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Open Letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed.

Open Letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed.

By Aberra Paulos

August 27, 2018



The socio-political characteristics of being a good citizen is possession of ethical/moral and community virtues and living according those virtues. I can name some of the virtues like being a good husband; being a good wife; being a good father; being a good mother; and being productive member of the community. In today’s Ethiopia being a good citizen can be understood in terms of being honest with self and others; being trustworthy; possession of tested moral and ethical integrity; having a courage to be a voice for the voiceless; defending the defenseless; supporting the weak and the underprivileged; having ability and capacity to attentively listen to the needs and concerns of individual, communities, and prioritizing national interest, security, and welfare; being determined to sacrifice to make the dreams of self and others become a reality.Most importantly, good citizenship is freeing oneself from ghetto village thinking, therefore to acknowledge, recognize, and respectvalues of our co-existence. In conclusion, being a good citizen is abiding to the rule of law in terms of refraining oneself from abusing the rights of others.

Establishing democratic institutions, economic and technological advancement of Ethiopia heavily depends on the above mentioned values and virtues of being a good and productive citizen. The citizens that lack credible social, ethical, and moral integrity and virtues can easily infect and poison the populations, thus lead to failure and destruction. Therefore, antisocial, criminal and destructive forces must be under constant check. Most recently, in Ethiopia mob-justice appeared to prevail and gangs engaged in destabilizing our core values of co-existence. These mobs and gangs appeared to be sponsored and accredited by certain community elites to achieve their personal political ambitions. The government has an absolute responsibility to protect the population from these mobs and gangs in terms of making accountable those sponsoring terror. Social justice cannot be brought and implemented by kings/gods of terror, who can only spread and promote hate politics that damages, destroys, and kills who we are and puts each one of us down to zero. It is crystal clear that mobs and gangs can only produce dictators, criminals, and anarchy. As the saying goes; “those who make participatory dialogue impossible, advocate for violence and hate politics”.  The typical characteristics of mobs is lack of self-discipline, civility, and rational mind to cope with human values. 

Ethiopia is a great nation. Ethiopia is home of many diverse religious, cultural, traditions, and linguistic values. Ethiopians are hospitable and peace-loving people. Ethiopian social/ethnic communities are capable to interact, socialize, establish social bonds, deal with local socio-political and economic issues, address, and resolve conflicts, long before conflict resolution subject matter introduced to the academic world. Ethiopian social/ethnic communities know and give a great value to social integration. Ethiopians know the value of compromise and tolerance in the face of internal/domestic social disputes and disagreements.

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We Ethiopians are living in the era of making new interpretation and new assessment of our past and present. It has been 27 years and so since we started readjusting, re-orienting, and re-defining the true meaning of being an Ethiopian. The transition from mono-culture; mono language; and mono-religious conceptual perception to unity in diversity is a recent phenomenon, 27 years old. I want to thank the young brave sons and daughters of Tigray for having introduced the notion of Unity in Diversity. We owe and respect them for the courage, commitment, and sacrifices made to bring-down senseless brutal military junta, which was culminated with people’s revolution of 1991. Ethiopia is on the road to succeed; advance; and be respected, yet the current socio-political move seemed to threaten Ethiopia’s national interest and integrity. I am afraid that once again we are being exposed to our internal and external foes.

I want to be honest and talk in words that all can easily grasp and understand. Though we are hopeful that socio-political, economic, and criminal justice systems seem to address issues that Ethiopia and Ethiopians face. Some critical minds would agree that Ethiopia is the land of unfinished socio-political and economic challenges. Let us admit that Ethiopia and Ethiopians are experiencing a very serious historic challenges of a possible social disintegration, if things continue as we see them. We should admit the fact that our problems are as old as our stories, cultures, traditions, and histories. One of the reasons Ethiopia keep having a problem is lack of understanding what Ethiopia stands for.  What is needed is an absolute understanding of our diversity and live with it. I am not talking that we need to tolerate and compromise, instead we have to acknowledge, appreciate, and respect our diversity. Period.

