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Charting a New Vision for Constitutional Patriotism by Embracing Jawar Mohammed’s and Dr Messay Kebede’s Prepositions

Tibebu Taye (courtesy of the author)

By Tibebu Taye

እዚህ አገር ላይ … “የኔን ጀግና ተቀበል፣ ያንተን ጀግና አልቀበልም” [በዕለት ተዕለት ፖለቲካችን ውስጥ የተለመደ ሀቅ ሆኖአል። ነገር ግን] “ያንዱ ጀግና ያንዱ ወንበዴ ሊሆን ይችላል” ያንዱም ወንበዴ ያንዱ ጀግና ሊሆን ይችላል። Obbo Lencho Letta 

(Translations) In our country… “accept my hero, but I will not accept yours” is the implicit premise that governs how our everyday political communications operate, “obviously, one’s hero can be others’ mobster.” ቤቲ ሽው (18: 33” – 18: 43”) 

Our past decision to travel in a murky path has subjected us to a psychic blindness and collective moral panic that granted us false consciousness and ignorance towards gruesome injustices and to partake in vigilante retributions. Because of that, we are yearning today for civil and norm-guided cognition, motivation, and behavior. If you agree with me that this accurately describes Ethiopia’s current political landscape, then we are together acknowledging the psychological state of disorientation that permeates our society which exposes you, me, and everyone else to the most severe—possibly deadly— affective disorientations and political subjectivities. Likewise, if you stand in solidarity with my quest for an all inclusive, people-based, urgent and viable solution to the effective rehabilitation of our political being, then we are all together calling for constitutional patriotism. It is generally as a medicine for our affective disorientation: a salvation against extreme ethno-nationalism, a treatment to our moral panic, and a tool for organizing the political mass to build a more robust and participatory (people-centered) democracy, and cultivating a sense of ownership, investment, loyalty in the political processes, and ultimately unity in diversity.

Introduction 

I was having a conversation the other day with two of my friends, and I forwarded a similar question to them in the middle of our talks. Here was the question, “where is the future of Ethiopia heading to?” Here are the two lessons I learned from their comments, which I would love to share with you in just two points. 1. We arguably have a problematic constitution and the resultant political order. It could be problematic in several ways, or could be because of its contents or implementation, and there will be no quick evidence than looking at the already polarized political groups in the country. Broadly speaking, when the existing constitution, as it is customarily implemented today, is viewed as an armour and shield for the existence and political projects of ethnonationalist groups, it is considered an obstacle for self-promotion by advocates of Ethiopian unity, commonly named as ‘Ethiopianists’. Although the nature and intention of both poles differ, in light of affective theories, they produce and deploy similar types of affective energies that are deployed for the realization of their absolutist self-projection, primarily used to label and pity against each (Lencho Letta, 2015). As a result, today we hear so often that people talk about political polarizations and a lack of trust in politics, hate and incitements, political assassinations, irregular political formations, and unholy unions among politicians, and civil wars. 2. When our constitution could be seen as strong in other different aspects, as many different scholars also underscored, its problematic nature is suspected to have produced social illnesses by heightening ethnonationalists crusades (I think both Jawar and Dr Messay would agree in this), generating sentimental patriots (consider these common terminologies in our contemporary political discourses: “ስሜታዊ አርበኞች,” “የጎበዝ አለቃ,” “የአካባቢ ጅሌዎች”), supporting patrimonialism (“የፖለቲካዊና ቢዝነስ ኦሊጋርኪዎች” or parastatal bourgeoises as Jawar prefers to call them), discouraging moral and civic engagement, undermining self- governance, and promoting tribalism and mob justice.  

