This way Ethiopia : Constitutional Monarchy or Liberal Democracy? Or Developmental State? By Tecola W. Hagos

June 22nd, 2011 Print Print Email Email

I. Introduction

I am reposting this article with some modification from two years ago because of the fact that our concern and needs have not changed; our political and economic situation has worsened a thousand fold and yet not much by way of structured and effective opposition has materialized. I have made few adjustments to the original in order to update and upgrade my presentation. I have also removed some statements that would correspond to what is identified in American Football jargon as “unnecessary roughness.” There is no need for me to use abusive language in any circumstance. Words that describe a situation or the characteristics of a leader accurately, even if they may sound vulgar, are not abusive or inappropriate to use in the right context. One must be prepared to call “a spade, a spade” to use an old cliché.

What is the point in discussing “Constitutional Monarchy” at a time when we are struggling to establish a democratic form of government fighting against Meles Zenawi and his one-man rule? The problem that is often overlooked is the idea that elections on its own is a democratic process and meaningful. Election in our type of society is a polarizing process for it often is fog-screen of fundamentally flawed society due to horrible economic and cultural distortions, anomalies that need first serious considerations and fixing. At any rate, what ever we do politically we are at the risk of having our nation disintegrate especially if we do nothing about Meles Zenawi and his destructive anti-Ethiopia Government and methodology of government and national structure. He has effectively divided us in a prelude to complete fragmentation with the possibility that he is aiming to get away with a chunk of territory [Tigray] and billions of dollars worth of looted Ethiopian wealth. It is this single most concern of disintegration and losing our Ethiopia that made me consider the unthinkable of reinstituting a constitutional monarchy for Ethiopia and to rally all of our resources around such already existing institution.

Although Meles Zenawi was a member of a party that came into town as a liberation movement, which proved to be anything but a liberation movement, his government has proven to be the most destructive to Ethiopia’s Sovereignty and territorial integrity. Professor Teodros Kiros, a philosopher of considerable depth, in his recent article [“Which way Ethiopia: Constitutional Monarchy or Participatory Democracy?” January 29, 2009.] has engaged us, almost provoking us, to focus and even debate such elemental issues comparing and contrasting “constitutional monarchy” with “liberal democracy.” I believe, Teodros’s concern and effort to focus our attention on the types of governments appropriate for Ethiopia is farsighted and timely. We ought to discuss such issues at some depth and scope before we make up our mind on the form of government suitable for Ethiopia. Is there any merit reestablishing the old Monarchy of Ethiopia with limitations set out by a liberal constitution? Why must we choose one form of government in preference to another? Do we have choices? If so, are we making rational choices?

While reading Professor Messay Kebede’s book [Radicalism and Cultural Dislocation in Ethiopia, 1960 – 1974, Rochester, NY: Rochester University Press, 2008.], I noticed that Messay seems to have simply assumed the inevitability of the demise of the old system of Monarchy (as a government structure) in the 1960s and 70s targeted by Ethiopian students and their movements. Messay’s critical analysis of the Ethiopian students’ movement dealt with the “reasons” for the movement, but did not challenge whether the movement was justified to begin with. However, I did not write down my observations in my review of that book. It is later when discussing the article Messay wrote as a critique of an article written by Seeye Abraha that I brought out the question of the necessity of political change not necessarily resulting in the establishment of liberal democracy, and raised the issue of the reestablishment of a constitutional monarchy for Ethiopia as an alternative.

Messay wrote clearly that the old system of Ethiopia’s monarchical government is kaput—finished and done with. He stated, “The latter is gone for good and we have no reason to wish its resurrection. To try to revive it is to ignore the present reality and force on people an idea of national existence that they are not willing to accept, thereby driving the country into even greater conflicts.” [See Messay Kebede, “To Seye Abraha: the Center is One Step Further,” January 10, 2009.] [http://www.tecolahagos.com/] Here is where I start my challenge to such assumption that preemptively seems to bury the system of monarchical government for Ethiopia. There are a series of assertions both in the recent statements of Messay and the long standing views of many of Ethiopia’s scholars and intellectuals that assume without proper justification that the old Monarchical system of government must not be reinstated. It is precisely such assertions that I challenge. And now I add to that challenge my argument for any form of collaboration as part of the “developmental state” paradigm, because of the simple fact such process would lack a stabilizing political rudder. Meles Zenawi and his Government are at the very top of a wave that is a point of the most instability.

