Ethiopia: As Egypt and Yemen protest, wither Ethiopia’s opposition? by Eskinder Nega

January 28th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The news headlines are invariably dominated by the protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Egypt in particular is at the core of international suspense. If Mubarak is successfully ousted, the protests will most certainly spread to other countries. (more…)

The news headlines are invariably dominated by the protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Egypt in particular is at the core of international suspense. If Mubarak is successfully ousted, the protests will most certainly spread to other countries. But for many pundits, the surprising restraints of the security services also dominate their thoughts. Is what is happening in Egypt and Yemen a slow motion replay of what undid Ben Ali in Tunisia—that is, are the Generals refusing to fire on unarmed protesters? If so, what implications does this hold for Sudan, the next most probable country to which the protests could spread—and if Sudan explodes, inexorably, the next country in line,Ethiopia?

The Egyptian protests, which now dominate conversations here in Addis Ababa, started out as a gathering of a small number of people on Tuesday. No one really took them seriously at first. Demonstrations have been banned in Egypt since 1981, when Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamists and a state of emergency was declared. Opponents of the regime, ranging from the tiny Socialists to the menacingly massive Muslim Brotherhood, have intermittently tried to defy the ban over the 30 years since, but their efforts “had drawn no more than a few dozen or few hundred people in the past,’ according to news reports.(There are some exceptions.) And until noon on Tuesday, when a small number of people convened outside Cairo’s Supreme Court building, the latest shot to brave the ban appeared to have been slated for the same fate. But two things surprised the authorities:the unusual intensity of the protesters and the speed with which their numbers swelled in to the hundreds. The demonstrators, however, were manifestly disenchanted by the turnout, “where are the Egyptian people?” they hollered, as they headed to Tahrir—liberation—square, Cairo’s equivalent to Addis’ Meskel square. Thousands responded by joining them.

Normally, the Egyptian security and police would be expected to move in quickly, cordon off the protestors, split heads and crack bones, and if the need arises, shoot at will, and ferry off as many people as possible—including passersby—to a detention center; where they could be held indefinitely under the state of emergency law still in effect.

Oddly, this was exactly what did not happen. The government’s response was clearly mixed. The security forces moved to engage the demonstrators when they were small in number, but as their number and intensity increased, surprisingly backed off. Does this signal reluctance on the part of the Egyptian Generals, as had happened in Tunisia, not to fire on unarmed protesters? Have the Tunisian Generals triggered a domino effect that is set to sway Generals in authoritarian regimes? What happens in Egypt over the next few days will determine the fate of many countries.

If the answers to these questions are indeed what thousands of activists for democracy in authoritarian countries obviously wish they are, the implications for Ethiopia, while admittedly remote, could not be dismissed outright. No nation is immune to international trends these days. But the prevailing consensus for now, which I share, is that Ethiopian Generals would most probably not go the way of the Tunisian Generals— regardless of what happens in Egypt, Sudan or Yemen. The unique historical and psychological intricacies that bind the Ethiopian Generals and the EPRDF leadership have no parallel in North Africa and Yemen.

The similarities between the Ethiopian and Egyptian legal opposition, however, is remarkable. An intractable feature of Egypt’s opposition is their partition in to secularists and Islamists; which had always prevented them from working together. In Ethiopia, the cluster runs between ethnic and multi-ethnic opposition groups, who also so far have been unable to forge a durable, potent and convincing alternative to the EPRDF. (Though there is some potential in Medrek.) But as of Wednesday, Egyptian secularists and Islamists, who had for decades loathed each other no less than they had detested the regime, were miraculously demanding change in perfect sync. No more were they obsessing with which side was posed to gain more.

Tuesday’s protests were called by secular opposition groups through social media—Facebook and Twitter. Islamists hardly noticed. By mid-afternoon, when the protesters increased dramatically, Islamists were joining sporadically, and by midnight, in large numbers (and doing their best to be inconspicuous.) On Wednesday, they had for all intents and purposes merged in the streets—propelling not only the sizable labor movement to join them as well, but crucially, the unaffiliated; who overwhelmed them all. And swiftly, what started out as yet another botched protest by the hapless opposition metamorphosed in to a leaderless people’s movement. Nothing symbolized this transformation more than the hundreds of lawyers who joined the protesters by breaking through a line of riot police who had cordoned off the demonstrators at Thrir square.

