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Muferiat’s “mesken”: Better late than never; out from the restrictive domain

Muferiat Kamil, Minister for Peace (Photo : SM )

Yohannes Aberra, PhD
October 11, 2020

Every soul in Ethiopia wants to spend as many nights as can be made possible without the stressful thoughts of war and disintegration, except for the political cowboys who cannot make peace even with themselves. In Ethiopia, we have reached a stage where we center our debates on the interpretation of constitutional articles rather than on the caliber of our guns and bullets. Wasn’t this a blessing?! No constitutional debates existed before. Our debates were on irreconcilable ideologies and about how to win wars. The irony is we are taking the supposed to be civilized debates on constitutional provisions in aggressive war-like manners. In Ethiopia, it seems like we have different constitutions, not one constitution and different interpretations. If we have different constitutions we have different countries and therefore no need for debate. If we have one constitution, and we interpret the constituent articles differently we are dealing with ideas not swords. Since constitutions are human documents they are not perfect; it is God’s Constitution that is.

Many bad things happened in Ethiopia which the Ministry of Peace was expected to solve. Many innocent people have died and property destroyed. Minister Muferiat is visibly a very kind person and energetic as well who unfortunately has become tied up in the obligations of the party chain of command disabling her freedom of impartial actions. It was unusual to have a ministry of peace when I first heard about it. If there is to be such a thing as an institutional arrangement for peace-making it cannot function properly within the domain of partisan politics. Peace-making requires that stakeholders in all walks of political, economic and social life participate. A cabinet ministry is bound by the political ideology of the ruling party, which may restrict the possibility of collaborative work with other parties and individuals who don’t subscribe to the ideology or program of the ruling party. Peace-making cannot be partisan; it is broad-based and inclusive. For over a year now, Muferiat was given a huge machinery for peace-making but her hands were tied behind her back by partisan politics which she has been obliged by party bye-laws to adhere to.

Ethiopia has reached a stage where solving the dangerous problem it is facing has become the responsibility of no other than Muferiat’s Ministry of Peace. I am not going to go into the issue of expiry of the tenure of the Ministry. The tenure expiry debate notwithstanding, Ethiopia needs something to keep its peace. For now, I could see no other than Muferiat and her team to take care of this. We cannot afford to leave and postpone peace-making for after the next election or for a caretaker, or transitional, etc. It is so urgent that someone already equipped for it bears the historic responsibility. 

Muferiat’s statement about restraint has come a bit late but it is much better than never. She put her words so carefully that no side can feel hurt or offended. This is the art of reconciliation! A mediator cannot succeed by taking sides. Notoriously violent and aggressive “journalists’ from a safe distance, were butchering Muferiat as a traitor and as a faction, who “revealed secret divisions” within the establishment she works for. What Muferiat did is break out of the partisan chain and say and do what real peace-making expects of her. She realized, in time, that if Ethiopia disintegrates because her Ministry was too partisan and thus non-functional history will have no mercy on her, not on the rest of the Arat-Kilo establishment. Both sides must help Muferiat to be an independent arbiter and save Ethiopia from the impending disaster.

Editor’s note : views in the article reflect the views of the writer, not that of borkena website.

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