Of course, I hesitate to discuss the issue of “constitutional monarchy” as opposed to “liberal democracy” for fear of diverting our attention from the serious issue at hand facing all Ethiopians on how to change the violent and often brutal Government of Meles Zenawi. Avoiding a fundamental question will not help us solve any problem, and least of all important ones such as the form and type of government for Ethiopia taking into account its unique history and social development. Thus, I ask what Ethiopians should have asked since the 1970s: What are the main reasons against the Ethiopian Monarchy? My only recorded references, in order to answer that question, are the writings of Ethiopian students especially those who were involved in the student movement in the United States and Europe. Of course there were writers like Abe Gubegna, with his mostly plagiarized fiction [from Dostoevsky] titled Alwoledim that had oblique criticism of the Government of Haile Selassie, but not of monarchical government as a generic institution. Often, Ethiopian students and others make the same error of assuming a criticism of the regime of Haile Selassie is a criticism of monarchical government system(s) too. It is not.

II. Challenging the Ethiopian Students Revolutionary Movement (1963 – to date)

A. Anachronistic Left

Almost all of the literature generated by the students’ movement against the Government of Emperor Haile Selassie did not seem to include scholarly critical discussions of that regime, but was mainly rhetorical and one-sided diatribe against Emperor Haile Selassie and his aristocratic government. The best of such writings may not be more than polemical. Even the gifted economist Eshetu Chole’s writing was polemical. The favorite subjects often discussed in student publications, other than the subject of the corruption of Haile Selassie and the aristocracy, were the huge number of farmers of Ethiopia. The description of the miserable life condition of the Ethiopian peasantry as presented in articles written by student writers was not a social or economic study meant to illuminate the sources of poverty, deprivation, ignorance, lack of hygiene, et cetera of the Ethiopian peasants. It was riddled with assumptions with silly generalizations putting all the blame of underdevelopment on the Ethiopian Monarchy and nobility. It was mainly written to agitate rather than inform or enlighten the public. It was mainly aimed at other students and maybe meant to enlist the sympathy and active support of the Ethiopian Army and Civil Servants and the miniscule labor force around the country.

The literature of the Ethiopian students’ movement was a disembodied cursory rhetorical work that used the peasantry as a caricature to show the suffering of a people under Haile Selassie’s autocratic rule. It was never truly about real people and what ailed them. The reference word to identify the poor of Ethiopia that was used often by student writers was the phrase “the masses,” which seems to speak about some amorphous and indistinguishable blob. The term “the masses” did not make much of a psychological connection between students and the common people of Ethiopia for it meant nothing, except to degrade individual human beings into an object, for its members are not recognizable individuals. In fact the worst form of writing was the pretentious diatribe of Walelign Mekonnen immature ranting in pseudo Marxist attempt to cast Ethiopia as a state in turmoil due to antagonistic conflict between “tribes,” or between “nations,” or between “nationalities.” All such terms borrowed from the leftist literature of the time, without proper critical analysis, and at any rate irrelevant for the Ethiopia of great history of long standing process of Statehood.

It seems to me that we all simply followed the agenda set by the student movement without examining or challenging it. Thus, we all end up with our rough-shod treatment of a subject matter, which should have been examined carefully and debated thoroughly with serious scholarship, which resulted in a series of mediocre leaders and chaotic systems of governments of the last thirty years where millions of Ethiopians lost their lives either through direct actions of government forces and government sponsored clashes or due to famine because of mismanaged economy. The impact of the last thirty years mess (of a political process) on the lives of Ethiopians in every walk of life, ethnic group, class etcetera is beyond quantifications. It resulted in unimaginable sever loss of life, destruction of property, and missed opportunities for improved government and social and economic lives for millions of Ethiopians. Now, we find ourselves, after such very costly social convulsions, which lasted for over fifty years from the 1960s, on the verge of disintegration across ethnic lines?

B. Democracy and its shadow

The idea of establishing American or European type democracy is as difficult or is as far removed as establishing Marxism-Leninism in our Ethiopian setting. To state the obvious, either system requires certain degrees of economic, educational, and technological advanced base. Either system requires a well established literate culture. A high degree of social cohesion pulling toward the same goals would also make such social programs viable and possible. The infrastructure of both human networking in associations and public activities and the physical material infrastructure of roads, railway systems, air transport systems, in inland navigation water ways et cetera are all vital for such advanced political development.

