Many challenges from within and outside and what need to be done to alleviate the challenges?

August 30. 2016 (GMN) - The recent unexpected incidence in Gonder and beyond is a subject of discussion for many Ethiopians. At this time our enemies are ahead of us in promoting their geo-political interest by effectively exploiting our internal differences. 

It seems day by day it becomes a challenge and a concern for many Ethiopians to see a recurrence conflict at various levels, some with and some without reasons. It is clear that bad policy or maladministration may contribute this to happen. Few months ago there was civil unrest in Oromia Regional state under the pretext of opposing “Addis Abeba and Oromia adjacent towns’ integrated master plan”. To me unless there is a weakness within the ruling party or some groups are looking for a cause to instigate conflict, the Addis –Oromia integrated development plan should not be an issue to create such unnecessary mass opposition which cost huge damage in terms of human life and economic loss. For any person who read the proposed plan could easily understand that the integrated plan have environmental, social, economic, and infrastructure development components which can help to alleviate poverty. Similarly the cause for Gondar civil unrest should not be out of control for the local and for the Federal authorities, if the raised problem addressed on time. Unfortunately due to unknown reasons the stand- off is not abated yet.    

In similar fashion we are hearing mainly from Diaspora extremist and their foreign bakers about Kimant and Wolkait issues, “advertising” as one of the main cause for Gonder civil unrest. I do not have as such deep knowledge about these two areas, or it is not clear for me why these issues become a cause in dividing us, and endangering our unity. It is also not clear why others external forces through their media outlets (like VOA, Aljazeera, Eritrean regime TV and radio etc… ) gave too much emphasis and coverage as if the issue is the main problem for Ethiopia? Observing the ongoing campaigns by some extremist and narrow minded nationalist groups it is understandable that they effectively exploited the issues and managed to marginalize both the Amhara regional state and the Federal government, in particular TPLF. The way the regional and Federal government are handling these issues are another factor which I believe is aggravating the situation. It is also unclear why the Federal and the two adjacent Regional States are so reluctant and careless in solving the raised questions (it doesn’t matter what the motives are, and which group raised the issue) .Public service officials should know that answering any questions which are raised by any group is their responsibilities and they should be accountable for their failure in addressing the problems. Imagine if similar issue rose in all 9 regional states what will be the fate of Ethiopia? Are we not living under one country and one constitution? 

For any observer the recent social unrest that has happened both in Amhara and Oromia regional states has created mixed feelings, and a sense of uncertainties for many.  In short, Ethiopia is at crossroad due to internal political crises. Other external players aggravated the situation as a catalyst to promote their political agendas. Our traditional enemies are not attacking us by sending their army, but by sending our own desperate individuals or groups who have their own narrow agendas. One of their new strategies is to divide the ruling party by targeting and blaming one single party, in this case TPLF. The reason is to divide EPRDF. Many Ethiopians concerns are not why TPLF is blaming, but why one ethnic group is targeted and blaming the same way they blame the TPLF. On the other hand those who claimed “Ethiopian oppositions” residing in foreign countries do not care the repercussions of their irresponsible propaganda campaigns in encouraging the Ethiopian youth through their deceptive media outlets to engage in illegal activities that could endanger the unity of the country.

 Exploiting the situation in Gonder  Ginbot seven, and ODF from outside are quick in forming a new alliance to hijack and divert the attention of the Ethiopian people legitimate questions to their respective administrative officials. Except joining to advance the geo-political interests of our traditional enemies, in particular Shabia these two groups do not have any viable local or national plan that could bring peace to the people whom they claimed are representing. They are antagonistic each other’s and their “program” is irreconcilable. The other fifth columns are some of the opposition groups inside the country. It is imperative for EPRDF to start honest discussions with them to level the ground for fair and free elections. I do think EPRDF should understand that the people should have an alternative political organization to exercise their democratic rights. This political move is one step forward to start true democratic process. I do believe the government did not play its role in improving relationship with those political organizations who respect the constitution of the land. EPRDF is staying in power for the last 25 years and we are witnessing that there are problems in socio-economic policy, lack of good governance, lack of transparency and division of power in the government branches (legislative, judicial and executive), and occupying 100% seat in parliament. The government should know that they can’t be in power by keeping the same status quo and the same talking, because Ethiopia is not the same as 25 years ago. If politics is a static day by day it creates problems. No one is denied the socio-economic and infrastructure development achieved by this government, but what should be clear here is that EPRDF has created a demanding society which needs to be coped with the situation the system has created.   

If we discuss about the survival of Ethiopian we should avoid the interest of individuals, groups or even party loyalty. We have to be loyal to our people and country first. If we agree with this principle there will not be a problem that cannot be solved in Ethiopian context. However, if we keep following the old political doctrines of the old generation then we are preparing ourselves for unstoppable conflicts. This is why we the silent majority who are looking events from the side as “laissez fair” approaches we should think seriously about our choice before it is too late. In particular the youth should think twice before they involve in activities that will affect their future. One thing what the youth should understand at this critical time is the following fact. The political mainstream is still dominated and controlled by the generation of the 60’s and 70’s. The old generation’s era are a collection of individuals who believes in violence and have a mind set of one sided political view uncompromising and intolerable with different ideas and opinions. The old generation is the most stubborn politically immature and anarchist in nature, indoctrinated with the notion of “my way or the highway” or “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and the causes for all socio-political mess for the last 40 years our country is experiencing today.

