Ethiopia celebrated national pride day, hopes for peace in the New Year

Ethiopia _ National Pride
National Pride Day Celebration in Addis Ababa. Photo credit: Addis Ababa City Administration

September 9, 2019

The political situation in Ethiopia is tense, and it seems the case that it has a lot to do with ethnic-politics which is given legal, through the constitution and whatnot, administrative cover.

Apart from unprecedented violence which led to the displacement of millions of people in the history of the country observed during the ending year, ethnic politics is also threatening the unity of the country so much so that ethnic nationalist’s groups are now emerging who seek to divide Ethiopia’s ancient church along ethnic lines.

Also, Ethiopian national identity, which is known in history as a strong one, is weakened because ethnic identity is pronounced over all other forms of identities. 

Abiy Ahmed led government is taking measures but too little, shallow and impressionists ones, as political pundits claim, rather than strong transformational policy measures. Even those shallow and impressionist measures which manifest themselves in the form of events are taking place in the capital Addis Ababa rather than in ethnic-based regional states where radical ethnic nationalism is pursed with a kind of revolutionary fervor.

On Sunday, “national pride day” was celebrated in the capital Addis Ababa. The event featured Ethiopian history, culture, and patriotism. According to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC), as many as 250,000 residents of the city and invited guests took part in the event. It is Addis Ababa City administration that prepared the event, according to a report by Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).

Government agencies that are known to be national pride, like Ethiopian Airlines which the Ethiopian government will privatize, members of the Ethiopian Defense Force, police force and athletes were part of the ceremony at Meskel square.

Addis Ababa city acting Mayor, Takele Uma who is said to be a central committee member of ethnic Oromo political organization (ODP) that is currently dominating the ruling coalition, was the keynote speaker.  He pointed out, rightly, that what kept Ethiopia alive so far was “unity of people.” He also said that “Ethiopia’s national pride is unity of the people.” The problem with politicians like Takele Uma whose political party and support base is an ethnic one change the tone of their rhetoric whenever they speak to their ethnic support base.

Some participants in the “national pride day” told ENA that there is a need to prioritize Ethiopia in what seems to be an insinuation that the existing governance system in Ethiopia emphasizes ethnic identity at the expense of national identity. 

Politicians in the opposition also hope for a better year. State-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) spoke to Geberu Asrat, Arena Tigray politician about his vision for the country in the new year. He said that he hopes to see the rule of law enforced in the country and that citizens have the right to work and live in any part of Ethiopia. 

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