving their lives.
He added, “The economy of the country was deteriorated. The military government used most of the country’s budget for military logistics. However, all the aforementioned problems have altogether changed in this regime”. Millions of Ethiopians witnessed that change as they have been enjoying it since the overthrow of the military junta in 1991. Now, twenty five years passed and the country is in a different political economic and social status. On 28th of May 2016, Ethiopians, throughout the country, have celebrated the 25th anniversary of the victory of Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front over the military rule.
Despite various challenges that EPRDF has faced in those twenty five years, the major achievements that benefited the people at various levels are remarkable. Following the collapse of the military rule in 1991, the Ethiopian government accomplished various activities to enhance tolerance and peaceful coexistence among nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. One of the activities was giving recognitions to ethnic diversity and religious diversity; thereby, paving the ground for equal opportunity to all citizens that enabled the ruling party to enjoy some successes.
One of the most important successes of EPRDF in the past twenty five years was realizing the unity of the country and strengthening the emerging democracy despite various fertile grounds for disintegration and collapse. Unlike what happened in other countries like Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Somalia, Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, Ethiopians incredibly managed to strengthen their unison. This is one of the significant achievements that we Ethiopians should owe to the ruling party.
In fact, it is all too easy to point a negative finger at everything what the ruling party has done like what some groups and individuals have been doing but the most crucial thing is to see every activity in a balanced way. There should also be eyes that could view what is good along side the problems. Everyone mayn’t see the lights at the end of the tunnel but if there is justice within ourselves we couldn’t at least considered everything as gloomy. The past twenty five years weren’t an easy going for EPRDF that there were a lot of ups and downs. The great Ethiopian leader Ex-Premier Melese Zenawi once said that “Ethiopia under the EPRDF have done wonders. After all, not only was the nation state weak after the demise of Mengistu, but the legacy of Mengistu was severe.
EPRDF faced with severe problems due to the ethnic, religious, and geographic make-up of Ethiopia. However, Ethiopia managed to move forward in alleviating poverty. The deteriorated economy of the country was absolutely altered. The country has been registering fast sustainable economic growth.
EPRDF is the first party in the Ethiopian history in developing a proper multi-party system of governance, which is one of the pillars of democracy. It has been working focusing mainly on modernizing Ethiopia via economic restructuring and democracy. EPRDF has rekindled the hope of Ethiopians through the renaissance of the country. There is hope and optimism now that this country will ultimately get out of poverty as the dynamic of continued economic stagnation for several decades has been reversed to a double digit economic growth.
Ethiopia is now on the right path of development. In the silver jubilee founding anniversary celebration held in Addis Ababa on the 28th of May 2016, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn emphasized that Ethiopia has attained fast, sustainable and equitable economic growth that could foster its journey to renaissance. It is evident that various developmental activities have performed to strengthen the efforts exerted to realize the renaissance of the country. “The struggle to make poverty a history has enabled the country to attain double digit economic growth for 12 consecutive years and that has got recognition from various international communities in general and the Ethiopian people in particular. Women and the youth are changing their lives by engaging themselves in micro and small scale enterprise schemes,” he said.
In fact, if we look at all the Mega projects including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, it is easy to comprehend how well the country has underway to foster its strong leap forward. The human and democratic rights flourishing in the country surely could be another significant achievement of the ruling party. .Health and education are the two most important services that citizens should access freely. In this regard, the EPRDF has a positive story too. Available documents indicate that there are more than 37 thousand health extension workers who usually engaged throughout the country boosting public access to health services.
Another significant achievement that benefited a lot of Ethiopians is the housing program of the country. In efforts exerted to address housing problems in the city, more than 136 thousand houses were built and transferred to the dwellers during the past ten days only in Addis Ababa. There are also a significant numbers of houses built in regional states. However, there are some shortcomings despite all these achievements. According to Ato Mersha it is evident that there are problems in some hospitals in connection with fast service delivery and enough access to drugs particularly in government hospitals. Patients are compelled to buy various drugs from private pharmacies at high cost, which they can afford in cheap fees in government pharmacies. Besides, there are also problems in fairly treating patients in some government clinics and hospitals and failure to handle all patients equally. In some cases, paitients who have relatives get better treatment and services than those who don’t know anyone. Another problem delays in transferring housing to the people. A large number of people have been waiting for a new chance draw since last year. Besides, there are problems in transferring all the houses to users. Recently, EBC found and reported a number of closed houses that should have transferred to the people timely.
Ato Mersha emphasized, “The Ethiopian people have confidence on the ruling party and realized its efforts to discharge its political responsible through inward looking when problems happened. We believe it will minimize its problems and enhance its achievements”, Many Ethiopian have similar confidence. It usually takes fundamental measures up on issues deviated from the normal move of the party that led many Ethiopians to see light at the end of the tunnel.
The past twenty five years witnessed that the country is in the right truck of development although there are problems in realizing good governance. Anyone who had the knowledge of the party’s history believes EPRDF, along with the Ethiopian people, will surely solve the problem of good governance step by step. As the same time, it will strengthen the struggle against poverty and make it a history. Despite all the intrinsic and extrinsic challenges, Ethiopia has sustained its forward move in all aspects: politically, economically and socially.