“ The spirit of the knowledge of society is the spirit of pluralism- a readiness to accept the Other, indeed to learn from him, to see the difference as an opportunity rather than a threat.”Aga Khan (Muslim religious leader andbillionaire)
Countless good things have come to the rest of Ethiopia from the North in the past several centuries: Christianity, Islam, African alphabet, defense of territorial integrity, liberation from dictatorship, and now the great gift of pluralism. The long overdue decision by the Tigray Regional Council ushers a new era of democratic representation of diversity of ideas which are considered as assets rather than liabilities. Ethiopian Reporter wrote on its todays’ issue: “This decision by the Regional Council was a realization of what was promised by the EPRDF and never materialized after the takeover by PM Abiy”. It is good to hear that the surviving piece of the soul of the EPRDF has done it!
What is putting us Ethiopians into the mess we have plunged ourselves is each one of us claim monopoly to the throne. We have become like the famous “Game of thrones” where violent claims to the “Iron Throne” resulted in the demise of the pretenders as well as the destruction of the “Iron Throne” itself which turned into a mass of molten metal. Cooperation saves; the absence of it kills. Tigray is reputed for being the only Region in Ethiopia where peace and tranquility prevails. Tigray 30 years ago was the least peaceful place of all regions of Ethiopia. This is quite an achievement. Tigray knows the difference very well! The rest of Ethiopia should love that there is at least 50,000square kilometers of land of peace in Ethiopia where Ethiopian can move to in case (God forbid) something like Syria happens in the rest of the Country. It is unwise for Ethiopians to destroy their shelter in bad times (I am not joking!). After all, it is where Ethiopia started and that is where the hope for Ethiopian can be. Tigray may be a semi-desert; but the Bible and the Koran, which are guides of half of humanity, also happened in deserts. It is sheer ignorance to equate abundance of biotical and hydrological resources to advancement in polity.
The decision of the Regional Council is commendable as courageous and selfless because it is normally and understandably uncomfortable for any political party to entertain fierce debates that may sometimes involve fist fights. Most parties prefer to shut off the diversity of ideas and rule by decree. The beginning of the end of the long endured 100 percent has been declared from the most unlikely place in Ethiopia; a Region that is accused of harboring “devil incarnates”. If there are any remaining good intentions the decision by the Regional Council is likely to be envied by all Regional Councils of Ethiopia, including the Central government itself. We would like to hear endorsements and words of praise from all walks of political life in Ethiopia for the decision of the Regional Council unless this initiative is also another thumbs down like GERD and other achievements of the died-young EPRDF as Tigrean and thus, unacceptable. His Excellency, the president of the Somali Region may advisably emulate the Tigray Regional Government’s courage to introduce pluralism in the midst of great adversity threatening its existence. The President should not be wasting so much time in choosing words to insult TPLF on the average once a day.
This is a test for all other regional governments who have considered their respective regional administrations as hereditary fiefdoms. The decision by the Regional Government of Tigray is a hope for Ethiopia as it ensures representation for the multitudes of parties who have been alienated from parliamentary seats because of the majoritarian principle of winning elections. The votes for them however small are going to count and there will be no reason to conflict. The only choice is to appeal to the people to give them ballot cards. The fear of earniong ballot cards and resorting to violence as a result to overthrow incumbents is disrespect for the power of the people to choose their leaders. The experimentation of the decision of the Tigray Regional Council is going to happen in the August elections. Ethiopians, support the election in Tigray as a beacon of hope rather than put it off forever. Tigray will remain truly Ethiopian if it is duly handled and its great initiatives appreciated. It is better to catch butterflies with honey rather than with vinegar.
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