Ethiopian citizenship without ethnicity is empty and Ethnicity without Ethiopian citizenship is blind
By Teodros Kiros (PH.D)
Tigrai Online, May 25, 2019
Citizenship like food, shelter and clothing is a fundamental right. Like all rights it must be treasured like a public Good. Indeed, citizenship is the Good of the citizen. Citizenship is to the political animal, the human, as is food to the body. The body is the material structure upon which the citizen resides. The body is the temple of political culture. However, both food and citizenship must be earned by hard work. They are there to be gotten by legal means. Once both are peacefully secured, they must be protected and nurtured. Democracies must protect this right and not stifle its growth, silence, or simply ignore, as is being done by the regime in power.
Ethiopia does not at the moment have either a leader or institutions which protect this right. Ethiopianity is simply an abstraction for the regime in power.
The Ethiopian citizen expresses this right by freely performing her ethnic rights, duties and obligations.
We Ethiopians must fight for the birth of this right to take root in our political lives. We must say no to beautification and yes to the ending of poverty and the restoration of dignity, the dignity of the Ethiopian citizen.
The violation of our ethnic rights is the suppression of our Ethiopianity, the lynchpin of the idea of citizenship.
The recent fund raising Gala aimed at beautifying Ethiopia is an incompetent decision, which is neither timely or necessary. A competent regime, which we do not have, would have focused first on developing principles of justice which can be operationalized to feed, shelter and cloth the hungry ethnics of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian citizen does not need bike paths and parks at this moment, but decent housing and an end to the shanty towns where the Ethiopian poor are festering and gazing at stars.
This perpetual poverty can be eliminated by an effective and competent public policy guided by foundational principles of justice. Towards this end, I propose the following solutions.
- The millions of dollars which the regime has must immediately be used to feed, shelter, cloth the millions of the poor whose budget is being cut, so that they can submit to the pseudo Ethiopianity which violates the natural and moral rights of the Ethiopian citizen.
- Future fund raising galas should be organized around the theme of addressing poverty and discord among the mosaic of ethnicities.
- Two principles of justice must be constitutionally mandated to address (1) and (2) above.
- That funds must be immediately allotted to address the poverty of the masses and affordable housing must be built for them. That the beautification of Ethiopia must be replaced by ending poverty through a constitutional mandate.
- The discord among ethnic elites which is filtering to the masses must be constitutionally abolished so that the multiple ethnicities could live harmoniously as I have argued in my recent articles. Experts and shimagles must be sought to attend to this grave issue, which might annihilate us, unless we build dikes now.
Only after we solve (A) and (B) can we move to the project of Beautifying Ethiopia. Of course, this is a noble idea, and the regime must be praised for it, but it is neither practical or relevant at this tumultuous time. This project must wait and we must proceed lexically from (A) to (B) and then at the opportune time to (C).