The Egyptian government has almost helplessly looked on as the protests gained momentum. And here again is a question that begs an answer: could this because of an internal discord within the ruling establishment? Perhaps. There are wikileaks cables that point in that direction. But a definitive answer will have to wait. In the meantime, much to the delight of the protesters, Cairo is rife with rumors that Mubarak is set to go in to exile (which is discounted by most analysts.) And this is in large part fueling passion and reinforcing determination on the streets.

Could the legal Ethiopian opposition leaders try to replicate what the legal opposition triggered in Egypt? “No,” firmly answered an opposition official I queried. “There will be a massacre, and it will also be the end of us,” he said. I could have been Mistaken, but I thought I had sensed alarm in his tone. The specter of the 2007 treason trials all over again could have unnerved him. And emotions and fantasies aside, I must acknowledge the merits of his argument.

The horn has always been harsher, crueler, and colder than either North Africa or Yemen. Thus, with legal opposition parties unable to garner more than one seat in Parliament, let alone be an agent of change, they seem to have withered to irrelevance; their role no more expansive than providing a veneer of democratic process to the autocracy of the EPRDF. Their crisis of legitimacy is set to deepen.

The consensus is that both the Tunisian and Egyptian popular uprisings are leaderless. At their core, however, is astonishing cohesion, sagacity of direction and purpose—at least, as far as dislodging their Presidents are concerned. What has made this possible are the tens of thousands of tech-suave under-30 youth—politically unaffiliated and unideological— who have used social media—Facebook and Twitter—to plan, strategize, mobilize and sustain the protests. They have upstaged established opposition groups—-including the Muslim Brotherhood. “It’s the youth that knows how to use the media, Internet, Facebook, so they are (the most effective) players now (in Tunisia and Egypt),” said Emad Shahin, a prominent scholar in the US, to news outlets. And in both countries, while they loath the ruling parties, they have no faith in the ineffectual oppositions either.

Thus the protests are too important to be left to the leadership of the opposition. The youth have opted to take charge—peacefully but persistently. And it’s working. Every time the government responds with violence—however limited and restrained—more and more people are joining them. Their moral fortitude exemplified through their non-violence— is galvanizing not only their peoples but the world to their cause.

The writer could be reached at:serk27@gmail.com

  1. Drama
    | #1

    TO SAY THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE ARE DIVIDED AMONG ETHNIC LINES IS THE MOST ABSURD VIEW, ESPECIALLY FOR A PERSON THAT LIVES INSIDE ETHIOPIA. COULD THAT BE THE WISH OF ESKINDER NEGA WHO IS PROPAGATING THE OUTLOOK? MAYBE FEW SO CALLED “ELITE POLITICIANS” WITH ETHNIC COMPLEXES ARE DIVIDED AMONGST EACH OTHER, HOWEVER TO SAY THE PEOPLE ARE DIVIDED IS A COMPLETE “FALLACY”. THESE ETHNIC MONGERS ARE MINORITY POLITICIANS THAT CAN BE FINGER COUNTED. LET US NOT USE THAT “WAY BELOW” MINORITY ASSESSMENT TO THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE THAT ARE HUNGRY. MAYBE THAT IS THE WISH OF WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD VIEW ETHIOPIANS UNDER ESKINDER’S EYES (DIVIDED). DOES THIS GUY HAVE AN AGENDA POLITICIZING THIS KIND OF VIEW???????????? THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE, MOST OF THEM POOR BY ANY STANDARDS IN THE WORLD, LIVE HAND IN HAND AND WORSHIP ONE GOD UNDER EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS OUTLOOKS. ACTUALLY, IF THERE IS ONE PEOPLE IN NORTH AND NORTH EAST AFRICA, OR EVEN ON THE FACE OF THIS PLANET, THAT NURTURLY AND BEHAVIORALLY HOLD THESE SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS AND UNIQUE POPULATION TRANSCENDENCY QUALITIES THROUGH CENTURIES, IT IS THE ETHIOPIANS.