It is palpable that every person considers, voices, and evaluates the possible course that our country may follow in the future. Individuals who identify as political “path finders“—politicians, activists, academics, experts, and religious and social thinkers—speak in various languages as their predispositions have a major influence on them. There is, in fact, no one-size-fits-all solution to the current socio-political and emotional intricacies that we are subsumed (unlike what Jawar and Dr Messay suggested). Since our perceptions and judgments create a wide range of ambitions, it might be difficult to come to an agreement on commonplace ideas like freedom, equality, progress, and patriotism in our multimodal political environment. Moreover, we no longer lead linear lifestyles as we once did; rather, every aspect of our contemporary existence is changing in the face of unsettling events like civil wars and post-truth politics, natural disasters, the spread of disruptive technologies, and global instabilities. Even formerly known to be ‘democratic’ states are being forced by these trends to revert to their tribal roots.  

By promoting constitutional patriotism, I hope to contribute to 1) reshaping the grammar and language for navigating the fast changing Ethiopian political scenery. I intend to provide a critical analysis of the dialogue between Jawar Mohammed and Dr. Messay Kebede. This commentary only visions as a valuable contribution towards advancing our understanding of contemporary political dynamics and reshaping our language for a rapidly changing world. And 2) suggesting possible solutions to reorganize and act against the prevailing affective and moral untidiness in our contemporary political landscape. Note that constitutional patriotism doesn’t shy away from affect, in fact, it normatively focuses on political affect and identification around an increasingly abstract set of principles and values that can serve as a least common denominator among a “diversity of cultural life-forms, ethnic groups, religions, and world- views. 

A note to Dr Messay Kebede

As ‘responsible’ individuals, who are deeply concerned for the welfare of our nation in general and every citizen. We must recognize the significance of this pivotal and transformative moment in Ethiopia’s history. It presents a golden opportunity for us to effect real and lasting change for the betterment of our society. 

Upon examination of the discourse surrounding Jawar’s concept of progressive patriotism, one encounters inherent contradictions with the foundational principles of ethnonationalism. This observation is substantiated by Dr. Messay Kebede’s critique in his article from Borkena, “Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Jawar’s Interview,” where he posits that the notion of progressive patriotism is incongruent with the core tenets of multinationalism. This critique resonates with my own analysis, affirming a shared viewpoint on the matter.

Simultaneously, I find it necessary to articulate my dissent regarding Dr. Messay’s advocacy for “civic or democratic nationalism” as a mechanism to navigate the complexities of pluralism while preserving national cohesion. Although Dr. Messay’s propositions of “civic” or “democratic” nationalism are commendable for their promotion of a political framework entrenched in democratic inclusivity, however, will it warrant a more nuanced approach to address the multifaceted dynamics of national identity and unity? Allow me to clarify my doubts bit by bit.

Firstly, Dr. Messay’s critique of Jawar’s proposition of progressive patriotism hinges on the argument that it “unfortunately looks misplaced in that it collides with the very essence of ethnonationalism”. In furthering the discussion, the progressive patriotism, I would say,  may appeal more to the group what Jawar described it as parastatal bourgeoisie, who occupy influential positions within the political and economic landscape of the country, underscores the intersectionality of this forms of patriotism with socioeconomic and political power dynamics. While this criticism aligns with my perspective, it is essential to recognize that the concept of civic nationalism itself is fraught with ambiguity. It is not entirely clear how this form of patriotism can reconcile the diverse aspirations of Ethiopia’s ethnic communities within a framework that traditionally prioritizes national unity over ethnic identity.

Secondly, Dr. Messay’s counter-proposal of civic/democratic nationalism, as the outcome of democratic multiculturalism, which I have chosen to inspect, raises questions about its practicality in the Ethiopian context. The notion of “democratic multiculturalism” proposed by Dr. Messay is predicated on the assumption that a democratic political order is already in place, which may not be the case. In his argument he asserts that “the nationalism in question is not ethnic; it is rooted in the democratic values that make the state inclusive.” This assumption also overlooks two things: 1) to our greater astonishment, elites that get their authority from their respective ethnopolitical groups and projections control Ethiopian politics today, to some exceptions. Their primary allegiance is to their respective ethnic groupings. I find it difficult to agree with your argument since these elites prioritize their allegiance to their akin group—which is natural and expected—above the ideals of the modern democracy; 2) the literacy challenges that a significant portion of the Ethiopian population faces, particularly those in the rural area, potentially alienating them from fully engaging with modern democratic ideals, to which Dr Kebede’s notion of nationalism is entrusted. 