When we consider the social and economic situation in Ethiopia, we find absolutely dismal social conditions, and a starvation-economy, a kleptocracy of the worst kind. There is no way a viable liberal democracy or Marxist-Leninist systems of governments would work under such social and economic conditions in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is far too barren to grow seedlings of any foreign democratic or Marxist-Leninist government system. I think the best solution is to work with the system that had been with us for centuries and creatively improve and adopt that system to meet modern demands—namely the institution of monarchy adjusted to fit our modern needs, i.e., a form of constitutional monarchy.

There is much to be done at the ground level in acknowledgement of the sheer existential demands of the public that political ambitions of individuals need be shelved for some time. Most people are in great need of improving, to an acceptable degree, honing their social interactions. In particular there is great need to learn simple hygiene, elementary level of reading and writing skills, simple craftsmanship in carpentry, pottery, and in building comfortable and sturdy homes et cetera. Sanitation has been the least concern in any emerging village or town in Ethiopia. Ethiopian urban centers are all shoe-string constructions, the cheapest you could find in the world—that ought not to be the case.

Mitiku Adisu, my favorite writer whom I greatly appreciate for his many articles that display great maturity, succinctly identified our national problem thus: “Indiscriminately adopting a Western Constitution and its democratic institutional sensibilities where the requisite economic and informational infrastructures are barely in place may do more harm than good in the short term.” [Mitiku Adisu, “A Case of Misdirected Zeal,” February 6, 2009.] The tenor of Mitiku’s article is about religious fanaticism, and yet he has made some remarkable observations about social and political life in general in Ethiopia. In my crude way, that was precisely what I tried to say in many of my articles, for the last ten years.

III. Constitutional Monarchy for Ethiopia?

A. Legitimacy and authority

My challenge to our current infatuation with democratic ideals (of the liberal democratic persuasion) or to the earlier Marxism-Leninism of Mengistu’s era to the exclusion of everything else is not per se an objection to the tenets and principles of those democratic ideals themselves, but is directed at the fact of the complete absence of a healthy debate on the types of choices we are making preemptively discarding our traditional system of monarchical government system. I am not convinced that the government system that is currently in place or its predecessors reflect the aspirations and wishes of the people of Ethiopia. I need to hear from those who champion liberal democracy over monarchy the detail of their reasons supported with particular instances from our past history with particular attention to the political and social history of the last thirty years. At any rate, one of the edifices of democratic ideals, the so called “wishes of the people,” is meaningless in a poorly informed society that is in abject poverty.

We also tend to forget or misunderstand the fact that democracy is a compromise reached by the elits of any given society now identified as a democratic state, and examples abound in that, such as the United States, India, Canada, et cetera. Mere labeling of events or situations with high sounding words will only polarize the truth and does not illuminate problems or enlighten us. Mengistu Hailemariam claimed to be a democrat, so did Meles Zenawi. The many constitutions of the world’s most oppressive governments speak of human rights and democracy in glowing terms. However, life in the trenches for most of mankind is dreadful, short, and nasty. The statistical figures, if they are believable, paint a grim picture about the human condition all over the World. The infant mortality rates, the death toll from famine, the illiteracy rates, the rate of demographic displacement of both internal and external refugees et cetera are all staggering in scope and the sheer number of individuals affected by such turmoil.

The current Ethiopian politicians who are in power and those in the opposition do not seem to realize the fact that they lack the most important attribute of power, which is legitimacy. Without legitimacy no political leader or political organization would have authority to carry out the business of governing or of administering a people. No amount of display of raw power will bring about legitimacy. Legitimacy deals with the psychology of being accepted by a people as a leader: Such acceptance results in the people entrusting their sovereign power in a leader thereby creating a legitimate structure directly beholden to them, the people of Ethiopia. I have not seen any such political investiture by the people of Ethiopia, and yet the closest institution that seems to have some such acknowledgement of legitimacy is the Ethiopian Monarchy.

Mengistu had power, Meles has power, and yet both lack legitimacy. Therefore, no matter how often dictatorial leaders go through election rituals, registering even 90% of voters’ support, they still remain illegitimate. No matter how hard they tried, those two leaders, for example, are not accepted as leaders by the people of Ethiopia. When we listen to our learned politicians speaking about the matrix of their program and their ambition and what they aspire to do, it is no different than the ideas of any of Ethiopia’s rulers for the last one hundred years. The way opposition leaders handled dissenters within their respective group is no different than the ways of dictators. They all practiced a system that was reminiscent of the technique used in leftist governments in Asia or Europe or Africa or the Americas.

