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Charming and Challenging Times

Charming and Challenging Times

Amen Teferi 01-02-18


Life under the EPRDF’s Ethiopia is both charming and challenging. It is charming because the federal-democratic system that EPRDF put in place has not only avoided the intractable civil war that has ravaged the country for decades, but also rescued the country from total disintegration. Ethiopia is moving forward with promethean spirit that dispelled all the nemeses and turns them to promise.

In the last two decades and half Ethiopia has been in ascendancy in all spheres of development. It is moving forward with tremendous energy that could help her to embark on developmental course and assuredly lead her to join the club of the world’s middle income countries.

This glamorous journey had begun with the restructuring of the oppressive unitary political arrangement into a federal system of governance where every nation, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia enjoy equal rights and freedoms that allow them to exercise a self and shared rule.


Well, the EPRDF led government can legitimately claim several other major accomplishments. For instance, the government has created a physical infrastructure that is better than what was left behind by all the previous regimes combined. In a good measure, the road network that spans to most regions of the country can facilitate national integration and development that would further consolidate our federal system.

Much to the surprise of an observer Ethiopia has been aggressively working on expanding its capacity in power generation.  More hydroelectric dams have been built or are under construction and this has expanded the country's energy supply in an unprecedented manner. The electric grid of the country has also been expanded to a great extent and the growth in electric power production bodes well for the country's economic growth. 

Above all we know that the number of public universities has substantially increased over the last decade and many young Ethiopians have gained access to some form of higher education and this would not only contribute to the country’s economic growth but it would also be instrumental in fostering amicable relationships amongst the various ethnic groups.

Despite starting from a very low base, the rate of its economic growth has been substantial and the rapid increase in the volume of foreign direct investment will continue to be a positive push to the economy.

Unfortunately, amidst these promising scenarios we are witnessing serious problems that require our immediate attention. Close to a quarter of our population still lives below the poverty line. Though Ethiopia has avoided the catastrophic famines that used to take hundreds of thousands of lives, it does not totally ameliorate the population's vulnerability to draught.

We also witness problems cause by intermittent border conflicts that the anti-federalist chauvinists and narrow nationalist elements would like to exploit. These conflicts are being exploited by both the anti-federalist to demonize the federal arrangement, and the “rent seekers” are taking advantage of the problem to advance their personal ends.

As we have seen in the past three years, the rent seeking elements have manipulated the emergence of regional states to transform traditional conflicts into inter-regional conflict. They maneuver the otherwise old and protracted traditional conflict to promote their rent seeking interests.

Thus, in spite of the fact that the ethnic regions have been given central importance by the federal constitution regarding the resolution of boundary conflicts, the regions have so far failed to produce an arrangement that would help in amicably resolving their territorial conflicts.


In a nut shell, the monstrous events that we are grappling with in recent times really require both the temperament and resilience of democratic citizens who are endowed with the cleaver insight of an intelligent politician who can work unperturbed under the daunting influences of the changing circumstances that could even defy the judgments of an experienced public administrator.


So far the ruling party has managed to display the composure of a seasoned political organization in handling the difficult matters that we recently saw emerging. Coping up with these soul-searching predicaments, it has tried to fully grasp the kernel of the matter that deeply concerns our nation and its people. As problems come forward and push it into the tight-spots it began to scrutinize its performances over the last 17 years and finally came-up with a suitable solution that would surly address the legitimate grievances of the public. 


At any rate, one thing is true; Ethiopia is boldly journeying to democracy and prosperity. The undefeatable spirit of our visionary leaders who have the knack to dispel the intricacy of structurally embedded problems and the indefatigable determination they are displaying now will help us to come out of the dark. Thus, Ethiopia will continue to tread on the arduous path of its development.


We believe that the current rapid economic development and our surefooted unity are the result of the federal democratic constitutional arrangement that recognize the full diversity of the nation. Ethiopia’s sustained, accelerated and inclusive double-digit growth is in fact the fruit of the genuine democratic system it has launched two decades ago and the need to deepen our democracy still exist.

Now, deepening our democracy is a serious matter that assumes a gravity of life and death. The ruling party EPRDF has engaged itself in self-scrutiny platforms and identified various shortcomings that it claimed could deplete the democratic and constitutional system. In its latest statement issued last week, the ruling party has also reaffirmed its position and expressed its resolution to address the identified shortcomings.

The party has duly acknowledged the malaise effect of rent-seeking activities that is rampant in the urban areas, which it perceived as acute problem that damage its political, social and economic agendas. It has made it clear that rent-seeking and corruption are its most avid nemesis and if left unheeded it will lacerates and frustrates its health and existence as a party.

Rent seeking practices and corruptions will in fact pull the rug from under its feet and hamper the economic growth and foster inequality as well. Therefore, it has vowed to recharge its batteries and keeps the going.


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