BROKEN WINDOW – By Kebour Ghenna

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Kibur gena
Governing the state of Ethiopia used to be uncomplicated. Citizens were, and still are, generally docile, or rather kept docile.

But in the past months things have become more tumultuous. In many parts of Oromya local leaders and activists are threading identity politics to contest the lacuna of political representation. Their inability to pressure the government to make decision in their favor is posing a direct threat to the integrity of the Ethiopian state. Remember TPLF forty years back!

Yes, such events can be circular if not addressed properly.
The problem with identity (or ethnic) politics is that it is one-sided and undialectical. It treats identities as static entities; such politics, even when “successful,” necessarily ends at the limits of identity itself. And once set, it remains a trap from which no one escapes.

Obviously the issue of identity is a rather complex one. It has, and continues to occupy the global minds of academics and policy makers alike. Let me say at the outset I know no more about identity politics than I do about my neighbor’s Bajaj. But these days I have spent some time thinking about it. I know how important identity is for many of us. I know it’s also part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Our current model of identity, for example, comprises a list of overlapping identities. You are from Addis Ababa, or Oromya, or Welayta, or Dire Dawa…but you also are from Ethiopia, Africa, Planet Earth. The question we all leave unanswered is which of the identities, if any, has priority. By which identity do we want to be identified by others? Which identity might we be entitled to betray in order to save the others. Here we certainly don’t have any answer.

I don’t know about you, I like to identify myself as an Ethiopian who speaks Amharic. I know a friend who likes to say ‘I am Afar by nation, but Ethiopian by citizenship’, and another who insists ‘I am an Oromo. Period.’

Question: is there a unifying Ethiopian Culture?

I doubt it. But the variety of nationalities that express their culture in Ethiopia allow for the toleration and acceptance of what makes us different, and because of those differences, our society is enhanced.

In the old days, the story goes, people would ask a stranger: ‘Where do you come from’…and he or she will answer from Sekota, or Urso, or Shahemene. Today people are more often asked who they are – an overloaded question… and it looks that they are increasingly becoming closed, insular, and conservative, uninterested in building unity in our diverse societies. We probably are far from living through an identity (or ethnic) crisis, but the confusion is there, and it makes people insecure and unsure of their future.

It is fair to say, and many observers come to the same conclusion, the current union of Ethiopia’s nations and nationalities is moving along in gradual steps. It is not tidy or symmetrical in its progress. It’s best expressed in the idea of an imposed compact between nine nations (plus many other groupings,) and should therefore be no surprise if confusion exists over identity. The least we can do then is to strive to ensure for all respect for human rights, equity and responsibility.

Today’s grand experiment of Ethiopia’s polity encourages nation and nationalities to maintain the multiple identities which are natural to most of us, with autonomy for self direction and development (at least on paper). The early signs of this experiment have not been atrocious, as many had predicted. To a large extent the system has delivered peace, unity, and development. Yet in spite of what seems like encouraging results, today the common folk in Oromya is frustrated – unemployment, underemployment, peewee wages, unfair distribution of wealth… So they run to the streets to break and build a ‘fire wall’ around resource rich Oromya.

Will they succeed? On breaking things: YES; on building a ‘fire wall’: we don’t know. What we know, however, is that many in Oromya feel alienated. They feel left out in the cold by such policies favoring those smart people close to the “bank cartels” or with “political connections”. They feel angered by practices that enrich a small layer of ‘outsiders’ who are good at using government to get wealth and power for themselves. Their complaints is about not being full partners in the government, and not fully sharing in the spoils of power. Now that they have understood how the system works, they don’t want to be taken for fools any more.

So what is the government doing about it? So far it’s using force to quell the disturbances. We doubt this will prevent the next eruption.

9 Responses to BROKEN WINDOW – By Kebour Ghenna

  1. One of the visionary Ethiopians still ‘breathing’ inside the country is Ato Kebour. I know Kebour since he was President of both the Addis Ababa & Ethiopian Chambers of Commerce. I remember how Ali Abdo, the then mayor of Addis Ababa from OPDO gave Chamber very hard time while Kebour was representing the interests of the private sector.

    In mid 1980 Kebour took the bold leadership in the fight for a genuine market economic principles in the country. But TPLF, the anti Ethiopia establishment, pushed those concerns aside & crashed the private sector. Since then, no private business activity is practiced without bribery and/or corruption. This is not exaggerated. It is the truth and the real truth only.

    When the time comes histroy will bring each and every details from each and every corners and concerns. It is all in record.

    We now see the results of those outrageous measures which brought the country to the present mess and unbearable situation. Me and many million other Ethiopians know the hard truth that presently the TPLF conglomerates using stolen peoples’ money from Ethiopian banks control 1/3rd of the national economy. The second 1/3rd is controlled by the so called “shameful” privatization process to MIDROC & its likes who are licensed to steal the country’s wealth and resources. The last 1/3rd is divided into two parts: The first half of it is purely owned by TPLF members, using race, blood relation and closerness while the second half of the remaining 1/3rd i.e. 1/6 of the total is left to the NON-TPLF members & supporters who are trusted to safeguard/serve the system.

    The million Ethiopians are left with nothing.

    So from these and other perspective, Kebour has seen the present situation in the country especially the coming one in a visionary look that will end happening to be real & true. For the concerned Ethiopians everything is clear. The future of the country is not only very gloomy but very dangerous. The ship carrying all (mother Ethiopia) is sinking every minute to the bottom of the ocean and TPLF is pushing it down to get the sinking process go faster. TPLF is in a dream to come back alive from the bottom of the ocean and rule…. Funny!