Thirdly, Dr. Messay’s assertions that Jawar’s progressive patriotism appeals to Oromo elites, may inadvertently marginalize the broader populace. While it aligns with my perception, I believe Jawar also had the parastatal bourgeoise class in mind when he proposed it and his proposal may sound ideal for the parastatal bourgeoisie group, if he is not exclusively targeting them in his proposal. Conversely, I want to be clear that Dr Messay’s is entrenched in his focus on the cosmopolitan segment of society that has access to modernity, despite his attempts to flee ethnotionalist forces and the parastatal bourgeoisie class. Thus, he neglects the elite of all backgrounds and those illiterate country folk as it only focuses on the average citizen and is therefore incomplete in the face of a dysfunctional constitution where both elites and ordinary citizens also disregard the vital elements of the constitution. 

Fourthly, true to progressive patriotism, civic or democratic nationalism is also a deceptive concept. It regards “a nation as exclusively a political community independent of cultural components and orientation”. According to Nielsen, “All nationalisms are cultural nationalisms of one kind or another.” Moreover, the reliance on external national threats to galvanize a sense of patriotism, as implied in the concept of civic/democratic nationalism, is problematic. Without such threats or or in the presence of such a threat, it is unclear how a collective civic or patriotic sentiment can be activated, particularly in a society where the idea of nationalism is still being negotiated.

Messay’s proposals offer valuable insights into the discourse on nationalism in Ethiopia, they require further refinement to address the complexities of the nation’s ethnic diversity and the realities of its democratic development. It is imperative that any theoretical framework for nationalism in Ethiopia be inclusive, pragmatic, and sensitive to the lived experiences of its citizens.

Interrogating Dr. Messay Kebede and Jawar Mohammed beyond the conceptual framework

Having reflected on the theoretical inadequacies of ‘progressive patriotism’ and ‘civic/democratic nationalism’, referencing the post-war and troubled Ethiopian political context, I pose the following set of questions to both Jawar and Dr Messay. 

1. I recognize the power of both progressive patriotism and civic nationalism as a measure to contribute to the stability and unity of a notion. However, I criticise them for their lack of urgency in addressing Ethiopia’s ‘current’ socio-political crises. You tend to focus on abstract notions of national identity without offering concrete, actionable steps towards realization. This question points to a need for a clear strategy that moves beyond theoretical discussions to practical recommendations that can be implemented to navigate this complex socio-political landscape. Upon engaging in a contemplative analysis of the problem and contemplating potential avenues for actionable recommendations, one would discern the gravity of the issue at hand and the imperative nature of addressing it with a heightened sense of urgency and requisite determination

2. The transgression of the constitution in contemporary Ethiopia is a grave concern that is perpetuated by all levels of society, from ordinary citizens to top elites and government officials. We don’t have to mention all here, just look back at the past 5 years to illustrate the severity of these violations. Corruption, organized robbery and property crimes, arbitrary and extrajudicial killings, forced displacement, attempt for genocide, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement. How many constitutional transgressions should be tolerated in the pursuit of either progressive patriotism or civic nationalism, this is another difficulty with me. Without a threshold for what is acceptable, there is a risk of perpetuating a cycle of violations that undermine the very foundations of the nation’s legal and ethical frameworks. 