One method used all over the world to confer legitimacy on a leader is to go through the process of elections. This practice is very old, indeed. Usually, the ancient Greeks are given credit for practicing direct democracy. However, the fact of the matter is that all human groups at their earliest stages of organized life had practiced such direct democracy where individual members in a group debate an issue and jointly decide what to do with a form of consensus that is the genesis of democratic elections. I contend that some form of monarchy, be it constitutional or ritualistic, would have far more legitimacy in our current situation than any system of elected government in Ethiopia in the foreseeable future.

B. Election Rituals

Elections are the simplest and most direct method of establishing and conferring legitimacy on a particular leader. But elections are riddled with treacherous hurdles that drastically undermine the very purpose of holding elections in the first place, in all developing countries. In fact, elections create unrealizable expectations and shift the attention of the population from the fact of the struggle for existence to focus on political demonstrations and short-cut schemes. In Ethiopia, I think the tendency of people is to preserve asset and their energy, which translates on the political stage as dormant population incapable of fighting back or bushing back when squeezed by brutal governmental forces. Such degree of social narcissism undermines any sustained stand against government abuse. The opposition to government oppression and abuse is episodic and erratic in Ethiopia.

It is important that ordinary Ethiopians participate in the political life of Ethiopia. There can be no meaningful discourse without the input of such Ethiopians. That may be true as a guide and principle. However, in reality the task of meaningful participation is enormously difficult. We watched millions of Ethiopians going to the polls to vote in both local and national elections in Ethiopia during three distinctively contradictory governments of the last fifty years. The real question Ethiopians ought to ask would be what form of significance should be read into such activities. In general, I am not convinced about the value of going through such ritual of elections as a democratic right. However, I find one profound argument in support of such processes, ritual or not. In our local setting, the relevance of election is not so much that it produces immediate tangible results, but that it confirms the idea that citizenship has a serious role in government. In all early stages of democracy, elections are mere rituals. A great example that supports my statement is the Indian experience with democracy, which confirms now the real value of voters.

The error here is the identification of election with liberal democracy, for elections can have meaningful utility in other forms of governments, for example, in constitutional monarchy. What I just stated is not far fetched, considering the many elections conducted in the USSR, and currently in China, Cuba and several of the dictatorial governments around the world. And such periodic election is not organic but decoy, and as long as we understand the distinction between these two contentions, the better prepared we are to understand elections and use elections effectively.

C. State Succession and National Continuity

No less of concern to Ethiopians is the status of the nation during transitions from one government to the next. Ethiopia is at its most vulnerable state during transition period from one leader to another leader. It is very rarely that there had been a peaceful transition or transfer of power in all of Ethiopia’s long history. Liberal democracy might prove too dangerous in holding the nation together under the current political atmosphere with a Constitution (Article 39) prodding people to secede as independent states. It is doubly dangerous when transfer of power occurs in the next election of 2010.

Meles Zenawi is doing his very best to continue his treacherous and divisive government putting obstacles and more and more divisive structures to insure that there will not be a solid opposition to his leadership. The illegal imprisonment of Meles is building himself an edifice with the old Ethiopian adage: “Kemayawqut Melak, Yemiawqut Seitan Yishalal.”

It may be necessary to establish a transition period government for a limited period of time in order to smooth out political wrinkles and level the political field for all participants in order to have a fair and freely held political competition. I believe that political development at the grassroots level will eventually lead us all and challenge us all to come up with the right modality to preserve the territorial integrity and Sovereignty of Ethiopia, and at the same time put a demand on us to implement a smooth transfer of power from the existing totalitarian regime of Meles Zenawi to a government that will be democratically elected and fully answerable to the people of Ethiopia.

I am aware of the fact that all of our past “transitional governments” have changed into antidemocratic “permanent governments” thereby plunging us again and again into dictatorial and brutal governments in our recent national history. I have witnessed similar phenomenon elsewhere in the World as well. Thus, our approach must be carefully designed not to repeat the errors of our past. The individuals who are to be leading the Transition Government must be individuals who will not be running for office or be involved in any political leadership position in the election process for the permanent Government after the transition period. The transition government leaders must not be actively engaged in any political party running for political office. They must be patriotic in their words and in their deeds with great pride in their Ethiopiawinet. They must be individuals with great integrity. They must be well versed in the history of Ethiopia and its diverse culture and people.

