We are in the most interesting time in Ethiopian political history

3 mins read

by Geresu Tufa
Ethiopian political discourses have been rigid, predictable, polarized and ideological for the last 60 years. Those who had political differences in 1970s are still bickering on it when they meet at every social event. Each and every political actor in Ethiopia has permanent enemy for decades. Ideological rigidity, polarization and zero-sum game have been defining character of Ethiopian politics.

However, over the last one year we are witnessing very interesting flexibility and alignment and realignment among political forces which had been traditionally antagonistic. I have just finished listening to Prof. Birhanu of G7A leader speech. Not going into the detailed content of his speech, I have observed that his speech too partially falls in this new trend of flexibility.
I said it is interesting time because, for example, for the first time an Oromo activist like myself and people like Prof. Mesfin Wolde-Mariamwish for the success of the same political actor. In spite of their differences, people are trying to communicate to each other soberly.

People who are optimist about the ongoing situation are increasingly growing. Unlike the political culture in the country, the support is coming from diverse (diversity in full dimension national group, age, gender, region) demographical social bases.
This does not necessarily mean that all actors agree on the assessment of the current situation and expected results but despite that they all share the general optimism. I did not forget that there are also actors who still have vested interest from the status-quo and also those who are cautious and critical of the moment.
On the other hand, there are historical, contemporary and future issues that we are yet to agree upon. Most of issues are sensitive and controversial. So in that sense it is also the most dangerous times.
But our differences in expected results should not be a reason to lose this momentum. Therefore, we need responsible political and opinion leaders who have the grasp of the objective reality and carefully handle issues to reach at amicable end.
In this regard this is the most opportune time in recent history to start dialogue among all stake holders to craft better future. It is a time to start soberly, thinking, reflecting and discussing openly for better future.
In 2016/2017 I asked if #BalackSwan phenomenon is possible in Ethiopian politics. It seems a real #BlackSwan phenomenon is underway.
I don’t think we can afford to miss this opportunity now.
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