What would be the middle ground in connection with Ethiopian politics, and who should come to it?
September 1, 2020
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is calling for an end for political polarization as, Ethiopian Citizens For Social Justice Party, one of the major opposition parties in the country, is demanding an investigation into the scandalous distribution of land in the capital Addis Ababa which happened during Takele Uma’s tenure as mayor of the city.
“If we have a common goal as a country, we will manage to defend the existence of our country and achieve victory,” he said in a Facebook message he wrote on Tuesday.
The path we take out of rigidity, he added, will only lead to wastage of time and resources. A view that is not willing to take a single stride towards the middle ground cannot even hold a family together let alone a nation.
Abiy Ahmed sees what he calls polarized interests as a problem affecting the country and the way to solve them is to come to the middle. But the country is now dominated by ethnic nationalists forces both from with the government structure and outside it.
Without naming names to whom the call is made, he called on the need to regulate opposing interests to build a “strong and prosperous Ethiopia.”
Despite the prime minister’s call, reconciling opposing political interests in the country does not seem to be an easy task under the existing political arrangement. The existing form of the federal government structure, for example, disenfranchised millions of Ethiopians citizens who even believe in a different form of federal arrangement.
The Ethiopian constitution grants citizens a right to live and work in any part of the country. The political and administrative practice is different – especially in regions. The past two years repeatedly demonstrated that hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have been displaced from their places as the ethnic-based regional states pursue a policy that looks like nativism.
It is unclear as to what political forces are expected to come to the middle ground as he did not mention them implicitly or explicitly.
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