Conclusion

Taking into consideration our Ethiopian peculiar predicament being home to diverse ethnic population and as many diverse cultures, it is to be expected that we will have serious conflicts on both individual and societal level. It is only reasonable to seek alternative government structures other than “liberal democracy” to meet the challenges from such diversity being the reality of our existence. The most important question for all of us is the question of national survival. Is it possible for us to find a system of government that will protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity and at the same time promote and safeguard to the maximum individual personal and civic rights? I hope no one accuses me of trying to turn the wheel of history backward, for my effort is simply focused on finding solutions to our serious problems.

Here is where I disagree with Messay, on his decisive dismissal of the possibility of reinstating the old Monarchy as a form of Ethiopia’s government. Messay categorically rejected the reestablishment of the Monarchy without giving us the rational for his conclusion except mentioning that there will be hostilities from every corner of the Ethiopian society against any such attempt. He summed his thoughts by saying, “This does not mean that I reject ethnicity and sponsor the return to the structure and culture of imperial Ethiopia. The latter is gone for good and we have no reason to wish its resurrection. To try to revive it is to ignore the present reality and force on people an idea of national existence that they are not willing to accept, thereby driving the country into even greater conflicts. It is also to overlook that, like any other human concerns relating to identity, ethnicity craves to be recognized so that the lack of recognition turns into a fanatical attachment.” I think there should be more than mere fear of twitting nerves of a people to discard a tradition that held sway for couple of thousand years in the life of the nation of Ethiopia and its diverse people. [Tecola W. Hagos, “To Messay Kebede: the Center is One Step Closer” January 13, 2009. http://www.tecolahagos.com/]

In contradistinction to Messay’s views on the future of Ethiopian Monarchy, I believe that there are very many good arguments and reasons worth taking seriously in support of reinstating the Monarchy albeit with limited power under a constitutional arrangement. One main reason in support of such bold move is the undeniable appeal of the Monarchy to several groups around the country, groups with ideation of separatist political goals. Thus, I believe it is far better suited to maintain the territorial integrity of Ethiopia than any other form of governmental structure. For that reason alone, I would support opening such idea for debate. I do not think the idea in support of the reestablishment of a Constitutional Monarchy for Ethiopia is an outrageous or wayward idea. It is a legitimate idea worth discussing. Of course, there is a risk involved here of diluting our concentration in fighting Meles Zenawi’s divisive and often treasonous leadership. At any rate I want my suggestion to be considered as another option to be considered along the may political programs already in the field including the recent suggestion by Messay about reexamining our state of being.

Tecola W. Hagos
Washington DC
[First posted, February 19, 2009]

NB: My apology for having released a piece in haste “Messay Kebede and his “Manifesto” that was not edited for clerical errors of spelling and grammar. Thank You. TH

  1. T. Beza
    | #1

    Although it is true that Ethiopians have to address the issue of what comes after Meles and his FDRE expire, I can’t see the value in engaging in a debate of this issue today when we are far from certain when or whether that expiration will come about. It is very much like that old Ethiopian folk tale of the argument between a man and his wife that ended up in her murder over a disagreement of where the calf will be housed when someday they get a cow.

    Mr. Meles’ hold on power has never been more secure than it is today. I see little in the horizon that will change his status in the next ten years. So please, save your considerable energy for the discussion of how Ethiopians can shake loose Meles’ grip on the Ethiopian state.

  2. VeryLonG
    | #2

    Why would put such a very long article on news site, i think it is your class assignment and you want someone to mark for you.

  3. Kirubel Negash
    | #3

    I attempted to understand the direction that the article leads, but I can’t
    find any window that is opening to ” reviving ” the monarchy given the changed realities of our country.Territorial integrity and Sovereignty could be a factor but as usual UNITY is not given importance, why ?
    Civic and individual rights are also mentioned, maybe let someone refresh
    our memory,i.e, in the 1990′s Meles was there and he is still in charge and
    when he was advised to trash Ethiopianism who was guiding him ? I know people and ideas change. If equality of nations and nationalities is the key, then which one or who will be the constitutional monarch with limited roles? Remember, King TONA,ABA JIFFAR,and others from the south, what about the Shoan Dynasty,the Tigray kings, the Gondar and Gojam kings,what about the wollo kings and so on so forth Dr. Tecola ? Or is the articles direction with a honey coating echoing the same TPLF democratic picture of dividing Ethiopia on ethnic, linguistic and regional lines ? I wonder, but any way what do I know.