The other problem which need to be clear here is that it is not only chauvinism or narrow nationalism  endangering our unity, but also our collective ignorance how we pursue politics. As any layman can do, healthy politics is not accusing, insulting or exposing your opponent faults, but bringing a better idea and solutions that could solve problems and bringing together the people for common purposes. 

Before they go to their grave, the old generation is now determined to pass this dirty political culture to the present young generation. Most of us are tired of living for the last 40 years through recurrence violence and conflicts instigating by the generation of the 60’s and 70’s. This trend is not abated yet. The Ethiopia youth should understand this and should follow their own conscious before they fall into the traps of the old generation backward political culture. During this critical time some extremist and chauvinist both from inside and outside are fanning and working hard to dismantle the country’s unity by raising sensitive issues. Other traditional Ethiopian enemies are behind them. Understanding this the youth should not be used as an instrument by those destructive forces who bring nether peace nor development. The youth could have concerns and questions, but there are legal channels they should   follow. 

We are at the age of digital era. Unless and otherwise using our intellects carefully selected the good from bad, the many information posted today in different media outlets, in particular face-books will   destroy us.  We have to learn from Ukraine “orange revolution”, Egypt (brought the Muslim brotherhood) Syria and Libya. These countries are destroyed by their own citizens migrated and settled in western countries with the aim to overthrow their governments using media outlets wrongly from Diaspora (systematically, but deliberately with the help of their host countries). We remember how one Iraqi person (Ahmad Chalabi) role in persuading American politicians to start war against his own country, Iraq.  The same attempt failed in Turkey last month. There are many western “experts” and many others “politically immature” government officials who are persuading their respective governments to take action against Ethiopia based on the information they collected from the immigrants some of whom are illiterate, some criminals, and some deceptive “intellectuals”.  These immigrants effectively exploited western democracy to promote their narrow agendas. Unfortunately we all know how the people of those countries I mentioned above are now suffering as a result of their own sons and Daughters infantile political choices. I do think no Ethiopian with a sanity of mind want to see their country become another Syria or Libya.

As many are saying, we are on the same ship, and if that ship sank, we all will sink together. What some of the face- book and media outlets warriors mainly from Diaspora wants today from the Ethiopian youth are dead corps or bleeding faces and suffering human images to post as an advertisement in their media outlets for cheap propaganda campaigns that help the enemy!  They do not care how many Ethiopians lives are affected as a result of their deceptive propaganda campaigns. There are people among us who have evil spirits and cheering each others with Champagne or Whisky when there is uncertainty and a loss of life as a result of their misleading propaganda campaign back home.  Do these people understand the economic as well as the social impacts of living with a state of fear and in chaotic situation?  What I observed for the last four decades is that most Ethiopians become addicted to pay more attention for negative news and information. Instead of analyzing the truthfulness of news coming from different sources they take as it is, meaning our people are interested to listen what they want without caring the truthfulness of the news. I truly believe now that the Amharic saying “Tor kefetaw wore yefetaw” is the right word for the right time, here for some sectors of our societies. I am not sure where we are heading with this kind very dangerous social behavior! In particular here in Diaspora we should know that the politics here is the recipe for disaster. A generation who divide religious places in line of ethnicity, who created mini states of their own, and spreading ethnic hate will never hesitating spewing venoms to divide the country and its people back home! 

We Ethiopian should know throughout our history that we have permanent traditional enemies, not permanent friends! Our destiny is in our hand, not in the hand of others. Therefore united we stand, divided we fail!  Ethiopia faces many challenges in the past, but thanks to our hero’s forefathers and fathers, Ethiopia prevail with huge sacrifice. There is no reason why we do the same at this challenging historical time.

Why the enemies of Ethiopia are intensifying their many dimensions campaigns at this time?  To my understanding, the main objectives of this a coordinating campaigns spear headed by Shabia and few extreme “Ethiopian” stationed in Asmara and Diaspora are:

  1. Egypt and some western countries do not want to see the completion of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Before its completion they want to either dismantle or weaken the central government of Ethiopia. To do this they are aggressively supporting any groups (like Ginbot 7 and its mouthpiece, ESAT) who oppose the government of Ethiopia through the Eritrean government.
  2. If the first objective failed, as a political consumption to expose the Ethiopian governments by showing dead Ethiopian youth corpses to the international community’s as well as to the so called “Human Right” advocate groups and western governments to take measures against the government of Ethiopia.  
  3. Through continuous propaganda campaign which is similar to Nazi propaganda machine led by Joseph Goebbels, they want to drag EPRDF to the level of Shabia in human right violations issues and by doing so to cover-up the suffering of the Eritrean people and to give a moral ground for blood thirsty Isayas to continue his harsh rules against the Eritrean people.
  4. Eritrea independent is an empty slogan without free access to Ethiopian resources. Isayas knows this and effectively exploited Ethiopian resources from 1991-1998. After the border war Isayas know that the chance to get free access again is slim under the EPRDF government. Therefore he is desperate in finding and work with any groups who can compromise the Ethiopian geo-political interest.