Dear Prime Minister Dr. Abiy,

You became the PM of this great nation in the era of political divisiveness; economic challenges; social unrest; Renaissance Dam is not yet completed; ethnocentrism is still an issue; certain ethnic groups are being singled out and attacked; etc. As we know the great leaders are distinguished by their ability to set national interest agendafirst and ability to lead the nation with words of justice, equality, and Unity in Diversity. The most important things that we urgently need is establishment of the rule of law, justice, and equality. Medemer, reconciliation, and forgiveness are outcomes of justice, equality, and obedience to the rule of law. I am afraid that we are being overdosed with words of Unity of Ethiopia and the notion of Medemer, even though these notions are great.

We acknowledge that the process of building peaceful Ethiopia requires political willingness, cooperation,and commitment of all Ethiopians to respect socio-political, ethnic, and religious diversities of people. The era of mono culture; mono religious domination, mono political elitism; mono linguistic understanding and defining Ethiopia is gone for good. We are the community of communities. Our diversity is richness and blessings. Our national unity is power to build greater Ethiopia, colored by our diversities. The transition from elite political arrogance to Unity in diversity seemed to be embarrassed by all Ethiopians at home.

Dear Prime Minster Dr. Abiy,

I am observing destructive political environment; as you named it “Mengapolitica” appeared to spread vicious hate politics. Mob justice and gang up groups that seemed prevailing certainly will destroy our core values of unity. Messengers of evil and destructive power appeared to have unlimited freedom, the freedom that disrespects and abuses the rights of others. Those engaged in “Mengapolitica” don’t have political maturity; lack moral/ethical integrity; and are incapable of respecting the rule of law. No country would entertain and tolerate “MengaPoltica”. Members and sponsors of “MengaPoltica” must be brought to justice. The characteristics of those engaged in “MengaPolitica” are activities that go against acceptable social norms and manifestations of criminal behavior and actions. “MengaPolitica” participants and sponsors, with no doubt express antisocial sentiments; spread hate politics, express grandiose thoughts; filled with empty superiority/majority complex; and feel no guilt and remorse for their criminal behaviors/actions. Therefore, such individuals and groups are unfit to get involved in nation building process. Yet they can be assisted in being referred to social/mental health rehabilitation centers and detoxified.

Dear Prime Minister Dr. Abiy,

I want to ask you to detoxify Ethiopian Political Institutions. Political institutions in Ethiopia need to be free from arrogance, hate politics, narrow nationalism, etc.As we speak, thesocio-political environment of the country seemed to be toxic. National dialogue (focused on Unity in Diversity) is the key concept to bring changes and justice in Ethiopia. What you have been focusing; love, forgiveness, and reconciliation supposed to be the outcomes of justice, equality, and respect to individual and group rights. I would love to say that we have to be careful in terms of taking precautions not to “overdose” the political transition process with the rhetoric of love, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Ethiopian political problems need a political solution: guaranteeing justice for all, equality, absolute respect to individual and group rights; and bringing to justice criminals (past and present) to justice.

Detoxifying Ethiopian politics seeks to fix dysfunctional political institutions and the toxic social environment. Taking the metaphor further, it is equally important to note that addiction to power cannot easily be treated, since political elites are so addicted to it. Political elites in Ethiopia measure their existence with the political survival of their narrow political agenda. Such survival is determined by holding on to the political and economic power of the country.  In order to achieve their narrow objective Ethiopian political elites, use different tactics namely; overdosing us with the notion of “etiopiyawinte and three color flag”.Today the notion Etiopiyawinte and Ethiopian flag are used to mobilizing the sentiments of masses. In diaspora setting etiopiyawinete and Ethiopian flag is used to generate income to sustain the cost of living, income earned without hard work.

We all know well that Ethiopian people is not hungry for lectures on Ethiopian unity and three color flag. Instead we are hungry of an absolute respect to diversity, supremacy of the rule of law; respect to individual and group rights; promotion of creative thinking (a transition from “Shimideda” to creative thinking and innovative thoughts); and elimination of political elitism.