  4. WEzezew
    | #4

    Prof.Tecola,

    I have read so many of your well-thought-out articles. But I find this monomania with “the return to the Monarchy” somewhat uncomfortable. I think real men lead by example, with all their hearts and minds responsive to the needs and calls of their fellow citizens. Correct me if I am wrong but what is the value of bringing back an exploitive system from its graves? is it the crown? is it the elaborate cloak? is it the horse? or the man on its back? is it the slave-master relationship? what is so important about the monarchy that makes us wistful four decades after its demise?

    even if we agreed to rstore the monarchy, whose line will we follow? amahara? oromo? tigra? agew? somali? benishangul? what is so miraculous or magical about the monarch to rescue us from all this litany of economic and social problems?

    at this time what ethiopia needs is an all-round cultural revolution. there has never been peaceful transition of power in the past does not mean that it will never happen in the future. it all depends on our collective efforts and the willingness of the elites to cooperate. I have pointed out a few lines below your article here on abugida.com how the elite can be the light or the darkness in their societies depending on their flexible or rigid attitudes. Ghana is democractic but Nigeria in the neighbourhood is not.

    generally i find this obsession with constitutonal democracy less convincing. it is neither the constitution nor the monarchy which is useful but the dutifulness of the elite to live up to their historical responsibilities in promoting the common good for their people. i think no one will accept your argument except the descendants of Haile Selassie.

  5. darawbayeh
    | #5

    Always constitutional monarchy had been a choice in Ethiopia,this is undeniable.Until recently the Crown Council of Ethiopia was political in nature.Deep rooted religious culture of Ethiopia will always incline to a Christian Monarchy or an Islamist state.Any alternative will be rejected by Ethiopians until the foreseeable futre.

  6. WEzezew
    | #6

    correction

    read the first line in the last paragraph, “constitutional monarchy instead of constitutional democracy

  7. Alem
    | #7

    T.Beza,
    Have you heard of thinking/planning ahead? I presume you want to get to what the professor is proposing after Meles has exited?!

  8. Samuel
    | #8

    Abugida must be very happy to have found one “intellectual” to come up with a dream of a segment of a society for the future direction of the country. It is ironic that we raise this issue after it was buried over 35 years ago with a blood of thousands of Ethiopians. The talk to ressurect it as insulting as the actual act of it.

  9. Lucy in America
    | #9

    It is a good idea. reestating a monarchicm system with limited power and Ethiopia perfers to have queen to king. I voted to queen. nooooooooooo king. If the queen nas a son , but not daughter. her son’s wife will be queen of ethiopia . this should be stated in the law.

  10. Anonymous
    | #10

    “no matter how often dictatorial leaders go through election rituals, registering even 90% of voters’ support, they still remain illegitimate. No matter how hard they tried, those two leaders, for example, are not accepted as leaders by the people of Ethiopia.” What the hell does that mean? I always feel very embarassed by ethiopian intelctuals. 1. please don’t write long article, for such small idia. 2. When you are trying to justify “III. Constitutional Monarchy for Ethiopia?” you only critisize democracy. There is no where you mention how monarchy either constitutaional or whatever could ever be legitimate? Wawwww

    I have studied in Ethio, and couple of other countries. I always feel that somehow in our upbringing we have lost “critical thinking”. Everyone thinks in very small box. Meles and Mengistu were more legitimate than Haile Sellassie for the matter of fact.

  11. Sheger
    | #11

    I agree with you dear Tekola W Hagoss. I don’t see any differences, I think it is better than ” country for sell ”

    Count me one in your world or party.