3. Based on the above note, the debate between Dr. Mesay and Jawar illustrates the lack of clarity on ‘who?’ should moderate the transition from ethnonationalism to their respectively projected forms of nationalism. While Jawar’s proposition appeals particularly to the elites, Dr Messay’s exclusively focuses on the cosmopolitan segment of the society. In the context of the Ethiopian political landscape (characterised by a lack of trust, racism and hatred, bizarre political assassinations, irregular political formations, and unholy unions among politicians, and civil wars) who is primarily going to benefit from their respective propositions? The people? The elites? The regime? Both parties highlight the issues with ethnonationalism but fail to provide a clear starting point or leadership for the transition, The people? The elites? The regime? This lack of clarity can lead to stagnation and prevent progress towards a more just and inclusive form of nationalism. 

4. Ethiopia’s history is marked by episodes of racism and exclusionary practices that have left a legacy of grievances, bad memories, and uncertainties. I doubt whether progressive patriotism or civic nationalism, uncomplemented, can truly address these deep-rooted issues. How can they succeed without a processual approach that acknowledges grievances related to past injustices and outlines a clear path towards reconciliation and unity, I worry that introducing these ideas might not be sufficient to heal the nation’s wounds.

Here, I am seeking to draw a parallel between the three types of nationalism mentioned here, emphasizing the importance of upholding legal, moral, and ethical standards in these frameworks. Indeed, being a patriot involves more than just legal adherence to tax obligations; it encompasses a deep sense of loyalty and dedication to the well-being and values of one’s country. As per Jawar’s proposal, for instance, the idea that an investor with a record of tax evasion would not be considered a patriot highlights the connection between ethical behavior and true patriotism. Similarly, merely fulfilling your tax obligations does not automatically make you a patriot if you do not actively participate in voting during elections as per Dr. Messay’s civic/democratic nationalism. In a diverse society such as Ethiopia, aligning these forms of patriotism, if it’s ever possible, underscores the importance of individuals upholding not just the letter of the law, but also the spirit of shared values and principles that form the foundation of a cohesive society. In my view, constitutional patriotism has the potential to be transformed to a holistic approach that includes adherence to constitutional principles with ethical conduct (inclusive of traditional liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights) and with a spirit of progressiveness (let’s bring Jawar’s notion) with the aims to concurrently foster a sense of unity and responsibility among citizens towards their country and fellow compatriots. As Abbo Lencho said, 

Forging a democratic political order would fail as long as absolutist positions continue to confront each other, for democracy results from an impasse among competing elements of society, which requires hammering out a compromise. When a political order results from such a compromise, all contestants would have to learn to uneasily live with it because it does not preferable match any sector’s favorite alternative. (Abbo Lencho Letta, 2015, quoted from ‘Electoral Absolutism in Ethiopia’)

The next set of inquiries will be: do our political elites  and leaders genuinely seek for changes for our nation? What institutional and social pre arrangements are needed to be in place to actualize it? Are individuals who consider themselves pathfinders (including you, him, and myself) for Ethiopia’s current political crises prepared to give up their current ‘status-quo’ and accept changes that can clash with their pre-political, financial, and privileges?

The success of real and lasting improvements that we aspire to see in our country depends on the feeling of urgency and determination by all stakeholders. If this is the case, then what specific political affect sparks a common sense of constitutional patriotism? My response to the question of affect will be: producing and disseminating ‘positive affect’ that can help us to sediment constitutional and ethical values, which can be mobilized for democratic culture and positive normative social commitments; for example, submit to the truth and moral instincts, abide by the rule of law, respect thy neighbour, encourage collective responsibility, and hence modulating/attenuating sentimental patriotism to constitutional patriotism. 

