The croaking of the frogs doesn’t keep the elephants from drinking - Message to the EPRDF


Abebe H. May 13, 2010

Observation on the Election campaign

Ethiopia is changing- peoples of Ethiopia have raised their voices and finally make themselves heard. The political development model of the past that have served as reference point up until a few couple of years - the model of eliminating opponents - are finally being challenged and gone once for all. It is now a period of high point! Development of democracy has reached to the point where it can never been reversed back. The forth election campaign has confirmed this.

Surely, now or in some time in the near future, the international community as a whole would admit the reality that Ethiopia is one of the countries that are able to build a consolidated democratic system within a very short period of time. The practical move in the process of the 4th Ethiopian national election, especially the election campaign, is vivid evidence.

Observation1: A Sad Fact - Feeding an empty promise

Power or a thirst for power has strange effects and can often blind us. In the election campaign, the thirst for powers let some political entities be carried away until they lost any common sense of understanding the realities of their own country and behave like a ghost. Yes, we must industrialize; we must produce hydroelectricity, irrigate and give drinking water to our citizens. Yes, the country must be able to satisfy its populations’ needs. But it is also clear that it would not happen overnight; it did not happen overnight in the wealthy countries, either. Unfortunately, some opposition parties were trying to take the advantage by feeding an empty promise as to accomplish everything over night - a white lie. We do not need false promises, but concrete facts.

They no longer appreciate the changes that the country has achieved so far. But value only what they produced by imagination- it is a kind of hyper-reality that is completely disconnected from the living reality of the country. it is dangerous products- dangerous of the new uncertainties. In the election campaign, these political entities were putting themselves in a position that they can do everything so that to make put us on top of the world economic ladder. But no one knows how? For them too, it is too soon to tell the way on how they will do it. But who will pay the bill for their mere promise? A Sad Fact- a deep breath! 

Observation 2: - A snake eating its own Tail - Coalition PLC.

We have witnessed the establishment of Coalition PLC of opposition parties in different name and forms in every election terms such as Kinijit in 2005 and Medrek in 2010. But we have never seen a coalition of parties with antagonistic notions within it so ever like that of the 2010 election term- a coalition of water and oil.  This problem within the coalition has brought the parties to the state of “A snake eating its own tail”.

Many have tried to cover up the internal strife and to break the vicious circle of the snakes eating its own tails, but their internal state of affairs is simply getting worse. UDJ is eating its own tail and the tails of Medrek as well. But it is not end up with UDJ. It continues. The nature and mindset of the coalition is based on hate of others- exponentially increasing blind hate of other parties within and outside the coalition. All political ideology- the socialist, the capitalist, the liberalist, the neo-liberalist…all are there.  In the election campaign, representatives of each of the party of the coalition perform its own variation on the same objective. Each party claims to have its eyes fixed solely on its own objective.

Unfortunately, still some people in their madness are simple advertising the coalition industry as a pretext for their weaknesses as well as to cover up for their hidden motive of creating violence as a vehicle to seize power. But this may be for Anyone, who disturbs a wasp’s nest, had better be able to run.” Hence, the formula and sense of coalition is losing its meaning and value. This is serious. If voters of 2010 election have to fear one thing, it should be Medrek - a coalition without any internal bond of synergy for coalition.

Observation 3: Painful Lessons of History - The Derg

In time of History - in the Derg regime - we experienced the agony of man’s atrocity by man. The painful lessons of history are still there. Although that page of history has already been turned, the painful lesson of the time is still there. The point to mention that regime here is because of its consequences on our view and on the current election campaign. We thought that the regime is gone. But in this election campaign we have clearly seen that there parties who have the tendency towards or the political elements of the Derg just forgetting all our pains and traumatic experience of the time.

From the ideas propagated by some opposition parties during the election campaigns, it is a must to take in to account and view parties objectively not to return back but to move beyond the Derg elements once for all. 

The Derg regime has affected millions of people. There was purely political activity of eliminating people of different political views. But now we have 68 political parties. However, some political entities in the election campaign are still within the circle of ideology of that regime. Of course they share a great deal. We have seen nine rounds of debates. But we are not sure that not only the ideology of the past regime but also the regime itself would not come back again if some political parties will win the coming election. It is important to understand how this country and its people were confronted with that terrible regime.  So, it should not be forgotten in the blink of an eye. Even if some people have not realized it yet, we are observing a new retrospective move. Values of the past regimes have raised their heads to take back the keys to our country. The ball is in voters’ court, Watch out!!


       Observation 4:- When hope overcomes misfortune - we are not fated to be poor

The election campaigns have lucidly singled out our arch enemy- poverty. The fight against poverty in all its manifestation is a major immediate challenge of our country.

It is now that the country has got a government that explicitly recognized poverty as a threat and stand to fight against it and its danger.  As a result, we have seen strong economic growth over a period of seven consecutive years. If this trend economic growth continues, we will able to eliminate poverty. Perhaps, it is only the development and economic growth that will come to relief our people by contributing further to our survival.

So, we are convinced that we will reduce our poverty, and we are devoting all our resources to this end. There are hopes over the misfortunes.

Everyday in Ethiopia, we see changes for the better as we watching public housing construction, roads, access to drinking water and health care. Universities, hospitals, airports are being built. Our highway network is growing. The autonomous hydroelectric power plants are being completely overhauled. These are sources of hope. The necessary structures are being created. Good things are starting to happen. Little by little we are making changes and our country is emerging from poverty. The country is making itself.

Of course, it is not always easy to live in Addis Ababa according to western model or so it would appear. These progresses may not be self –evident if one observes the way of life of a New Yorker compared with that of Addis Ababa or jigjig or Awassa or Adama or Bahir Dar or Mekele, etc. But within the last 15 years, we have confirmed that we are not fated to be poor and hungry. We are not waiting for Manna from heaven because we are confident that we can get it from our own land.  We are the right solutions to the lacks and problems of our country.  All in all, we are beginning to leave our misfortune behind us.

       Observation 5:- The croaking of the frogs doesn’t keep the elephants from drinking - Message to the EPRDF

Proverbs gave us wise advice. The croaking of the frogs doesn’t keep the elephants from drinking. It may be too soon to tell the outcome of the election. But it is possible to become certain on one thing. That is, there would be countless warnings, allegations, claims and accusations and whimpers. So, the EPRDF has to turn its deaf ears and continues to strive despite all the warnings, baseless allegations, claims and accusations of countless.

The Ethiopian government has set a target to middle income country within the coming 20 years. This commitment is already represents a big step forward! But, there is a lot of work to do to achieve this goal on one hand but on the other hand through our combined efforts, we are succeeding and we can succeed more. So, we must ensure sustainable growth and development for the next 20 to 30 years.

Of course, despite the slowdown in the world economy, Ethiopian economy continues to improve.  Our country continues to post quite strong result, with an average growth of 10% for the last six years. Our consumption is rising- a good sign of growth.

But we must continue building schools, health institutions, improving water services, creating jobs. We must actively explore all the leads offered by the new millennium and by the new global economic system that can help us to achieve the development we are aspiring for. And to represent the future, we have to shift gears and pick up speed.


       Observation 6:- Neo liberalism and poor countries - An egg dose not dance with a stone

To be continued