  12. aha!
    | #12

    The answer is restoring Ethiopian Nationalism and Ethiopian National Interest and the implementation of liberal and/or social Democracy, after a truly democratic government is put in place that governs by the consent of the governed. The option for constitutional monarchy with paliamentary democracy had been put on the table and was rejected in favor of Marxist-lennist ideolgy and is not an option. The option before us is ethnic and secessionist politics and /or policies under ethnic federalism and secessionism stipulated in the constitution under econmic development/development state economic theory in the East Asian style, with the means of production: land and capital, telecommunication and media under the control of TPLF/eprdf regime is the answer to the questions posed in the Title of this article. That may be appealing to those seeking “no cange but durable democracy”, and seking for a change of heart and/or improvement with TPLF/eprdf regime. The best option of the two is to go for liberal and/ or social democracy, with free free enterprise/capitlism or mixed economy after gainining political and economic freedom and liberty of the silent maority of Ethiopians in a non-violent uprising for political and economic freedom of the silent majority of Ethiopians coalescing under the goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopa and Ethiopians and the strategies to achieve those goals.

  13. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #13

    I have this bad feeling that the country is slowly sliding into an atmosphere of a failed state. This goon from Dedebit has been working hard for such an end. And the opposition…don’t start with me about that!!! It is in total disarray. The number of name-callers is astounding. Accommodation is considered a work of an evil. I myself honestly asked or suggested to some members of OLF, ONLF and many others who are huddled around nationalist groupings to tear down their current organizations and come under one nationalist front or party. I honestly believe that unity is the only way that can bring down this Dracula from Adwa. Some of them have stopped talking to me. Others went so far to ask me if I am a paid Woyanne. Name calling and virtual suspicion have been the two main afflictions that bedeviled our intellectuals since the epidemics of Marxism descended upon that society about 50 years ago. I have decided not to worry about it. It is not worth it.

  14. deriba Biftu
    | #14

    Cry for Democracy on undemocratic culture needs to be tempered.
    By now I’ll like to believe readers must be getting impatient and sick and tired of seeing this winding style of writing monotony which is a carryover from the Stalinist era. A half page of presentation ends up taking pages and whatever the author wanted to present seems to be lost in the midst of all this. As they say, it is lost in translation. Many of the commentary including this one are bookish and attempt to be academic. No amount of quotes or hair splitting for that matter will invite the reader to take notice of. I am surprised some still do.
    Perhaps the writers need to learn to spend more time trimming down their messages in crisp brief annotations instead of this carry on. No amount of quotes from other people’s work will makes it palatable to the reader. This is the era of information flow-there is a lot of it and people don’t have the time to ply through this vast amount of information. May be people should take Media 101. It may help. I haven’t, perhaps we all should.
    Returning to the subject in hand, focus on the basics if we are to make a difference to the lives of those poor and hungry people.
    We should call for New Thinking. A pick from Asian advancement, let me pose a couple of questions. Can I work in a Team environment and willingly invite others to have a look and give their honest opinion about any work I do? Am I prepared to accept comments even if it appears to be negative without hostility? The answer to those questions may reveal our democratic status us individuals.
    Cry for Democracy on undemocratic culture needs to be tempered.

  15. Sheger
    | #15

    Dear AHA, you are sickening me with the slashes, I can’t keep up with the story.

  16. Gemechu
    | #16

    Remember folks, there is neo-nazi polithical thinking still functioning & upported by some. The governed Ethiopians should be given an option weather Ethnic Federalism, constitutional monarchy, capitalism, socialism or mixed. Dont compare these systems with Meles/Mengistu etc. Because they only deserve one voice like all Ethiopians but in reality only those uneducated stuborn individuals decide their way of Ethiopian rulling all of this dictatorial idividuals fall short of any one systems which may perfectly fit under dfferent circumstances. We have to discuss or fight for a system that allow all political parties/systems and Ethiopian Elites function, and give the people decide. Only then, I can guarantee you there will be a unified and self fed Ethiopia in even less than the five year GTP that our current dictatores are dreaming.

  17. Woyane
    | #17

    I think you have been hibernating for more than two decades. You don’t even seem to have a bit of information as to what is happening in Ethiopia at present and where the country is heading to. Better not to panic by imagined hysteria. If you could, try to put your prints in the changing Ethiopia. If not, better to watch passively than putting school assignments on the news.

  18. ECONOMIC GENOCIDE
    | #18

    Right,the monarchy has to be reinstituted to ensure the continuity and stability of Ethiopia and because that is our tradition.Of course with the people electing their government. We have to separate state and government.Government is what has to be changed from time to time. Nr. 3,4,8,10, and 12 could be members of that cursed generation.You five, we will reinstitute the crown whether you like it or not.