Upshots of constitutional patriotism:

  • It is nurtured by a habit or practice that refuses or resists pre-political identifications on which citizens usually depend in forming their political identity.
  • It gives a framework for group identity with a focus on the interpretation of citizenship as a loyalty that goes beyond individuals’ ethnocultural identification or illusive and unrealistic forms of nationalism. 
  • It is particularly ideal in post-war or post-national states in which multiple cultural and ethnic groups coexist. In the context of post-war period, it is a protective and state-centered means of dealing with the memory of the holocaust and a protective means to ensure political stability.
  • It allows for the “transient account of identity consistent with the diversity, hybridity, and pluralism of our modern world.
  • It advocates collective responsibility that amalgamates people of all socio-political and economic denominations. 
  • It strengthens political and democratic institutions and prevent the chances of leaders from being authoritarian rulers and even dictators.
  • It could serve as a unification solutions, especially in diverse, liberal democracies and in the faces of a globalized economy. 
  • It does not generate irrational, antidemocratic hostility toward an unending series of binary and polarized people or groups or nations whom it positions as threats or ‘enemy’.

Why should we be caring so much about affective disorientation in our politics?

Ethiopia is currently experiencing a significant level of societal perturbations which is driven by various interconnected factors. This phenomenon is primarily fuelled by the increasingly agitating nature of ethnopolitics, a misplaced academic system, ideological bankruptcies, dysfunctional constitutions, religious intrusion, and their institutional manifestations, as well as the impact of disruptive technologies. It is important to recognize that politics inherently involves the manipulation and mobilization of affective energies, and therefore, all politics are essentially affective politics. 

Affective disorientation diverts society away from reason and ethics-based interactions and towards emotion and mob-driven dynamics. In Ethiopia, regardless of ideological orientation, politics seeks to generate affective energies to label, disparage, or belittle the opposition. This is evident in the two predominant political camps in Ethiopia: ethnonationalist and Ethiopianist poles. While they differ ideologically, both camps employ affect to mobilize support and discredit opponents in similar ways. 

The political landscape in Ethiopia is currently characterized by a noticeable ideological vacuity within the governing regime. In contrast to past regimes that articulated clear political ideologies and anticipated outcomes, for good or bad, the present government exhibits a form of ideological bankruptcy. This is evidenced by its fluctuation between semi-religious and semi-folk philosophical frameworks, at times presenting itself as embracing pragmatic social democracy and at other times invoking a vague notion of maintaining ‘Medemer’. This ideological inconsistency contributes to the emotional disorientation of the populace, complicating the political discourse, and potentially undermining social cohesion. 

Ethnopolitics, the most influential force in Ethiopian politics, epitomizes the manipulation of affect. The Tigray war offers a striking example. Ethnopolitical narratives kindle emotions, fuelling deep-seated divisions and conflicts. These affective energies eclipse rational discourse and ethical considerations, resulting in a society where emotional reactions supersede reasoned debate and ethical conduct. 

Misguided academic systems contribute to this disorientation by failing to nurture critical thinking and ethical reasoning. Instead, they often perpetuate ethnopolitical narratives, further entrenching affective responses. Ideological collapses leave a void filled by affect-driven politics, as individuals seek emotional solace in the absence of coherent and rational ideologies. 

Dysfunctional constitutions and their institutional components exacerbate the problem. When legal and political frameworks fail to function effectively, they breed frustration and resentment, emotions that are easily manipulated by political actors. 

In Ethiopia, politically and ethnically motivated religious leaders and their institutions are exhibiting a concerning and potentially perilous trend of interference in the political landscape. This interference is particularly unsettling due to the unusual and risky intentions that seem to be driving their actions. These religious leaders seem to be channelling their interpretation of their respective ‘Great Commission’ into the realm of politics, blurring the lines between religious and political spheres. This phenomenon raises alarms regarding the potential manipulation of religious beliefs and their dogmas for political trimmings, further complicating the already obscured socio-political fabric of the country. 

Disruptive technologies (social media?) play a significant role in fostering emotional disarray in Ethiopian politics by exacerbating division and animosity among different groups. The algorithms and business models of social media platforms tend to segregate users into echo chambers, reinforcing their existing beliefs and isolating them from diverse perspectives. This amplifies polarization and can fuel hatred between different factions. Moreover, the technological affordances of social media make it easier for distorted narrations and inflammatory content to spread rapidly, contributing to the escalation of tensions. In a recent report, the BBC highlighted how the Ethiopian government has been using social media to disseminate hate speech against its opponents, further intensifying the already volatile political climate in the country, while at the same time imprisoning the government for serious constitutional violations.