  2. Drama
    | #2

    BY THE WAY, THESE APRISINGS ARE ONLY NATURAL AND WILL HAPPEN AGAIN AND AGAIN IN SOCEITIES THAT DO NOT ACCEPT SLAVERY AS A SYSTEMATIC LIFESTYLE. IT IS ALWAYS A MATTER OF TIME.

  3. elias
    | #3

    As much as I would love to see the back of Meles Zenawi and his anti Ethiopian colleagues in power in our country, longing for the sort of change we’re witnessing in Tunisia and other parts of North Africa would be a disaster for the measurable development stride the country has been set on course in the wake of the the Ethio-Eritrean conflict.
    In fairness to the ruling party in Ethiopia, there should be no dispute about what they have achieved in the last ten years.
    Since they took over power , they have made education accessible to children in a way unprecedented before in the country. There are more and more girls enrolling in schools today than has been witnessed at any time in our history before. Health care coverage is increasing year on year.
    More youth can go to colleges and universities up on completion of secondary education. We all remember the time when completing secondary education meant total desperation or the start of a long misreable career in the army and that was if you did not get killed in a war the Derg’s corruptibly executed to its detriment in 1991.
    There is fast evolving change in the face of towns and cities throught the country. More and more people are benefiting from the vast urban development projects taking place not just in the capital AA but nationwide. Look at the transformations in Nazareth, Bahr Dar and Hawassa. More people in these cities and other cities throughout Ethiopia are living in better built accomodations with better sanitation. Still more houses are being built to meet the burdgeoning demand.

    The speed with which these changes are happening is sometimes incredible given our history in the past in undertaking such development projects.
    Deny all that any one could but no reasonable minds could deny the concrete progress made in expanding transport infrastructures across the country. More mileage of roads and bridges have been built by the current regime in Ethiopia than the by the Haileselassie and Mengistu regimes combined. The appetite for bringing in developemnt to the country is overt.
    However, there are some very obvious challenges to the undeniably positive efforts being exerted by the regime. The size of our population has more than trebled in the last 30 years. Even though our country has enjoyed relative stability in the past 20 years, the impact of the deadly conflict with the Shabia in the north has had its impact on the economic, social and political dynamics of the country.
    With Meles Zenawi at the helm of its leadership, the disasterous policy pursued by the EPRDF in facilitating the separation of Eritrea without any binding agreement in allowing Ethiopia’s legitimate right of access to the Red Sea continues to bleed the economy as the country struggles to maintain its economic links to the outside world. Importers and exporters alike continue to suffer the consequences of this treasonous stand taken by the likes of Meles Zenawi in the EPRDF.
    Official corruption remains high. Business affiliated to the ruling party have placed an undue stress on public and other private businesses in the country.
    The achievements made in bringing justice to the people have been hampered by the burden the ruling party has imposed on the judiciary to serve as an instrument of tackling political opposition in the country. The success in setting up more courts , employing more police and a record number of legal professionals not to mention the highly important change of dispensing justice in the language that litigants understand were all thrown in the background as the ruling party and its affiliates continue to use the courts to subdue their opponents.
    Hence , the conclusion that what is needed in Ethiopia today is not a radical revolution that is bound to plunge the country into a potentially protracted chaotic transition which could undo all the achievements of the past two decades but a transformational reform. Reform is what is needed. One that placates the country from the Eritrean elite at the top of the ruling coalition.

  4. tofique
    | #4

    The tplf led regime is already feeling the heat.Why do you think the tigryan junta forced merchants to drop prices all over Ethiopia? But sooner or later the bussiness community will openly defy the tigryans to be followed by the public .Anger that has been accumulating for 20 years will erupt like a volcano,and just like that the day will come to finally get rid of the tigryan dictators for good.Wow,but ther is another question,and that is, who is going to replace the junta to lead the country?

  5. ebsa
    | #5

    yes this is the right time, opposition please come to us especially here in the colleges and strike the light, we youngsters will follow

  6. suzana
    | #6

    Ethiopians used to be very strong to stand out on thier ‘enemy’wether thier gov’t or outsider. well, now a days… (it’s my personal opinion) people are diveded not just by ethinic but by incentives, personal interests, and politics. So, do we expect to be like Egyipt or Tunis? I don’t think so!!! this Gov’t will continue rulling this country as any dictators in the world. Don’t hope high… but don’t gave-up.

