Reform for Restoration: the New Epithet
For Ethiopian’s Political Par
BY ALI SHEIKH 12-26-16
The commonly used snappy titles of “illiberal state” whenever referring the political style of the Ethiopian ruling party—the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is now no more prevalently in force. After months of political tense and irregularly unpopular unrest resulting wanton destruction of both public and private properties in Oromia and Amhara regions; now the country hold back to handy stability of every respect. The “Negotiated Democracy” as accosted by the EPRDF elitist as a politically optional instrument to address the public concerns has worked to the maximal end. The flimsy and the already fragile states of Egypt and Eretria’s plot of destabilizing Ethiopia not only once but several times were thwarted despondently. The only black empire in Africa (Read Ethiopians) proofed their old civilization right as they placed hegemony of the state at the peak over the primacy of individual interest.
The astonishing collaboration between the ordinary citizen and the state security personnel in maintaining and quelling the affected regions in the shortest span of time has spitted out dirty dyes on the face of the arch-foe enemies of Ethiopia. What is more, their fake prophecies against this great nation have fallen apart. The country is now blushing into a new rejuvenation of hope and hurrahs and the emergency law turned to be a matter of marvel much more than a mere melody. The unholy alliances of Egypt and Eretria in the past have contrived every possible venue to disrupt the economically booming Ethiopia through the use of self-centered, de-schooled and self-designated exile politicians. What we have learnt of late is the unaccounted public funds they used to ignite public disobediences in Ethiopia through every rat-path. In an ideal situation such enormous funds would have been utilized to regulate the endangering poverty befallen to their citizen. I optimistically look forward the day when the Egyptians and Eritreans public will question these self-designated dictators make them face the music.
The advanced intelligence services in Ethiopia have unfurl on a EBC public –TV show the money-motivated conspiracy theory ratcheted by the draw-latched president Abdulfatah El-Sisi’s government in Egypt planning together with few betrayal and outlawed groups in exile carrying the names of Ethiopian in a kangaroo session somewhere in abroad. The national EBC TV-show exposed the worst awkwardness and the political wildness of the president El-Sisi’s unlawful government engineering road-map to disrupt the inexorable nations and nationalities in Ethiopian. Ethiopian is committed in achieving middle-class lifestyle as a developmental agenda stipulated in their current five years developmental index GTP II. The most ridiculers events, and of course which marked the worst satire of the decade come to pass when the Ethiopian national EBC TV exposed corrupt Egyptian oligarchies loyal to president El-Sisi wrapping up over their body the deadwood scientific socialist DERG FLAG during the peak of the recent past unrest. Their intention was to openly designate selfish wish to retreat Ethiopia back to the era of military dictators, ruthless coup d’étators and political butchers at a time when neoliberal economy is at its booming peak.
One would suggest that, the political reason for the Egyptian oligarchies to rejoice with the outfit Ethiopian betrayals in exile was simply the greed believe of one day Ethiopia will fall apart, balkanize the nearly ninety plus heterogeneous nationalities/society. What would they gain then? They will easily manipulate Ethiopian wealth and waters and manhandle them into a protracted and distressed ethnic cleansing. What would happen then? In the least scenario, they would enjoy the de facto “possession right” of the only uncolonized black empire’s national wealth (the Blue Nile) and fling into the once proud Ethiopian citizen into dis-intended radicalizion to exploit their wealth and culture. Indeed, this was a fake prophecy that failed to become visible as Egyptian and Eritrean’s twenty first century dictators found it so difficult to pan out the heavily invested illegal road-map to destroy Ethiopia. Kudos to EPRDF government for the uncompromised stand they took as well the wholehearted commitment in safeguarding Ethiopian citizen from the traps of their arch-foe enemies. By any scale, the EPRDF’s move to stabilize the nation was much awaited action and was lauded by all spectrums of Ethiopian nations and nationalities, diplomatic friends and other development stakeholder.
One will wonder the Egyptian government’s hypocrite behavior of acting empathy while, a couple of months ago if you can remember, more than fifty five young Somali immigrant going to Europe vie Egypt were slaughtered, kidneys extracted and damned into sea for good. Another example, when the Syrian refugees flooded into the Egyptian territory they were accommodated in a very protected centers and were treated with a lot of care and concern, same was true to Libyans, Tunisian refuges, but when black Somalia refuges arrived in Egypt in 1991-2, Egypt closed their doors and the poor Somalis status in Egypt was treated as “illegal foreigners” damned in to inhuman jail centre where raping and ragging was every day experience as one Somali refugee in Addis Ababa shared with me his experience in the past in Cairo of Egypt. We know that Somalia and those Arab nationalist were all members of the Arab league club the preferential treatment for some while other was not could be probably be the complexion over content of the deal. Another handy example is the travel and mobility restrictions; Egyptians live and thrive on African lake basin waters, the substantial quantity of this water flows from Ethiopian’s God given Blue Nile.