The outcome is a society in affective disarray, where political discourse is dominated by emotional operations rather than rational debate and ethical considerations. This shift towards emotion-based politics undermines the fabric of society, leading to post-truth politics, mob-like behaviours, and eroding democratic processes.

We should be wary of affective disarrays because, while each of the above contributing factors can have significant risks independently, their cumulative impact is exponentially more dangerous. This compounded effect can drive the nation towards disintegration. The already evident consequences of our affective disorientation include civil war, widespread mob justice and vigilante retributions, social distrust, hatred and polarizing speeches, which undermine the rule of law and erode trust in formal justice systems. Additionally, there is a disturbing rise in cognitive insouciance and false consciousness, where individuals become disengaged from reality and critical thinking, often embracing harmful ideologies. Spiritual interference and the emergence of sentimental patriots, who act based on emotional fervour rather than rational and civic forms of patriotism, further destabilize social cohesion. These issues are exacerbated by the daily practices of moral mess in our politics, which trickle down from mainstream politics among officials and political pundits. This environment fosters cruel optimism, where people cling to unrealistic hopes; networked moral panic, which spreads irrational fears; uncivil agreement, where consensus is built on harmful grounds; and anticipatory obedience, where people preemptively conform to anticipated pressures. Collectively, these manifestations threaten the nation’s stability and integrity, making it imperative to address the root causes of affective disarray comprehensively. 

Resistance to constitutional Patriotism: normal and expected

The concept of “divide and rule” has historically been employed by politicians as a strategic tool to maintain power and control over a population. By fostering disunity and discord among citizens, political leaders can weaken collective resistance and ensure their dominance. This tactic often involves creating and exacerbating divisions along political, ethnic, linguistic, and geographical lines, ultimately leading to a fragmented society. The perpetuation of affective disorientation, which incites emotional turmoil and discord among the populace, serves to further deepen these existing divisions. In the context of Ethiopia, where political, ethnic, linguistic, and geographic fault lines already exist, the exploitation of affective divides can worsen societal fractures and impede unity and cooperation among the people. By recognizing and addressing these tactics aimed at sowing discord, it becomes crucial for citizens to remain vigilant, foster understanding across diverse groups, and work towards building a more cohesive and inclusive society. 

Proposing constitutional patriotism in Ethiopia necessitates a deep awareness of the resistance it will encounter from already sentimentalized patriots, whose identities and socio-economic statuses are deeply intertwined with absolutist desire for self-propagation and the associated fanaticism. We need to be clear that viewing the constitution as a safeguard against a perceived threat is acceptable, but the issue lies in the emotions and motivations that lead individuals to think in this way. These individuals are crucial to target, as they form the vanguard of the current system, defending their socio-political interests under the guise of protecting ‘federalism’ and the ‘public good’. Affectively, constitutional patriotism challenges these groups by invoking fears and frustrations over potential repercussions for past misdeeds, threatening their entrenched privileges. 

Political figures and pundits have demonstrated commendable dedication to the governing administration. The fidelity of leaders is commonly understood as indispensable to the sustenance of all types of governments, whether autocratic or democratic. Such loyalty can potentially engender unscrupulous alignment with the government, thereby predisposing individuals to anticipatory obedience. Constitutional patriotism serves as an appeal to amplify this allegiance and to prioritize the collective welfare of society. 

The parastate bourgeoisie, described by Jawar Mohammed as the new feudal class, exemplifies those with patrimonial relationships with the ruling regime. Constitutional patriotism threatens their economic and spatial privileges, as it calls for a more equitable and just distribution of resources and opportunities. Local ethnic leaders, along with religious and social leaders closely aligned with them, are similarly vested in maintaining the status quo that benefits their power structures. These leaders might perceive constitutional patriotism as a direct threat to their authority and influence. 