  7. suzana
    | #7

    suzana :Ethiopians used to be very strong to stand out on thier ‘enemy’wether thier own gov’t or outsider. well, now a days… (it’s my personal opinion) people are diveded not just only by ethinic but by incentives, personal interests, and politics. So, do we expect to be like Egyipt or Tunis? I don’t think so!!! this Gov’t will continue rulling this country as any dictators in the world. Don’t hope high… but don’t gave-up.

  8. aha!
    | #8

    Thank you for elaborating on the conditions in Egypt, but no thanks for your assessment on the similarities and your assemment of ethnic and secessionist politics and or policies as being the ethnic group and multi-ethnic group, refering to Medrek/fdd/fdre, a mirror image of the multi-layer, hierarchical political model of TPLF/eprdf ruling party, is much different of the parties like KAEUP, EDP, and others and the non-participating in the election of EPRP and others that are engaged in a peaceful and/or armed struggle, which if well cordinated may involve Ginbot 7 and EPPF, etc. for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians defies logics to be be left out of your catagorization of the prevalent political parties prevaining in Ethiopia.

    Here is your actual statement of that catagorization from a journalist: “In Ethiopia, the cluster runs between ethnic and multi-ethnic opposition groups, who also so far have been unable to forge a durable potent and convincing alternative to EPRDF.” Two faalcies: one the catagorization and the other on forging a durable potent alternative without the common goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians and the strategies to achieve those goals, which absent from the platform of the parties with ethnic agenda. The fact they formed a coalition with multi-ethnic parties does not equate to a national agenda maintaining Ethiopian Nationalism and Ethiopian National interests, in the same way the Africans in South Africa were engaging the Afrkaaners with African Nationalism. We are engaging the current regime with Ethiopian Nationalism.

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    well said. Ethiopia is growing fast.

  10. abebe
    | #10

    The past 20 years of prosperity in Ethiopian has come about because of the Chinese and Indian investment NOT BECAUSE OF EPRDF. All of Africa including Eritrea is prospering as the result of Chinese investment and we do not understand why Elias above is giving any credit to the midget Eritrean monkey in Addis Ababa. Under the condition that is created by Chinese and Indian investment, even Mengist Hailemariam could have done a lot better than the Eritrean midget monkey in Addis Ababa. Why? because 1- Mengistu Halemariam is true Ethiopian patriot.
    2- Mengistu has not looted Ethiopian people.
    3- Mengistu Hailemariam did not divide our country into tribes he treated all equally.
    We the Ethiopian people believe that had there been DEMOCRCY, BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF THE LAW then Ethiopia under the Chinese and Indian investment condition would have developed TEN FOLDS than the criminal gangs in our county.
    There for instead of the Reform Eli above is wishing upon all of us we see complete regime change the brining of Meles Zenawi to the court of the people. Unlike his kangaroo court he will get a fair trial. He will receive his sentence.
    In conclusion please save the fear of chaos if Zenawi is removed form power by people , that line has been used by all dictators including Ethiopian dictators.
    Long live Democracy,
    Long live human rights
    Log live the rule of the law.

  11. From home
    | #11

    elias = tplf?

    don’t undermine people’s power. anything is possible. wait if criminals get the time to flee or to be brought on the streets of Addis?

  12. peter smith
    | #12

    Ethiopia is divided on ethnic lines. The whole world knows this

  13. diakon
    | #13

    There’s no nation on the earth oppressed like us. No food, no freedom, no house,no job and no income, while our ‘brothers’ from tigray live in a palace like houses built on the land looted from us, drive fancy cars, polute our sisters with diseases,bilionares like hard workers,selling our land with its people and trush us like a garbage.
    Why are we always ‘achafaris’ of other nations? Are we less humans?