Traditionally understood, the concept of detoxification is closely linked to and associated with freeing the body and mind from drug abuse, addiction, and dependence. Thus, the notion of detoxification is very much foreign to politics and politicians. The premise is that a toxic political environment can be created and maintained by individuals addicted to power. Therefore, “MengaPolitica” sponsors understand and view current Ethiopian political dynamics terms of sustaining, maintaining, and furthering corrupt political propaganda. In Ethiopia, no institution seemed to be free from corruption, not even religious institutions. Attempts to cure the existing political toxins of majority complex managed and directed by some antisocial personalities would be costly if such individuals are let infect and spread hate politics. I want to remind you that, preventing new toxins from taking hold is another core principle of the detoxification/treatment process. New social toxins are “teddy boys”, gangs, mobs, etc. sponsored by greedy antisocial self-proclaimed political elites.

I have full confidence that we recognize the basic principle that there is a need to detoxify the Ethiopian political institutions. The primary goal would be to cleanse the “toxins” from the socio-political, academic, economic, and religious institutions. These toxins are intentionally planted by political elites and ill-trained academicians. The only option left to liberate Ethiopia and Ethiopians from this toxic political environment is to deal with a long standing issues: the question of national interest (i.e. unity in diversity, eradicating institutionalized corruption, fighting political arrogance, rehabilitating delusional, inconsistent, double standard political elites, and making criminals accountable for their crimes.

Therefore, detoxifying Ethiopian politics is the only way forward:ff we want to re-enhance our unity in diversity; if we want to build a healthy socio-political environment; and if we want to establish rule of law that puts all our behaviors and actions in check: No one is above the law.

As I have tried to highlight above, no change will come to this toxic political environment unless toxins are removed and patients are provided with long term treatment. The political machine guns need to be replaced by a more flexible and manageable democratic system supported by sustainable public policy. I can confidently say that the existing EPRDF constitution had detoxified the nation’s political system, yet not implemented effectively.

Along with a detoxification of Ethiopian politics, we need to analyze and address the “diagnostic symptoms” of distress in the Ethiopian population. So many have experienced psychosocial and political distress, victimization, and rage. Today, Ethiopians are unable to express feelings such as disappointment and unhappiness, nor tell their accounts of abuse, and political cruelty, given that there is no policy that prevents political elites from misconduct and irresponsible behavior. Thus, the recovery process will be costly and time consuming, yet not impossible. In order to make detoxification a reality, a healthy political environment has to be created. This means politics have to adopt intervention and preventive measures/approaches that empower people to resist political mismanagement. Thus, detoxifying Ethiopian politics facilitates the process of making individuals accountable for any political or socially-delinquent crime.

There is no one way to implement the detoxification process. Yet, one of the ways to deal with the issues of toxic politics is to establish a strong, lasting, and open-ended communication system. By communication, I mean dialogue, not confrontation; respect not disrespect; open mindedness not arrogance; debate not dictatorship. Dialogue includes freedom of speech and expression. Dialogue and communication would defuse and detoxify the toxic political environment and are useful tools in dealing with unchecked and unbalanced political establishments.

Ethiopia’s problem is chronic because, so far, no cure has been found. None have tried to find, nor shown willingness, to find the cure. The problem is not, as such, a “lack of medicine,” but it is lack of willingness and compliance on the part of those who make and break the rule of law. They all play dirty politics. They continue “medicating their feelings and ambitions” with addictive behavior and delinquency. The level of “(crime) recidivism” is ever growing.

As drug addicts need alternative medicine for toxins to free their bodies, Ethiopian politics, too, needs an alternative, inclusive approach to its political interface. Politics need to be managed from the people’s perspective. Politics from this perspective will not fail, and can always be tested and challenged. Arrogant approaches to diversity have been significant causes of political failure in Ethiopia. Toxic political institutions are supported and nurtured by socio-political, economic, educational, and psychological dictatorship, arrogance, corruption, and manipulation. In today’s Ethiopia, the consequences of the toxic political system can be found in every sector of society: the schools we attend, in social settings in which we network, in our recreational sites, and even in the churches and Mosques where we pray.

Dear Prime Minister Dr. Abiy,

EPRDF government entrusted you with huge responsibility and you got full support from the Ethiopian people. This is good thing, yet it is just abeginning. You seemed to pass honey-moon time. Your words are going to be translated into action. The country seemed in chaos. The test of your leadership is guarantying safety, security, and welfare to all Ethiopians.  Most importantly, your leadership is going to be tested by the completion of Ethiopian “Renaissance Dam”. I wish you success and good health. May God bless Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Long live Unity in Diversity.


Aberra Paulos

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