Ethnofabulators—activists, journalists, and citizen journalists who have built careers on fabricating stories and inciting ethnic animosities—face a challenge from constitutional patriotism. This approach promotes genuine dialogue and ethical reasoning, undermining the sensationalism and divisiveness that fuel their media presence and business models. Owners and leaders of private companies and public institutions who benefit from systemic ethnic divisions will also resist changes that threaten the foundations of their business operations and institutional structures. 

Ethiofabulators, may also refer to Ethiopianists, if such forces exist, are frequently characterized as unitarists and foundresses. From the perspective of affective theories, these political factions may perceive the current constitution as the fraud work of ethnonationalists, the idea of loyalty to the constitution, without realizing my call for the constitutional amendment, may make them uncomfortable, potentially hindering their ability to fully embrace the constitutional system. However, it is important to recognize that this critique itself serves as a call for constitutional reform. 

Social media companies (and media owners in general) monetize extreme emotional and moral content because it garners attention, generates more engagement, shares, and reactions from users, hence, more money. Their algorithmic business model incentivizes platforms to amplify content that triggers strong extreme emotions, whether positive or negative. As people shift from emotion-based to reason-based politics, constitutional patriotism they begin to prioritize constitutional norms, democratic processes, and the rule of law over emotional appeals. This shift challenges media owners because it reduces the effectiveness (money and influence) of extreme emotional content. When citizens engage in reasoned discourse, they may seek factual information, critical analysis, and nuanced perspectives rather than sensationalized and hyperbolic narratives. 

In essence, while constitutional patriotism promises a more inclusive and rational political framework, it poses significant challenges to those who have profited from and/or aspire to resuscitate the status quo, by perpetuating the current system of ethnonationalism. It requires confronting deeply ingrained fears and privileges, necessitating a strategic and empathetic approach to foster broader acceptance and implementation. Likewise, it is essential to be wary of the possible misinterpretation of constitutional patriotism by Ethiopianist factions. The fundamental essence of constitutional patriotism lies in the advocacy for a clearly defined, forward-thinking, progressive, equitable, and all-encompassing constitution that accommodates diverse viewpoints and political class. 

As Abbo Lencho Letta contemplated, and as a conclusion, 

Hammering out such a compromise underpinning a democratic political order could succeed only through conducting protracted dispassionate debates by all stakeholders without resorting to the emotive posing of political choices. Here is where the obsession of Ethiopia’s political class with posing political choices in absolutist terms needs to be revised. All concerned could perhaps draw a lesson from the protracted and open debate that accompanied structuring the US as a successful federation. (Obbo Lencho Letta, 2015, quotes from ‘Electoral Absolutism in Ethiopia’).

We should appreciate the dispassionate gesture that Jawar Mahammed is displaying towards both Dr. Massey’s meticulous articulation of his dissections and to my previous conter-proposition of constitutional patriotism. Thus, if we imbue our dispassionate projections with a sense of urgency and determination, it will motivate us to come up with more substantial and long-lasting solutions to the problem at hand. 

In my forthcoming article, I will propose practical strategies to pave a viable trajectory towards constitutional patriotism. These strategies will serve as a foundational step in transposing emotional allegiances (sentimental patriotism) into civic consciousness (civic identity), thereby fostering a deep-rooted sense of constitutional patriotism.

Declaration:

Note: I am an independent thinker and writer, educator and peace activist. Trained as an anthropologist and my interest spans as affect reader, a cultural analyst, science and technology researcher. I am willing to collaborate with any governmental or nonpartisan organizations in areas of MODULATING POLITICAL AFFECT.

Progressive constitution for progressive Ethiopia populated by patriotic nationals!

” Empowering the Constitution, Empowering Ethiopia: Building a Progressive Future with Patriotic Citizens!”

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com

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