  19. aha!
    | #19

    Ittu Abafarda hit the nail on the head, when he stated the that the liberation movements should come under on nationalist front, without knowing if that nationist front achieve the goals for unity, territorial integrity, soveregnity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, rather than seeking for secession upto self determination, like Eritrea in the armed struggle. Is these liberation movements merging into one nationalist organization different from the alliance formed in AFD and the current alliance with Ginbot-7 take the form of merging rather than alliance with Ginbot-7, and EPPF and become independent of the influence of the Eritrean regime in their decision making processes, as a host country.

  20. Taddesse
    | #20

    Most of Ethiopian wish and strive to have a leader who provides bread, cloth, shelter, security in short the basic needs for the citizen of the country with good governance and equal opportunity for all walk type of its people irrespective of their ethnic religion and so on. And need a leader who facilitates and relives them from their backwardness and poverty not a king or queen whom they consider a god or goddesses to belive.

  21. አለቃ ብሩ
    | #21

    ጥሩ ጽሁፍ ነው:: ንጉሳዊ አስተዳደር (በዘመናዊ መልክ) ይመለስ ወይም አይመለስ ብየ አስቤ አላውቅም:: ምናልባት ሁሉም አንድ አይነት ዘፈን [ዴሞክራሲ]ስለሚዘፍን ይሆናል:: የተኮረጀ ዴሞክራሲ ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ለምን እንደማይሰራ ጽሀፊው ያቀረባቸው መከራከሪያዎች በጣም አሳማኝ ናቸው:: አንደኛው ተጨባጭ ምሳሌ እዚሁ ይገኛል::ከዚህ በላይ ጽሁፉ ረዘመ ብለው የሚንጫጩትን ግለሰቦች ብዛት ብቻ መመልከቱ በቂ ነው:: የማያነብ [የማንበብ ፍላጎት የሌለው] ህብረተሰብ አገር-በቀል ያልሆኑ አስተሳሰቦችን (እንደ ዴሞክራሲ ያሉ) በቀላሉ ይረዳል ለማለት ይከብዳል::

  22. menzaw
    | #22

    A promoter in the early stage of the campaign on trashing anything Ethiopian and most of its population now wake up with another distraction with a crocodile tears, because the tyrannical occupation deep routed, maybe its time to introduce another form of domination maybe up grad it to the level of a monarchy.In any way, narrow mind, arrogant and emotional manifestation can foul nobody.

  23. menzaw
    | #23

    please read “deep rooted”

  24. BOSTONIAN
    | #24

    TO THE WEB MASTER OF ABUGIDA:

    You have deleted my critical points against Tecola Hagos which was posted in this web site. WHY?????.

  25. aha!
    | #25

    Kirubel Negash, you have touched on Prof. Hagos’s major point for bringing up constitutional monarchy as a means to an end, the end being the goas for unity, territorial integrity, soveregnity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, the first and the last one he did not include, in which case unity is implied when said monarchy as a unifying factor, without stating the strategy by which to proceed with the campaign for constitutional monarchy. The idea is presented in contrast to developmental state theory and liberal democracy, currently prevailing within the TPLF/eprdf regime, economic development before democracy in the East Asian style and KAEUP’s and others national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians under liberal and/or social democracy of EPRP, with political and economic freedom of the individuals superceding ethnic rights, with a ratified constitution with regard to ethnic and secessionist politics and or policies to restore the political boundries to the original states, to restore Ethiopian Nationalism and Ethiopian National interests, and disolve totaliarianism to foste pure and/mixed capitalism and true democracy in Ethiopia. Constiutional democracy as a means to an end with out citing strategy is not only a nostaligia but also a diversion from the main focus of non-violent uprising to freedom from autocratic, ethnocratic/ethnic dictatorship (minority or majority ethnic rule) as long long as the country is divided along ethnic lines and the basic platform of the two parties is ethnic-based. The only pragmatic solution scientific problem solving formula is the for the loyalist opposition parties to coalesce around the goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians along with strategies to achieve those goals first to save Ethiopia from disintegration and restore individual freedom and liberty. Prof. Tecola Hagos also knows not only EPRP and Derg members which deposed the Emperor Hailesellassie, but also the liberation movements led by TPLF and EPLF members are resistant to entertaing constitutional monarchy as means to an end.

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