    Gebeyehu Gonfa
    March 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm

  2. One of the visionary Ethiopians still ‘breathing’ inside the country is Ato Kebour. I know Kebour since he was President of both the Addis Ababa & Ethiopian Chambers of Commerce. I remember how Ali Abdo, the then mayor of Addis Ababa from OPDO gave Chamber very hard time while Kebour was representing the interests of the private sector. In mid 1980 Kebour took the bold leadership in the fight for a genuine market economic principles in the country. But TPLF, the anti Ethiopia establishment, pushed those concerns aside & crashed the private sector. Since then, no private business activity is practiced without bribery and/or corruption. This is not exaggerated. It is the truth and the real truth only. When the time comes histroy will bring each and every details from each and every corners and concerns. It is all in record. We now see the results of those outrageous measures which brought the country to the present mess and unbearable situation. Me and many million other Ethiopians know the hard truth that presently the TPLF conglomerates using stolen peoples’ money from Ethiopian banks control 1/3rd of the national economy. The second 1/3rd is controlled by the so called “shameful” privatization process to MIDROC & its likes who are licensed to steal the country’s wealth and resources. The last 1/3rd is divided into two parts: The first half of it is purely owned by TPLF members, using race, blood relation and closerness while the second half of the remaining 1/3rd i.e. 1/6 of the total is left to the NON-TPLF members & supporters who are trusted to safeguard/serve the system. The million Ethiopians are left with nothing. So from these and other perspective, Kebour has seen the present situation in the country especially the coming one in a visionary look that will end happening to be real & true. For the concerned Ethiopians everything is clear. The future of the country is not only very gloomy but very dangerous. The ship carrying all (mother Ethiopia) is sinking every minute to the bottom of the ocean and TPLF is pushing it down to get the sinking process go faster. TPLF is in a dream to come back alive from the bottom of the ocean and rule…. Funny! – See more at: https://www.zehabesha.com/broken-window-by-kebour-ghenna/#sthash.GUMMuatt.dpuf

    Gebeyehu Gonfa
    March 19, 2016 at 2:12 pm

  3. Liar Liar your pants on the fire ! !

    Please try some other propaganda, The one you are using is over used and tired and ain’t working.

    Getachew Kassa
    March 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm

  4. There is no way to go back from ethnic politics. It is a cancer. In most cases it will kill the patient. However, early diagnosis and treatment can save life. One direction to get out of this nightmare is negotiated border and full independence of for those independence leaning state , mainly oromia, Tigers w
    and Somali. The rest if needed can form whatsoever type of unitary government of their choice. The treatment of Descendent of shewa’s ( Amharas, oromia , guraghes and others) in different part of the country should be critical in negotiation as per international laws. Otherwise,most Ethiopian will be great by themselves. Hope to see the greater Tigre , Oromo and Somalis.

    Selam
    March 19, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    • Very unwise and a respone that lacks thinking thoroughly. While Trust, love and understanding are the key to solving our problem. I don’t know what border you are talking about. Yes for negotiations, but there is no border to negotiate. You negotiate on the type of political, economic, and social policies or systems.

      Sammy T
      March 21, 2016 at 9:09 am

  5. Good analysis !
    I like cool headed people with no affiliation .
    I hate shabia and its lap dogs .

    man
    March 20, 2016 at 3:53 am

  6. Look. Here again comes true that TPLF dogs bark everywhere whenever the bell of Ethiopia’s freedom rings. You are paid for these. To bark for “firfari” is your livelihood. Once again Ethiopia will rise in unity, freedom and prosperity after the demise of TPLF and you too will die barking for your TPLF Lords. This is the inevitable.

    Gebre mekonen
    March 20, 2016 at 9:01 am

  7. Look where Ethiopia is compared to other countries, even with neighboring ones. Very poor, malnourished, starved, and chronically lacks other basic needs. It is good to see why we remain under poverty. Our history is full of conflict and war. This will continue unless we get unified and think as a nation having a common goal. I am very much surprised when I see the vast majority of people who advocates Ethnic based politics are in fact living out side Ethiopia. While they made USA, Canada, Europe, etc their home, they oppose the existence of their fellow Ethiopian -brother and sister speaking different language in their region.

    tadele nure
    March 20, 2016 at 11:46 am

  8. Why we always make decision on behave of the mass ?. Let’s give the people a chance as to what they really need to do with their choices. Ethiopia itself was created thinking that when small states united it would turn in to one powerful force. It has been more than a century since its inception but the problem persists. everyone wants to impose his or her view of unity on others. This days you can not impose your view on others if do you will face with a teremandeous challenges. We live in the era where information is moving at the speed of light. So, people are more informed than what most of us think. It is difficult to deceive and oppress informed society. It is also very difficult to bring all the political org. together to have them work toward a common goal for they all have their own hidden agenda. It is everyone’s intrest to form a democratic system that safguards the interest of both the individual and group interest. It has been long overdue to establish such system. The problem is not the mass but the politician who carry hidden agenda and prevent the mass to move toward creating the demo. system. political org. need to come together and make a painful decision for the sake of peace and mass and pave the way for democratic changes in ethiopia. Political egoes and personel greed is the main enemy within any organizational structure. People give up egoes and work toward the interest of the unfortunate people.

    mureta
    March 22, 2016 at 5:17 pm