  14. weche gud
    | #14

    Ethiopia is growing very fast and if you deny this, you are not thinking rationally.
    But then, development requires hard work and sacrifices and when it is required of you, you cry loud and wish something or someone will change your government so that you don’t have to work hard and pay the necessary sacrifices. You are caught between these and development shall never come to counties where people like live. We Ethiopians are well known to sacrifice our lives for our country’s territorial integrity. But we blink really big when it comes to prolonged and disciplined hard work geared towards long term development plan. The western countries we dream of working and living there, have developed their economy through hard work rendered by their past generations with mostly slave populations who were forced to build roads and tunnels with hammer and sickle with a subsistence payment. Now you see their economy and demand the same from whoever the current government is in your poor country . . . . this is a big fallacy and you have to be ready to do your part before asking anyone to give you a developed country.

    I don’t really wish that the same thing happen in Ethiopia as in Tunisia because for Ethiopia, now is the critical time to heal of die. If the same thing happens as in Tunisa, all the positive progress that has been achieved and about to be achieved will be lost because the new government, in the hope ‘public support’, will try to let the people ‘off the hook’ and let the country back to the path it has followed for centuries, the path of ‘patriotism’ when it comes to times of war and the path of ‘laziness and sleep’ when it comes to times of peace. It is very interesting to note here that whenever there is laziness and poorness in the country, there will always be wars and hence, the ‘patriotism’ attitude endures throughout the history of the country.

    Wake up guys, see what is in front of you! Ethiopia is changing positively and it is time to be together and see how far can we go by supporting the current positive economic progress in the country.

    Ethiopia shall live for ever.

  15. Compromise
    | #15

    Weyane’s Scare Tactics to Hinder a Revolution from Coming to Ethiopia

    Weyane cadres are very busy to hinder the revolution from taking place in the Ethiopian empire by using the fact that the peoples of the empire are not homogeneous, but different (the colonized and the colonizer), as an instrument of division and polarization. If the scare tactics hinder the revolution, the only option we the colonized people do have is the anti-colonial armed struggle, even though it is a very difficult job, given the little support we do have from the international community. For the revolution possibilly not to take place, unfortunately also the pro-independence freedom fighters (the Oromo, Ogaden, Sidama..etc liberation forces) and the pro-unity freedom fighters (the Amhara, Gurage, Harari..etc patriotic forces) are still mistrusting each other.

    Both want to secure the direction of the move after FREEDOM from Weyane (secure the result after the revolution). The first bloc wants no reversal of the already achieved victory of a limited cultural autonomy on the way towards national independence (self-determination), whereas the second bloc wants to be sure that the empire stays intact and possiblly the process will be reversed back to the unitary country. The cry of Obang Metho, Eskindir Nega, Robale Ababiya..etc is the same to what we are hearing from G-7 leaders like Andargachew Tsige and their supporters. Where does for instance the lamenting of Eskinder belong? To the wish of Weyanes or to the fear of the pro-unity freedom fighters?

    But, why should these people worry too much about the situation after the revolution? Is the caution regarding the unity of the empire, which is lamented by the pro-unity freedom fighters, different from the scare tactics used by the Weyane cadres? The rabid dogs (Weyane cadres) go to Oromo forums and tell us the “worse will come = Amhara will take over and there will never be the reality of Aayyo Oromia, if you push for the revolution”; and then they go to Amhara forums and tell them “take care, the worse will come = OLF can take over and it will be the end of Imiyee Ethiopia, if you make a revolution”. Both Aayyo Oromia and Imiye Ethiopia are actually taken hostage by the Weyane. Whenever Oromo force is stronger, Weyane threaten with the possibility of dismantling Oromia; and whenever Amhara force is stronger, they threaten with dismembering Ethiopia!

    Weyane rabid dogs use the opportunity of such division among the opposition to threaten both camps of the freedom fighters. If the revolution should happen, the two camps of the freedom fighters need to be bold enough to take risk of losing their ideals after the revolution and live with a possible compromise solution: the first bloc should be ready to lose for instance Oromia, Ogadenia.. and the second camp should be ready to risk Ethiopia! Otherwise, in short, Weyane is really lucky, there will never be any revolution; and getting rid of Weyane through election or armed struggle is of course minimal. Shouldn’t we then be ready to be ruled by Weyane for the next one century? In short the scare tactics, which the Weyane cadres nowadays are using in forums and paltalks are:

    - “if revolution happens, Amharas can take over and dismantle Oromia”
    - “if revolution happens, Oromos will be in power and dismember Ethiopia”
    - “if revolution happens, Weyane army is not like Tunisia’s army, but will massacre the civillians”
    - “if revolution happens, there can be a mayhem against the Tigreans, like that of Ruwanda”
    - “if revolution happens, there will be absolute chaos and civil war among different ethnies”

    Are the freedom fighters from both blocs (from pro-independence freedom fighters and from pro-unity freedom fightrers) ready to tacle this scare tactics of Weyane? Can they agree on the middle grouund: FREEDOM and REFERENDUM (on self-determination of citizens and nations)? Those freedom fighters, who just sing about the UNCONDITIONAL Independence of nations must cool down and accept the public verdict, as well as those freedom fighters who now cry for UNCONDITIONAL Unity also should learn to be moderates and accept the public verdict. That means both camps must agree on first to get FREEDOM from Weyane fascists and racists, and then democratically decide for either Independence or Unity per REFERENDUM. That means, only democratic independence or democratric unity (independence or unity based on public verdict) can be a lasting solution. We like it or not, all peoples in that region are interdependent, be it they decide for political Independence or for political Union. The WILL of the peoples in the empire/region is what matters at the end!

  16. abebe
    | #16

    We are never impressed by tigress achiement. The true Ethiopian Mengistu could do better than this if Chinese sstarted investing back then.
    Seth to doctors. Longlive democracy, human rights, and the rule of the law.
    Viva Tunisia.

  17. Negash
    | #17

    የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብማ በምን አንድነቱና በምን ተስፋው ወጥቶ ገዥዎቹን ይታገላል? ላለፉት 100 አመታት እንዳይታገልና እንዳይናገር ጭምር ተዘግቶበት የኖረ ህዝብ ነው:: የእንግሊዞች መርዝ በትክክል በስራ ላይ የዋለው በኢትዮጵያችን ብቻ ሳይሆን ይቀራል? ማለቴ ህዝቡን የሚያደነዝዝና ፍራቻን ከትውልድ-ትውልድ እንዲተላለፍ የሚያደርገው የነጮቹ ስትራቴጂ ማለቴ ነው:: በነምኒልክና በነተፈሪ መኮንን ዶማ ጭንቅላት ተጠቅመው የወደፊቱን ትውልድ እጣ-ፈንታ መቀመቅ አውርደው የቀበሩት ፈረንጆች ዛሬ ፈዘንና ደንዝዘን ሲያዩን ምንኛ ደስ ይላቸው ይሆን? “የተሳካ ተልእኮ”(mission accomplished)ይሉሃል ይህ ነው::

  18. GIRMA
    | #18

    One thing we need to know about the political gridlock in Ethiopia is, the woyane group have used the gap created by the Amhara ignorant elites. As we all know, the Amharas were traitors who were hired by the British and Portuguese in order to kill their own people for selfish political benefits. Now every price being paid by the citizens of Ethiopia is due to that ignorant political miscalculations by Minilik and Teferi Mekonen which was actually masterminded by the poisonous minds of the British.

  19. BBBKJ
    | #19

    @Compromise
    Amharas will never have any moral integrity to challenge the Oromos. That chapter of history has already gone for good.

  20. kentu
    | #20

    To see chang in ethiopia like tunizia or egypt is illision .I have diferent reasons to say so i will detail one by one.1-the people in ethiopia are abused by thier families while they are kids (culture)so they dont have feeling about good or bad.2-when derg comes in power he didnt practice about democracy only turture and abuse so no self stime3-when weyane rejim comesin power he creates his oun immage but not tigray speakers (selfish)other ethnic group thet have one word(ከራስ በላይ ኒፋስ)3-creat fake opposition parties to make the people calm and change with peacefule.4- all security, police military from his own ethnic group5-teach young people about new religen(behay pente,7th extra)to divert thier main focus ,buy all in the above are true so; dont wast your time you have only two chance 1-fight for your freedom by thier wish by fireor be a slave in 20th century.

