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The vindication of the Weyanes in Ethiopia

N.D. Tedla
Tigrai Online, March 17, 2018

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It was the ambition and vision for democracy, human dignity and economic success that a few successful Addis Ababa university students in the mid 70’s that forced them to leave their comfortable lives in the middle of their studies to start a gruella fighting against the then military regime to fundamentally root out the disgraced acts of discrimination and unfair treatments of the nations and nationalities of Ethiopia by few elite, in the 20th century. The weyanes were very devoted and hardworking young people drifted by grand objectives of liberating their people from the horrible oppressions of chain and systemic, brutal, and barbaric rules of the multiple Ethiopian governments of the last century. They were devotedly supported by the people of Tigray who incurred a great deal of loss of life to achieve the objectives of its true sons and daughters.

They fought a hard fight, gave their lives, and became successful to remove the unjust rule of mistreatments of the Ethiopian people not only from the then military regime but also from the deliberately planned shrewd dominance of all nationalities by a few beneficiaries. The Weyane’s vision has come true today. That is because the Ethiopian constitution guarantees the autonomy of the people (nations and nationalities) to elect their own political leaders who belong to their region, use their language for business and school, and finally use their chance to leave the federation if the people (of other nations) and the federal government are not treating them fairly.

Economic progress

It has been more than twenty years that Ethiopia has shown economic progress and registered promising improvements based on UN standards in alleviating its citizens off the deep poverty which has been accepted as normal phenomenon during the previous governments (pre-1991).

After the success of the Weyanes, Ethiopia has proven to be the leading country in Africa to attract foreign investors. Its infrastructure building is extraordinary. The hydroelectric dams including the GERD, the construction of clean energy sources such as wind and geothermal, the construction of the modern train networks linking the neighboring countries all energized by clean energy, the building of new universities and hospitals, elementary and high schools, roads, and bridges are to mention but a few. For anybody who has common sense, it is hard to comprehend the amount of development and consider that it has been accomplished in the last two decades. The country has truly shown significant progress.

The economic and diplomatic policies that the government used has worked effectively and has made Ethiopia one of the most stable and reliable country in its region. It has a positive influence not only to solve its own affairs but also its neighboring countries.  

Democratic space

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Regarding democratic rights, even though it is at its preliminary stages, we have seen people expressing their disagreements with the government on TV, Radio, and newspapers freely. The opposition parties in the country are peacefully able to negotiate with the government for better democratic rights of the people. Nowadays, some politicians who are members of the ruling party are expressing their opinions freely up to the level of criticizing their own party. 

The government of Ethiopia has acknowledged some of the improvements that has to undertake to improve the democratic space of the opposition parties and its citizens. Opening job opportunities for the young men and women, and cooperation among the nations and nationalities are the pledges that the government promised recently. 

Government Obligations

Of course, the government must perform its promises as fast as possible to regain confidence from the people. For the people to get back to their stable lives, the leading party must make sure law and order to be preserved in the country. It must assure citizens the right to live, move and work freely in the country regardless of their ethnicity. National and private properties should be respected from angry, unlawful protesters.

The most important thing is that EPRDF should punish criminals and corrupt leaders instead of harboring them. Those selfish politicians who are misusing power for their private advantages will be forced to be on the side against the system. They could also be the cause to instigate ethnic conflicts as they could use this conflict to cover their corruption. So, the ruling party must make a choice between either to embrace those corrupt people and fail and bring Ethiopia down, or to punish them and save the country.

On the other hand, the government must vigorously fight diplomatically against the groups who mainly reside in foreign countries whose obsessive desires focus on grabbing power by violent means and spreading lies on social media to drive the young people of Ethiopia destroy their own country. They advocated ethnically based hate lies to encourage one group of people to violently hurt another group. As a result, we see civilians dying and properties destroyed by looters. Mass killings of one group against another has been witnessed in Ethiopia for the first time. These kinds of violent demonstrations and killings are instigated by some reckless individuals, groups, and medias (including social media) by spreading repeated lies to the level that some inexperienced young people may consider them as truth. The stability of Ethiopia is being shaken by the beneficiaries of the old and discriminatory systems who fundamentally advocate against the current constitution.

Conclusion

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The essential point is that Ethiopia has transformed completely. We recently have seen a voluntary resignation of the prime minster. Even before that, so many high level political figures such as a deputy prime minister, foreign minister, information minister and so on, were replaced by others peacefully with no conflicts within the ruling party.  The process will allow to find a replacement for the prime minister soon. This by itself is a great transformation. Those who are targeting a certain ethnic group, so it may look like as if there is a systemic problem won’t be successful as the power of Ethiopians is shifted to the regional governments. If there is mal-administration within the region, the regional government is responsible for it. That is why you don’t see those demonstrations all over the country except for a few regions. Ethiopians value the peaceful life they are enjoying even though they have complaints against the current government.

Ethiopians are tired of war. What we see in Yemen and Syria now has happened partly in Ethiopia during the Derg military regime. The young people now haven’t seen what the Ethiopian youth has gone through then. Many civilians were killed and left on the streets for days with labels on their bodies. Villages and towns were destroyed by government jet aircraft bombs and tanks. Many people left Ethiopia to escape the devastating consequences of war. Even before the Derg regime, for many years in the history of Ethiopia, there were civil wars among peoples of Ethiopia orchestrated by few individuals for the sake of their benefits. That is why Ethiopia was poor and couldn’t get out of the horrible cycle of poverty which made her at the bottom of the economic list of the world. But Ethiopians are not born poor.

They have proven that they are not poor in the last two decades when they enjoyed relative peace. Ethiopians need peace to tackle their most enemy, poverty, which has ripped them off their human dignity in the last century. Ethiopians must learn from history.

Anyone or group who is instigating violence towards a certain ethnic group, and all out civil war among peoples of Ethiopia will historically be responsible for it. So, what they preach and advocate either on social media or on their TV programs should be clean from acts of violence targeting civilians and groups of certain religion or ethnicity.

The good office of the AU should formally be informed before it is too late that certain groups are instigating ethnically motivated hate propaganda against some ethnic groups in Ethiopia. We as Africans don’t want to see what happened in Rwanda again. We should learn from it and be able to negotiate and resolve our disagreements peacefully. This goes not only for the bad guys who are cheering when civilians of a certain group are being attacked but also for the government. We should peacefully resolve our differences. The Weyanes and many other Ethiopian heroes paid their lives for the peace that everyone is enjoying now.

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