Adal A Isaw
I was tempted to write on most issues concerning the recent change in our country; Ethiopia. But I decided to let the wheels of change run some of its courses. The wheels are now squeaking at critical junctures, and the tide of change that arguably was prompted by impressive and yet fragile tenets of love and togetherness, I think, needs a critical review. Because, left alone to free float without any serious makeover, the change that many are desiring may end up killing the political, economic, and social life of Ethiopia. The Abiy lead government of Ethiopia henceforth should start leading the makeover and do so in urgency as an active participant. To do so, it should first and foremost be candid; that is all.
The Marriam-Webster Dictionary defines candid as honest and telling the truth, especially about something difficult and painful—like the assassination of Engineer Simegnew Bekele and the attempt to murder Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed. Failing to be candid on these specific and serious cases of security may put future leaders and highly skilled Ethiopians wary of serving their country. This is especially true if one considers our top-notch Engineers at the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and anywhere else in our country for that matter.
As is, Ethiopia is immensely suffering from brain drain to countries all over the world. And a lukewarm concern about the assassination of a beloved top-notch Ethiopian Engineer, followed by a highly questionable finding, is tantamount to adding insult to an injury. Such unimpressive work of the government is also likely to inhibit the willingness that highly skilled Ethiopians who dwell in foreign countries have—especially at a time when the government isseeking their needed skills.
The Abiy lead government of Ethiopia should also be candid about the innocent Ethiopians being killed and displaced by violent micro nationalist element of our society. If it is halfhearted to act authoritatively and legally, it may end up empowering those with primordial instincts to reign supreme in their respective quarters. These are serious matters of an-immediate-life-and-death-predicaments that need candid response and resolute legal actions. A failure to do so would have far reaching consequences—among which is the disintegration of Ethiopia into miniature states—encircled by brute force of nearly perpetual violence.
On another hand, there are those matters of future-life-and-death-issues, which may appear benign today but nonetheless require for the government to be candid. The Abiy lead government should be telling the truth in no ambiguous terms about the ideology it is seeking to implement; it should also be telling the truth in no ambiguous terms about the foreign policy doctrine that it wants to follow.In the latter case, the choice has become very complicated by agreements and actions of the government. And it requires a full-fledged thorough analysisfor us to comprehend the nature of the agreements and actions, which is not that easy to do at this point. In the former case, the Abiy lead government has two broad choices: Liberalism or Revolutionary Democracy.
The choice between Liberalism and Revolutionary Democracy is not tactical. Instead, it is strategic, since it involves ideas, values, norms, and various interests as they relate to the political and economic system that the government tries to build and solidify in continuous years of hard work. The hard work it does has to be premised on a blueprint for a desired social order—approximating that which explains how society should function—according to the political-economic theory that the government is espousing. That being the case, a government without a political-economic theory is unthinkable. Workable or not, a government lives and dies—sometimes a protracted and ugly death—by the political-economic theory of its choice. The Abiy lead government of Ethiopia cannot be the exception, and, it has to be candid to unambiguously apprise the Ethiopian people about its choice.
At this moment in time where neoliberalism is the more thoroughgoing theory of international political-economy by default, I think, a government is faced with only two choices; not more. It either chooses the public-centered political-economic theory of Revolutionary Democracy, or, the private-centered political-economic theory of Neoliberalism. Till recent, the government of Ethiopia has successfully rejected the unmitigated private-centered political theory of Neoliberalism, and it has the evidence to prove to the world. If the Abiy lead government of Ethiopia disagrees with this assertion, it should do so by candidly and openly stating it.
As I stated earlier, the Abiy lead government of Ethiopia has reached agreements with state actors, such as Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and also with non-state actors such as ONLF and OLF. The signal of these agreements is clear: The security threat posed by these state and non-state actors on Ethiopia have been downgraded. In contrast, we are witnessing a rise in ethnic and religious tensions that may beget a conflict big and wide enough to cost Ethiopia its national identity. One may wonder then if the recent rise in religious and ethnic tension is the result of downgrading the threats posed by the said state and non-state actors, who were then deemed, not so friendly to Ethiopia, strictly in diplomatic lingo. To stop the wondering, the Abiy lead government should be candid as to why it preferred a paradigm shift in Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy (EFANSP).
The issues over which the Abiy lead government of Ethiopia should be candid about are not limited to only those I mentioned in this article. Nonetheless, candid response on all issues of importance would allow the people of Ethiopia to become more informedand hence more active—to critic or support their government accordingly. It should be noted: The government more so than the general public is expected to be more candid—since it is the responsible entity that sets the tone of the political debate for the change. Pinpointedly, it is the leaders within the government, not the general public, that may drive the change toward modern and peaceful political discourse, or, toward extreme and violent micro nationalist ends. The latter has to be avoided by any cost. And the cost may be is incomprehensible to think about. But the Abiy lead government can limit and/or constrain the cost. To do so, it should first and foremost be candid; that is all.
Happy New Year to Beloved Ethiopia & its People