BY TAGEL GETAHUN
Ethiopia must not indulge in democracy until it accomplishes good governance. There still are problems of competence, diligence, character, dedication and integrity of the civil service that need to be attended. Of course, the nation is exhibiting improvements in these tenets, even if some might erroneously claim they are deteriorating.
Ethiopia’s political journey must prioritise the job of creating a healthy business atmosphere the heart of good governance and electoral democracy. The business sphere and the powerhouse of the visionless Ethiopian oppositions must be corrected before it gets beyond repair.
The political opposition, rather than working on developing its own capacity, is seen hunting opportunities that could quench its quest for power. This is happening whilst it is still visibly incompetent.
The nation was reticent with a view to assist the private sector to flourish. But the businessmen were doing every wrong in order to collect as much wealth as they could, using every means possible. Regrettably, instead of investing their returns on the manufacturing sector and expanding the local production of goods, they expatriated it.
On the other hand, the opposition and its supporters have penetrated every public and private institution in order to gather information about the day to day activities of the ruling party, rather than developing their own capacity. They also welcome every force as long as it lends support to them, irrespective its nature.
I still wonder why they have not yet declared their unequivocal support for the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). In contrast, they are seen making silly issues out of the national effort.
Given all these misbehaviors on their part, I always ask when they would live up to the national interest and show the people that they are responsible. It is hard to say there is an opposition in the Ethiopian politics as the existing ones are more of political speculators.
Though the majority of the opposition political figures are intellectuals, they do not even learn from their own wrongs. They remain to stick to the old fashion politics that they practiced for the past two decades, which led them to consistently fail. They should have easily learned to adopt a new operational approach.
Given the pragmatic nature of the Revolutionary Democrats, sooner or later, they would take the right measures to alleviate the unregulated business sphere. Though the majority of the business community wishes the demise of the incumbent urgently, I believe the Revolutionary Democrats ought to remain on power as they need to get enough time to fully realise their vision.
This has already started to manifest itself in actual terms as the national interest demands it. At least, the undergoing development projects must not be interrupted due to unnecessary and fruitless change of government.
If this government is elected out at this very moment in time, power will certainly fall, directly or indirectly, in the hands of the greedy business tycoons who care little for the national interest, except their own personal interests. Then, they will rule the nation, whose significant population is living under severe poverty.
That is why I am afraid of the rush to democracy. It could end in turning the nation to a place of chaos and a battle ground of various conflicting interests.
One of the few moments the Ethiopian opposition politicians exhibited honesty is the admission of some of them that they were not ready to overtake power from the incumbent after their unexpected electoral resurgence of 2005, especially in Addis Abeba. Else, the only two interests they managed to represent are businessmen who love to lead the market place through oligopoly and the very limited urbanites that are opposed to the self-governance rights of every Ethiopian ethnic group.
Both of these forces, certainly, stand against the democratic forces. Currently, these forces seem to have joined their hands in support of the political opposition.
Despite these facts about the opposition, their only leverage remains to be consistently tagging the Revolutionary Democrats as a political force that is obsessed with ethnicity. But when the ideologies and policies of the two sides of the political aisle in Ethiopia are evaluated from this point of view, obviously the result is much far away from the pictures of the political choices presented on the national political scene.
The irony of Ethiopian politics is the opposition, whose hidden and dominant sentiment is retaining the past dominance of a single ethnic group, tags the EPRDF as ethnically biased, even if it is known for having a political program that advocates the equality of all the existing nationalities.
How come the one that has the political view for equality and freedom for all Ethiopian ethnic groups is tagged as biased, whilst the other that contends a single ethnic group must retain its past dominance is viewed otherwise?
This is the simplest issue we need to sort out before judging the political choices that avail themselves on the national political scene.
Tagel Getahun Is a Lawyer. He Can Be Contacted At [email protected]
BY TAGEL GETAHUN