Like it or not, ethnicity does matter for politics. More than ninety percent of nation states are ethnically heterogeneous, and that’s why globally ethnic conflict is a major concern for governments. In Ethiopia TPLF politicized ethnicity within the EPRDF, and the state right from the start to twist distribution of resources, social gains, and opportunities in its favor. The internal structure of the state and the government was geared to advance the development of ethnic politics. Resultantly, the arrangement became beneficial for the dominant EPLF group and most of the ethno-national groups were left out. It shouldn’t be a shock today if we experience ethnic disagreements among various groups or with state authority. You’re reaping what you’ve sowed.
Can you right this state of affair? And if so how?
I believe changing the destiny of this country for the highest good is still possible. Those in power have time, albeit very little time, to make deliberate and conscious decisions – to ask themselves ‘Are we the right leaders to address the challenging questions ahead? Who is on our team? Do we have enough followers?’ It’s simply not enough to repeatedly recognize once shortcomings and to promise to do better next time. Frankly, people have enough of this, and it’s not making you interesting!
Will the state of emergency bring an end to the crisis?
When you have a government trying to bring confidence through security measures, you know it’s fragile, therefore doomed. A state of insecurity for a country is unforgiving: one state of emergency, and then a second within a year will definitely chase investors, causing a death spiral and even bankruptcy to the economy. So keep it for the shortest period (really short) and open the door for a wider dialogue with opposition parties, civil society, elders, women, youth and others to put in place the foundation for a 21st century Ethiopia.
Can you move faster?
Prime Minister’s Hailemariam’s resignation was gossip for some time before it was news. But now that it happened, names keep on floating (this time only from Oromia, at least that’s what it looks like): Lema, Abye, Workineh, Abadulla, and the expectation is somebody will be selected by means of procrastination. However one slices it, it’s important that EPRDF does not make the mistake of ignoring the people’s will.
Having said this let me end this note with a thought. First, whoever is selected should at the minimum serve the interests of Oromia within Ethiopia. Second, the new leader should be able to rekindle Ethiopian thinkers’ and opinion makers interest in reflecting on the future of our federation, while including Oromia’s perspective.
Finally, Ethiopia’s leader today should familiarize with the saying ‘Repeated punishment, while it crushes the hatred of a few, stirs the hatred of all.’ There is an Irish revolutionary song that articulates this saying:”The higher you build your barricades, the stronger we become.”
Be careful Sirs, blinded by anger the crowd is waiting outside!