(May 12th, 2020)
When the late PM Hailemariam Desalegn affirmed to transfer power to one of the then EPRDF members; ODP - a party from Oromia region almost all Ethiopians hoped better future believing that might help to balance the imbalances. Everyone anticipated the flame of politics would be rancid, and corruption would be reduced. All regions; including Tigray, were very optimist. All Ethiopians envisaged better economic, political, and social stability.
Unfortunately the expectations have never been realized and Ethiopia transformed from instability to fragility. The realities that led Ethiopia to end with such blurred and non-functioning political structure are very complex. However. The following are the core facts and must be addressed.
1. People failed to realize the truth. Though EPRDF made several errors every thing was not negative, or a zero-sum game. Till 2000 the name Ethiopia was associated with hunger/famine but the EPRDF system managed to remove this nomenclature from the English dictionary. With all its limitation the infrastructural development and particularly the expansion of universities and training centres has contributed to the creation of educated society.
2. Most Ethiopians failed to differentiate the motive of people and the motive of politicians. When the old members of EPRDF, who are now on power started to create stories and misinform people stating this and that Ethiopians failed to ask critical questions? How do most Ethiopians expected a person to bring a better change if the person served as a “messenger for 27 years” in a party they don’t give due recognition. This is the same as trusting a person with no ideas and moral value.
3. When the current politicians came up with a “divide and rule” strategy by naming “Ye Ken Jeboch” to the people of Tigray no one challenged them rather they were idolized. It’s surprising to hear from the professors and critical thinkers to associate Colonel Abiy who speaks carelessly as a messenger from God, or unique creature sent from Alah. The truth is the current prime minster is neither a scientist nor a logical thinker.
4. Any leaders must have the skill of positive analysis and critical thinking but Colonel Abiy has none of these. Recall one of the words of the Prime Minster that insulted all African economists, and political scientists with out any reservation. Imagine having a doctoral degree and not knowing what the role of economist or political scientist is? How do Ethiopians expect Abiy who is ignorant about ten principles of economics (ECON 101) to engage in political or economic bargains with the world-class mind leaders?
The undergoing bargain with Egypt regarding the Renaissance Dam is one of the cases to single out; empty mind, and lack of critical thinking might reward Ethiopia with wastage than gain.
5. COVID-19 to the current Ethiopian government is a blessing in disguised; it served him well. Recalling some of the words uttered by the Prime Minster it’s possible to say neither the Ethiopian government nor the election board has a plan of holding an election. To begin with, Col Abiy doesnot believe in election. Remember when Col Abiy said “there are countries with out election for 30 years” during his trip Tigrai the past year or so. Second, COVID-19 became a pandemic since February 2020 though it started in December 2019. Nevertheless, there were no any pre-preparations for election in Ethiopia before the pandemic. The Ethiopian government never planned to hold an election and will not hold even in the future. If the constitution is violated once it will be hard to reconstruct or regain it. This is the time Ethiopians in general and the farmers in particular need to be alert. Opposition parties should scrutinize the hidden agendas behind all this and say “no to undemocratic system.”In the absence of freedom or democracy there is no life. All the undergoing justification such as safe guarding people, protecting life, and no election in the midst of COVID-19 are not caring for people but are more of diverting strategies to manipulate power or to remain dictator.
6. Even in the presence of any unexpected challenges life must continue. It’s possible to have an election maintaining 2-meter distance and that was the experience even in normal circumstances. To avoid social gathering and to protect the people form COVID-19, extend the voting day.
“A federal judge says the New York Democratic presidential primary must take place June 23 because cancelling would be unconstitutional.” May 6th, 2020
To sum up, politicians in Ethiopia need to come up with a strong stand; they need to be critical thinkers more than they used to be, and bargain strongly. Universities and other institution that serves the country neutrally must challenge the current government and work with the people than giving baseless appreciation to Colonel Abiy. Otherwise after September 2020 the country will become a fragile state. Then it is too late not to hear “we were a messenger of World Bank and/or IMF.” By Col Abiy and company