EPRDF should face the current Ethiopian problems head on and address them on time
By Gebremedhin Gebru
Tigrai Online, Ethiopian News, August 31, 2016
EPRDF needs to get out of repeated meetings and releasing press statements; and address the problems in a timely manner before they reach a point of no-return.
Nowadays, we are witnessing that public angers and grievances are being exploited by the Ethiopian external enemies and their zombie local messengers. By the pretext of corruption and lack of good governance, these enemies are making an organized and concerted effort to foment trouble and rebellion all over the country.
Before some eight months, the properties of Tigrayans living in Shifa town of Metema Wereda were looted and destroyed and their life was endangered. However, the victims’ plights are not addressed yet either by the Amhara Regional Government or by the Federal Government.
As there was no legal and timely measure taken on the perpetrators, targeting Tigrayans has continued in the towns of Gondar, Bahirdar, Debarik and in some other towns of the Amhara Region. Surprisingly, while Aljazeera reported on the situation that Tigrayans are being targeted during these demonstrations and riots; we have never heard of a crystal clear statements and condemnations of such barbaric acts from the relevant government bodies.
I don’t think suppressing such evident phenomenon from being clearly known to the public could help. It would rather lead the general public to shift to alternative media outlets in search of information on what is happening in these and other towns; which in-turn could create a way for further distorted and toxic information and thus to further unrest, chaos and destruction.
Furthermore, from the government side, we don’t see clear and consistent understanding on the root causes of the unrests. Some officials externalize the root causes, and some claim that it is related with corruption and lack of good governance. There is a saying that “clearly understanding a problem is almost half way towards its solution”. Therefore, this vague understanding on the root causes of the problem especially at the leadership level signals how complicated it would be in addressing it.
To my understanding, the root causes are mainly internal including; but not limited to: corruption, lack of good governance, high unemployment rate, lack of strong medias, the economic gap between the haves and the non-haves; lack of strong institutions to foster the democratization process, overlooking peoples complaints and grievances etc.
While some of the oppositions are using the internal factors to overthrow the government and for abolishing the constitution; the general public is joining the demonstrations to express its anger and grievances mainly related to corruption and mal-administration. On the other hand, these internal factors are creating a fertile ground for our external enemies to achieve their long-term goal of disintegrating our country.
Therefore, the marriage between our external enemies and some of the opposition groups is short-sighted which could not go beyond overthrowing the current government, and the strategy they are employing is scaling-up and exploiting the peoples’ angers and grievances to a level beyond the control of the government. Thus, giving priority to the internal problems could have much more positive impact in addressing the overall problem our country is facing.
But, who should lead and mobilize the public to address these problems is one of the key questions to be answered. As the current demonstrations and riots do not have official and accountable organizers and are being launched illegally, we cannot expect them to bring solutions to the multi-faceted problems. Rather they could lead our country to further chaos, destruction and disintegration.
Moreover, at the moment, there is no opposition party which is accepted by the majority Ethiopians and who could challenge and be an alternative to EPRDF. From these perspectives; it seems that there is no better option than giving one more chance to EPRDF to solve the problems, and this entails the need for further tolerate from the peoples of Ethiopia.
In this regard, the EPRDF Government needs to understand that the current crisis is formidable and dangerous and could be addressed if and only if there is good will, openness, objectivity and action.
Some of you may perceive that I am advocating on how to save the EPRDF Government from the current unrest. That is your right to think like that, but as a concerned citizen, it is also my right to forward what I think could be a viable solution to my country at this critical time. Thus, I do believe that though painstaking, the problems could be addressed in three phases as follows:
- The government needs to have a clear and consistent understanding at all levels of its organ on the root causes of the current crisis.
- The government needs to be transparent enough in updating the public on the current crisis and on the measures it is taking.
- The need to devise mechanisms to counter the destructive messages being portrayed in the social Medias and by some TV channels.
- The government has the constitutional responsibility to ensure peace and stability through legal and proportionate force measures on illegal demonstrations and riots. Furthermore, it need to put in place a mechanism to track and identify the perpetrators and take all viable measures to legally persecute them.
Corruption and lack of good governance are the major contributory factors for the public anger and grievances. Thus, side by side to the measures to be taken as stipulated in Phase I, transparent, fast and concrete measures need be taken to tackle corruption and mal-administration. This among others may include:
- Strengthening the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority (Federal to Wereda level) in terms of manpower, technology, institutional capacity and authority.
- Officializing the property of each and every government official which was registered by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority (EACA) before some ten years. This database needs to be open for public review, and EACA should devise a mechanism through which the public could forward reflection on the unregistered property of each and every government official.
- Make professional and legal investigation on the property information received from the public that shows unreasonably high deviation from the EACA’s property database.
- If the unregistered property information received from the public is proved to unreasonably deviate from EACA’s property records; devise a legal system and confiscate the unreasonably extra properties from the respective official; and take the required administrative and legal measures on the official.
- Publicize each and every findings and on the measure taken by the EACA.
- Enhance press freedom, and build the capabilities of both the private and government media with special emphasis on investigative journalism.
- Listening peoples’ complaints and grievances from the outset; and taking immediate corrective and legal measures before they are compounded and become fertile grounds for illegal demonstrations and riots.
- Enhancing the democratization process through the strengthening of the relevant institutions and civic societies.
- Strengthening the check and balance between the executive and the legislative organs of the government; and the avoidance of any form of un-necessary intervention and dominance by the executive body in the legal system.
- Sensitizing and upgrading the awareness level of the public in general and the youngsters in particular on the constitution and on the principles of the federal system.
- Fostering development endeavors in general and the creation of job opportunities for the youngsters in particular.
- Reviewing the “No-War, No-Peace” policy on Eretria; and devising alternative policies and strategies that could match with the current dynamics in Ethiopia, in the horn of Africa and in light with the political and military developments in the Middle-East.
- Besides to the public participation, the need for the establishment of a think-tank task-force from different segments of the public including from scholars, religion leaders, public figures and from peaceful opposition groups; who could serve as an advisory team to the government on critical national issue
In a nutshell, EPRDF needs to get out of repeated meetings and repeated press statements; and it should timely address the problems before they reach a point of no-return.