Let me raise here one coincidence. Accidentally I met one person who came from Europe in my friend’s house last month.  During our discussions I raised a question to him why some Ethiopians choosing Eritrea as their base while Eritrea is a hostile neghbour to Ethiopia at this time. Without blinking his eye, he told me that “Isayas is the wisest man and he knows that the Eritrean independent will be guaranteed if only TPLF is removed not only from power, but destroyed from existence (even he did not mentioned the word EPRDF during our discussion when he thrown every blame on TPLF). I will not elaborate further this and I think it is clear not only for Ethiopians who have good faith, but also for “hard line Shabiawiyan” themselves. Although I am not a fan of what TPLF/EPRDF has contributed to the so called “Fiasco” Eritrean independent, more than anybody else Eritrean themselves in particular Shabia knows who saved them from the past brutal regime!


What need to be done?

I am not going in-depth answering this question. This is because, first I am outsider and second I am living outside of the country and it is beyond my ability to find a definitive answer for this question. I recommend to those intellectuals who have a good faith for their country to initiate an open and honest discussions, how we can overcome the political impasse our country is experiencing today. However, what I want to ask the ruling party is how far they are willing to go to solve the current problem and further to implement democracy? I believe that if there is willingness in particular with an issue that affects human life and endangering the unity of a country, there is no problem that cannot be solved by us.  But to achieve this we have to give priority for common purposes and destiny to continue as a united country. Problem will arise only if we prioritize party or groups’ interest before our country’s and people interest. I assume this should be answered by EPRDF. However, I have a doubt when I read the EPRDF executive committee last week press release.  I expect more comprehensive and participatory problem solving political move from the EPRDF central committee meeting held at this time in Addis.   

As I said before today’s Ethiopia is not the same as 25 years ago. The EPRDF should be matured enough to understand this, and prepare itself for real transformation. The system has created a generation who ask more what their country cannot do for them than what they can do for their country. Beside this due to the restructuring of the country based on language and other criteria’s, today Ethiopia youth do not have a common psychological makeup and common purpose and visions toward their common country, Ethiopia. They are their own ethnic products. This is scary, and as a result of this the government should be proactive and sensitive to ease the political temperature wherever, and whenever problem arises.   We expect more elaborative announcement from the ongoing EPRDF central committee meeting.

When I discussed with many people what will be the fate of our country’s future some said the EPRDF should go. However, this proposal is not only layman idea but also politically immature. To me as an immediate action the EPRDF should take the initiatives to reach out the people and those political parties who are inside the country working under difficult circumstance while they respecting the constitution. Based on the conditions and agreements reached with the people of Ethiopia and other political organizations inside the country, invite those groups living in “exile “with no preconditions, but who are claiming that they have a political organization. Those stationed in Asmara and working hard to advance the interest of the enemy, unless and otherwise they officially abandoned Asmara should not be part of peace process. To achieve this EPRDF should establish a committee who can prepare a framework how our country’s political future should be redesigned and if necessary restructuring. This process should not be open a power vacuum, and compromised the right of Nations, nationalities and people in any case and should not be negotiable with any group at this time. However, the government should show commitment for peace through binding declaration.  Any alternatives should be entertained through process with the consultation of the Ethiopian people. As we experienced before any organized political party program or doctrine should not be imposed on the Ethiopians people as a solution to the current political problems.   

I do think EPRDF was fall into its own trap. Therefore, it is the right time to look itself, and those media outlets affiliated or inclined to support the ruling party should play their historic role in entertaining different ideas and opinions to develop civilized political discussions. Showing party loyalty by entertaining one sided opinion (as many are doing) help neither the party nor the country at large. We should know that in time of like this our loyalty should be to our country and people than party. Government should be part of a solution through transparency, accountability, and participatory approaches. Positive discussions using media outlets are part of this process. Therefore, to avoid a power vacuum the unity and strength of EPRDF is imperative. The ruling party should be strengthen their internal party democracy and be strong to overcome the danger our beloved country is facing today. This is a critical time for the party and they have the responsibilities to advance Ethiopian interest before personal or party interest.   

Last, but not least many writers are posting different articles regarding the recent riot in Amhara and Oromia regional states.  Many articles contain helpful and constructive ideas and opinions. On the other hand few are either unknowingly or deliberately writing articles that aggravate the situation in dividing our people. I think it is the right time for responsible media outlets to be vigilant to separate the good from the bad. At this time we need ideas that could strengthen our unity with diversities; new ideas that bring hope and aspiration to the future generation.

Finally, I know how difficult it is to make a peace deal with the Eritrean government. Isayas have an excuse to keep the entire Eritrean people as a hostage because of the border issue. This also helped him to interfere in every activity of the Ethiopian internal affairs, with no decisive response from Ethiopia. Therefore, no matter how difficult it is efforts should be exert to start negotiation to bring peace between the two people.      

Long Live Ethiopia!