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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Ethnic idenity is just as important as national identity. No amount of crying about this will change that fact. The more ethnic identity is vilified and maligned, the more fervor with which it will be pursued. The proof is in front of your eyes.
Identity is absolutely an important part of being a human. But the current identity in Ethiopia was based on only on language. Identity is more than that. It should be based on common culture and background.
If I am born to Gondere parents but somehow choose to speak in Oromiffa, then in the current structure, I would be labelled ‘Oromo’. It should not work like that. Multiple languages can be included in one identity. Identity is more than a language.
The above event is a good effort by the administration. But it does not solve the root cause of the problem. This feels like a sad farewell to the once strong Ethiopia.
I guess Obbo Takele is an engineer by training and profession. Am I wrong? So he is an engineer turned a politician. Professional politician do a lot of things what pundits call pragmatic and they were/are trained in the skills on when/what to do it properly. For an engineer such skill would be something of an acquired taste they learn on the job. This young man is facing problems with some so dire that come to him in every direction. There have been serious threats from mob drivers that if certain things are not done their ways, they say, that they will not be responsible for what the massive youth under their tutelage is going to do. This is a thinly veiled threat to the city itself and its inhabitants. These ‘mob’ bosses were threatening the capital with an embargo by stoning and torching every freight truck going into the city with food and other essential supplies. They were throwing such threats during the height of the protest before 2018. There was one threat on another website similar to Borkena but it was taken down after I and others profusely condemned it. If that happens, it would have been nothing but a crime against humanity because it could gravely endanger the lives of more than 4 million innocent civilian lives. Such hate mongers were calling for such inhumane steps from their comfy homes here among us. This was then but now they are over there in every nook and cranny agitating the hapless/unemployed youth. These qutrubs are now threatening with an all out secession if this or that is not done their ways. They will not tell you exactly like that. They will try to be like any observer/expert by telling you that if thing are done this or that way, the country will splinter into pieces. That is a perfectly thinly veiled threat. Let me ask you this. Who has been doing everything possible for secession? These are the demons that are slithering all around the capital with real and present danger.
They are itching for some possible violent reaction from the city administration or the regime itself because any casualty on their followers is the only way for them to sustain their de facto leadership. I am hearing now that the level heads are making progress in several localities. These bigots seem to notice that. So a great deal of pragmatism is the order of the day to take apart/away the blind following these ivy college grad bigots are enjoying so far. Violence is not the answer. And prudent patience, I may add.
We should all remember that some of these so-called ‘freedom fighters’ had done things that would have been classified as crimes if they had done that here in USA or Europe. They had admitted that their followers were torching factories and stoning vehicles that they thought were owned by the government or their collaborators but it was meant to paralyze the regime. Tell me which democratic country allows you to do that by instructing/enticing the youth to burn down factories and does not hold you accountable. Name one. Factories to me are one of the sacred places in the modern world. They should not be touched. To burn them down is like burning down the means of living for innocent citizens where they could lose their lives in the act. This is a tradition that migrated to our old country from the armed struggles of China including our own backyards. I remember from my student days in the Middle East how one operative of the ELF(later EPLF) was so enthusiastic telling me the story of hijacking civilian planes of EAL and how he was elated by the news of factories being torched by his ‘fedayeens’. That is urban commandos, y’all!!! You remember this quote in 2016? ‘…only factories connected with the regime and foreign ones built on improperly confiscated land were being targeted.’ It is painfully clear that Takele and alike are constantly surrounded by such committed segregationists. The threat is real and it should be up to the current leader, the PM, to show strength and assertiveness in dealing with these jinns. To me in a countries like the old country have their continued existence predicated on how they will transform themselves from the go-nowhere and a disaster agrarian economy into an industrialized nations which means factories are here, factories are there and factories are everywhere!!! Such plan/endeavor needs a good deal of FDI and that would not happen when you threaten or not protect existing ones. Even that devil Lenin had learned that in the most painful ways in the 1920’s and forced to come up with that NEP even though it was wrapped in his evil intentions. How about our own experience? We all remember the consequences of the all out nationalization of the 1970’s. It ended up with a disaster. Mengistu’s utopian Ethiopia headed toward a calamity of the 1984-85 famine that still stigmatizes the old country. His successors came up with the ‘developmental this or that’ snake oil just to end up making them filthy rich. Everything was labeled ‘developmental’ including blowing your own nose in privacy must ‘developmental’ The way you eat, dance and stare at the late PM must be based on the tenets of ‘developmental’ For heaven’s sake even democracy was predicated on and is allowed on the home brewed ‘developmental’. Even their guns were singing ‘developmental’ when they mowed down more than 200 peaceful protestors in 2005. There were boatload of parables uttered by the late PM and he and he was the only one who knows how to come up with such parables. As Obbo Seye once told us none of them knew what to do if the PM was gone and he was dead-center right about that.. They were left clueless when he passed away in 2012. ‘Developmental’! My foot!!!! Let me stop here on that one!!!
This is my honest opinion and you can tell me my fallacy all day along and I am ready to amend my ways but please stay civil mirroring our age old and legendary tradition/values.
All ethnics group big or small under one Ethiopia umbrella is the only option we have to leave in peace. God bless Ethiopia and its citizens.
Very well said…
Peace is the greatest legacy to a Nation. Ethiopia is the pride of Africa. I hope Ethiopians of today say it clearly. Africa need Ethiopia in peace and united. A divided Ethiopian wouldn’t achieve better life for younger generation and wouldn’t help Africa stabilize. For your name (Ethiopia) and for our children (future Africa) seek for unity at any cost.
Groups like isis and tplf aim to fracture the nation along religious/ethnic lines.
Supposedly the Addis Ababa’s beggars are going to be put in temporary rehabilitation centers before being released in the public since authorities in Addis Ababa are making moves to clean up the capital city, with rehabilitation centers and a possible ban on begging .
In a city where over 90% of the population proudly eat only one meal per day, all the people got the human right to proudly beg for basic necessities. Criminalizing poverty should not be an option for the proud people of Addis Ababa, since being poor is not a crime to be ashamed of.On the contrary the middle income and the upper income people in Addis Ababa are full of shamefull criminals unlike the proud poor beggars people of Addis Ababa. If anyone need rehabilitation in Addis Ababa it is the shamefull rich and their shamefull diaspora returnee friends that need to get rehabilitated not the proud poor beggars of Addis Ababa.
Let us keep in mind the proud beggars donot have anyone to file missing person report and look for them to see whether they are voluntarily or involuntarily commited to the rehabilitation centers, while atleast the shamefull upper income rich people usually got concerned people to inquire about them if at anytime the shamefull rich rehabilitated individuals decide to leave the rehabilitation centers, mind you rehabilitation is not a prison sentence it is mostly a willingly partcipation by those that need rehabilitation since forced rehabilitation always backfires with the person going back to the old ways when finally released from the rehabilitauion since the person wasnot willing to give up the old ways to begin with, while commited to rehabilitation unwillingly , just like the DERG SOLDIERS national service declaration backfired at DERG itself ..
The real criminals are the corrupt EPRDF senior officials and their looting partners not the poor . If OPDO/ODP wants to really clean up Addis Ababa OPDO/ODP should criminalize looting not begging plus OPDO/ODP should start by cleaning up Quoshe, the artificial garbage mountain which keeps on landsliding and burrying people alive over and over again while spreading disease allover the city for decades . Quoshe is the ever growing disease breeding ground of Addis Ababa that is responsible for the death of thousands of people each year eventhough not given the attention it needed by “the Anti-Addis Ababa, federal and local government senior officials/EPRDF senior officials” for decades until now.