  21. Anonymous
    | #21

    elias :
    As much as I would love to see the back of Meles Zenawi and his anti Ethiopian colleagues in power in our country, longing for the sort of change we’re witnessing in Tunisia and other parts of North Africa would be a disaster for the measurable development stride the country has been set on course in the wake of the the Ethio-Eritrean conflict.
    In fairness to the ruling party in Ethiopia, there should be no dispute about what they have achieved in the last ten years.
    Since they took over power , they have made education accessible to children in a way unprecedented before in the country. There are more and more girls enrolling in schools today than has been witnessed at any time in our history before. Health care coverage is increasing year on year.
    More youth can go to colleges and universities up on completion of secondary education. We all remember the time when completing secondary education meant total desperation or the start of a long misreable career in the army and that was if you did not get killed in a war the Derg’s corruptibly executed to its detriment in 1991.
    There is fast evolving change in the face of towns and cities throught the country. More and more people are benefiting from the vast urban development projects taking place not just in the capital AA but nationwide. Look at the transformations in Nazareth, Bahr Dar and Hawassa. More people in these cities and other cities throughout Ethiopia are living in better built accomodations with better sanitation. Still more houses are being built to meet the burdgeoning demand.
    The speed with which these changes are happening is sometimes incredible given our history in the past in undertaking such development projects.
    Deny all that any one could but no reasonable minds could deny the concrete progress made in expanding transport infrastructures across the country. More mileage of roads and bridges have been built by the current regime in Ethiopia than the by the Haileselassie and Mengistu regimes combined. The appetite for bringing in developemnt to the country is overt.
    However, there are some very obvious challenges to the undeniably positive efforts being exerted by the regime. The size of our population has more than trebled in the last 30 years. Even though our country has enjoyed relative stability in the past 20 years, the impact of the deadly conflict with the Shabia in the north has had its impact on the economic, social and political dynamics of the country.
    With Meles Zenawi at the helm of its leadership, the disasterous policy pursued by the EPRDF in facilitating the separation of Eritrea without any binding agreement in allowing Ethiopia’s legitimate right of access to the Red Sea continues to bleed the economy as the country struggles to maintain its economic links to the outside world. Importers and exporters alike continue to suffer the consequences of this treasonous stand taken by the likes of Meles Zenawi in the EPRDF.
    Official corruption remains high. Business affiliated to the ruling party have placed an undue stress on public and other private businesses in the country.
    The achievements made in bringing justice to the people have been hampered by the burden the ruling party has imposed on the judiciary to serve as an instrument of tackling political opposition in the country. The success in setting up more courts , employing more police and a record number of legal professionals not to mention the highly important change of dispensing justice in the language that litigants understand were all thrown in the background as the ruling party and its affiliates continue to use the courts to subdue their opponents.
    Hence , the conclusion that what is needed in Ethiopia today is not a radical revolution that is bound to plunge the country into a potentially protracted chaotic transition which could undo all the achievements of the past two decades but a transformational reform. Reform is what is needed. One that placates the country from the Eritrean elite at the top of the ruling coalition.

  22. TEM
    | #22

    I can’t believe someone (DRAMA) actually belives that Ethiopia is not divided among Ethnic lines. What planet do you live on? You should pick up a few articles, books or read the news onces in a while. The country

  23. TEM
    | #23

    is in need of a great leader, someone that loves his/her her country first and Meles, although he has made some changes in the last 20 yrs, it is not enough and the pace of change is simply not at the an acceptable pace for a so called “democratic” government. The GDP numbers have been tampered with and I would like to see a clear economic plan from Meles’ team, and not just a few edits from the economic planners of the last regime which was clearly drafted for a country with a population of 45 million, not 82 million.

    Meles doesn’t care about Ethiopia, he demonstrated that first and foremost by agreeing to make it a landlocked country. Secondly, he cares first about the people of Tigray (clearly demonstrated by the inability of other ethinic groups to advance in government or business if they don’t join his party).

    I hope the Tsunami of change that is sweeping North Africa and Middle East is keeping him and his party up at night.

  24. Biiftuu
    | #24

    It is time for Meles to GO! Let us start rolling the Ball!

  25. time-2-change
    | #25

    Meles you had your time, now give to the people of Ethiopia. thank you

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