The rule of law is sacrosanct: government should assume full responsibility
By Abebe Awole
Tigrai Online, March 6, 2018
We are passing through a stormy and turbulent time in Ethiopia. Why this is happening now is a million dollar question. Many friends and partners are equally disturbed and concerned. It goes without saying that government admitted its shortcomings and limitations in democratization, in good governance, in delivering justice and ensuring equality among citizens. Most of it is not deliberate policy action but sheer limitation of capacity to deliver.
While this is the government version and the reality on the ground, those on the opposite side blame identity politics to the current crisis and embarked on hate politics, which in my view is very destructive and not a solution to the problem. Identity is not the making of EPRDF. EPRDF only recognized it and tried to manage it democratically. It is the management of the diversity that is posing a challenge today. As identity politics requires a delicate balancing by fair and equal treatment of all groups and citizens, any actions and measures to the contrary need to be corrected. That process also needs careful and wise move so that we do not lose the balance.
In my view, we should not focus much on the past but gear our energy towards the future. That is how a nation with a vision can shape its future. This however does not mean that those who acted against the law should be left alone. Let there be accountability and responsibility. We should not any more encourage impunity. Handling our past and correcting injustice requires magnanimity and wisdom. It requires mature political move and decision with sober mind and spirit and not with emotions and sentiments. While the reform programs pronounced by the ruling party embrace and entail a comprehensive approach, the public should have some patience and also play its part in ensuring peace, tranquility and security.
It is time we all exercise restraint and become our brothers and our sisters keepers. If we cannot tolerate, accommodate and celebrate each other, our long and proud civilization, history and culture will totally lose their values. Let one and all stand up for peace, unity and solidarity. It will really be naive to expect and hope to get solutions from those who command our youth using Facebook. The only genuine and lasting solutions will only come from within. It is easy to propagate for violence and chaos from USA but it is totally a different thing to facing it. How can one in its right mind sitting in a civilized and democratic country, enjoying the values of democracy preach violence and killing to others? How can some on in a sound mind can call for something that he or she does not want to happen to him or her or to his or her family to happen on others. A person who apparently mobilizes and calls for violence, violation of law and order and the constitution and constitutional order should be held responsible and accountable.
No one has the right under international law to call for criminal act and enjoy the protection of law. This is a serious matter that we should demand the countries that are hosting these extreme elements. No law on earth tolerates such an evil act of terror. On the one hand, those who violate the law of the land including the state of emergency should also be held accountable. Violence cannot be justified in any case. The peace loving and law abiding public at large should stand together and condemn this illegal act of violence.
No nation can move forward by undermining its own constitution and constitutional order. People with grievances should recourse to peaceful, legal and democratic means. No one has authority to encroach on the rights of the peace-loving ones. The act of lawlessness should stop and law enforcement should not be compromised. This is a matter of life or death, it has now become an existential issue? That is why we have elected government to protect law abiding citizens from the powerful and law-breaking ones. Government should assume its full responsibility. The society at large, the elders, the Gada leaders, community leaders, religious fathers, the youth, the women, the intellectuals, business leaders should stand up and defend safety and security and peace and stability of Ethiopians.
How the whole nation just could be taken hostage to few extremists who propagate hate politics? They have no stake at all, their families are out, they have no property and no political constituency. That is why they are hell bent to destroy the progress that Ethiopia is making. Any person or group with interest cannot engage in such a destructive act. We know many of them are criminals who will never set their foot in Ethiopia. Ethiopians need to put our acts together. Let us first work for peace, security and stability. The second priority is to address all legitimate grievances step by step by defining priorities. Let an all inclusive process of national and sectorial dialogue be launched within the framework of the law and the constitution. Anything other than that is just a nonstarter.