By Abebech Shiferaw
Ethiopia has been well known for its independence, historical and cultural attractions, and relatively stable public life among others. This nation of great history and pride has now become a home for many ‘human’ made problems including extreme form of human right violations. Sadly, most of the problems are by and large outcomes of the poor qualities and ill administrative practices of officials. For instance, EPRDF/TPLF dictatorial party has abused citizens and national resources for over 27 years. This has been done of course in the name of democracy and with the support and blessings of some egoistic nations and leaders in the world.
In opposition to the brutal administration and immoral leaders, social movements have taken place nationwide that led to some changes and mere promises to basic public questions. Changes seem to be attributed to Fano (cultural freedom fighters), public civil disobedience, organized political groups actions, Qero and so on. The people ignored horrible acts committed on citizens and awarded general mercy hoping that new days of equality, freedom, unity and prosperity are coming soon.
Unfortunately, the long waited change could not come true. What is changed is only the name of the party as the saying goes: “old wine in a new bottle”. Trust given by the public to new faces in leadership and remnants of the brutal regime started to fade away dramatically as a result. Especially the attempt by the government to launch full-fledged military attack on Fano-freedom fighters clearly spelled out the hidden motive of the new ruling elites. The intended large scale military action was made with the attempt to demolish those who could potentially resist dictatorship by mobilizing the public but aborted with strong public pressure. The government shamelessly betrayed the public and agents of change like the Fano patriots. Rather it seemed to prefer to muddle aimlessly than answering fundamental causes of the revolution. Such immoral acts by the government nourish mistrust and prepare citizens for another round land sliding revolution.
The other recent political storm arises from the lack of tolerance to entertain dissenting views surrounding the upcoming national election. Some proposed postponing while others want it to be carried out per the schedule, some demanded transitional while some others suggested care taker government composed of scholars and so on. It is quite natural to disclose different views on such an important national agenda. However, the government along with its rent seeking allies seem to fail this very small test of democracy and engage in bitterly condemning those with a different idea.
The political land scape in the country has continued to take an uglier shape with the labeling, character assassination and attempts to pressurize political leaders through various ways such as arrest, strict security follow up, even threat of assassination. Among sometargeted political figures names of Lidetu Ayalew, Mamushet Amare,Eskindir Nega, and others are reportedly in the forefront. These people are made targets for they ardently resisted discrimination of citizens and organizations, opposed forced displacement amid COVID epidemic, questioned the constitution peacefully, demanded the government to respect human rights, etc. The government seems confused and staggered to respect fundamental pillars of democracy thereby clearly exhibiting its incompetence to serve as an agent of change any more.
The government has given deaf ear to the concerns of citizens and organized political/civic groups. And itcontinued with its massive displacement in the capital city and other corners with a pretext of development against the will of the public. Notable in this regard is the sudden decision to undertake construction at the famous ‘Mesqel’ square owned by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church without getting consent of the church and the people at large. It is very wise to suspect some hidden political motive behind this action which could surface in near future which is going fuel the political fracture further.
On top of these, the country is in a state of flux due to recent disagreements surrounding the construction of dam over the Nile. Citizens scarified a lot in various ways to see the dam to come a reality. Unfortunately, the dream of Ethiopians could not come true in time mainly because of mismanagement of resources by Cadres and officials of the ruling party. The ruling party was responsible for legally charging its members who misbehaved in the management of public resources and delayed the completion of the dam as planned. A crime of this higher magnitude on one of the biggest projects in Africa and eagerly awaited by the poor as a miracle is ignored without taking a significant measures. The delay created a golden opportunity for downstream countries and motivated them to bring different concerns to the table which gives birth to a fresh crisis over The Nile that put the country in another storm.
In general, the leadership is adding major problems after problems than taking corrective measures timely. Obviously, the nation is going through cyclic political storms which could potentially lead to full scale civil war, serious human right violations and real national security problems.The purpose of this article is therefore to alert citizens, concerned parties and the international community to look for a working way out through an honest all inclusive constructive dialogueso as to calm down the tides of political storms in the country in a civilized manner.