But Egypt has never allowed commercial interaction with these countries, let alone that, Egypt use “nearly-ban” entry visa restrictions to the citizens of the lake basin countries including Ethiopia. I really don’t know how it became diplomatically accepted for these African countries to still cooperate with Egyptian government without questioning inter-country mobility restriction? Imagine, it’s quite simpler and clearer to fulfill visa requirements to USA as an Ethiopian passport holder than to Egypt. Sometimes it’s commonsense to end one’s generosity when you don’t receive appreciative feedback.
Why EPRDF is politically preferred party for the Ethiopians
Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front EPRDF’s greatest achievements during their pinnacles of power are not something we can summarize simply on this article. There are many developmental steps that have been achieved within twenty years if not less than that ought to be lauded. Just a tip of the iceberg is the double digit growth for the first time in the history of the modern Ethiopia. The EPRDF government has put in place the most advance transport road and rail network in Sub-Saharan countries. An extensive network of 114,397 km of different roads has been constructed, maintained and classified to date. While regimes and policies changed, roads have remained important, the road network has continuously grown and has outlived its creators. Moreover, the EPRDF government emphasizes the importance of roads for development and has defined road infrastructure as one of the main pillars of its development policy as formulated in the Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI), the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) (FAO/ILO/WFP 2008; UN 2007b), as well as the Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP). In Ethiopia’s development policy, roads – particularly rural roads – are seen as “…one of the decisive factors that highly contribute to social and economic development” (ORSG 2009), especially in a country where the majority of people live and depend on agriculture.
The education coverage has gone beyond ninety five percent, making it achievable to decentralize public universities to every region in the country that permeate free education access to all citizens making it historically a turning point for the Ethiopians. The EPRDF’s public housing enterprise across the country that gave permanent shelter to her citizens with minimally affordable price was the best way to curb housing crises in the capital city. To alleviate the housing problems of low income groups, the current government used Integrated Housing Development Program (IHDP), initiated by the Ministry of Works and Urban Development in 2005 to date. The Program is a continuation of the ‘Addis Ababa Grand Housing Program’ which supported the endeavors of the Ethiopian Government in their implementation of the ‘Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty’ (UN-Habitat, 2011). The concept of intervening housing crises for the drastically growing population has been devoured to the regions and now some of the regions such as Somali region, Dire Dawa council and Harar region already started distributing the first and the second phases of public houses and now are in full use for those who won the game of chance, thus reducing the nationwide house-rent prices particularly in the cities.
Desired reform expected from EPRDF
In the recent past, that is to say the last decade, rent seeking phenomenon within the EPRDF structures has inflicted a violent gust of wind on the economy of the country as a whole. As a matter of concern, the institutional rent-seeking emerged as a “state-enemy” to dissipate perceived growth. It has been mention more than 68 times in the current GTP II government plan more than any other substantial sector of the country’s economy. My understanding of rent seeking as a trained MBA-IB is not at variance significantly from the Public Choice theory. One of the assumptions of Public Choice theory is that bureaucrats as self-interested actors try to maximize their usefulness through inconsiderate or egoistic factors such as thirst for political power, public reputation, patronage, and offices stimulate their decision to give out rents. Continuation of these stimuli is openly acknowledged by this theory unlike what most of us think about rent-seeking.
For instance, an official not interested in power, reputation, or holding office will most probably not engage in rent seeking. The course of rent formation and distribution is in reality more intricate than the one modeled by the Public Choice School. For better understanding, the Public Choice forms the interface between the rent creator and the rent seeker as an impersonal relationship, taking place in a social void. While such models acknowledge the importance of mediators, they fail to bring in individual actors and to consider the social relationships they share. Rent allocation can only be possible if a bond of trust already exists between the rent creator and the rent seeker. Rent seeking involves forms of social interaction that are often “rooted” in other social relationships. For this reason, a relationship based on shared trust must occur before or simultaneously with rent seeking process. Corruption and clientelism can often be the forms of social interaction that pave the way to rent seeking. Many of us when we hear rent-seeking we thought that such circumstances is only limited to the top political leaders, in other words we seemingly assume that it’s only possible for highest government authority which is contrary of the real definition of the rent-seeking concept. This economic crime can be created at any level of government institutions in which no one is annulled its disastrous consequences. EPRDF government should put in place ways that can make all the governments employees of every level to make them precisely understand what rent-seeking ought to be and their input role to abstain its practices at all levels. Secondly expand the EPRDF party members from the existing four regions (Oromo, Amhara, Southern Nation and Nationalities and Tigrey regions) to include upcoming regions such as Somali Regional State for this five years and then keep on expanding other best performing affiliate regions as time goes by.
The writer can be reached at Dhagaweyne3@gmail.com