Ethiopia’s ethnic elite governance is a barrier to a promising alternative: commentary part three of ten By Aklog Birara, PhD

January 25th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

“Rather than fixing African lack of infrastructure, Chinese entrepreneurs and Africa’s governing elites look as if they are conspiring to use the development model as a pretext for plunder.”

The Economist, August 13, 2011

“Ethiopia’s long-awaited democratization has stalled over the last half decade. Today, there are fewer constraints on the EPRDF’s power than at any other time in its 20-year rule.”
Freedom House: countries at the crossroads, 2011

Development models are never ideology and politics neutral. This is why free and fair elections matter. They give people options and choices. Because citizens have no choices, the well-entrenched minority ethnic elite have the audacity to claim that it won by 99.6 percent. This claim is possible because opposition parties are barred from competing and civil society is disabled. Ethiopian public enthusiasm during the 2005 elections was an indicator of alternatives in policies and programs offered by competing parties. It was an indicator of change. Going forward, the next election in 2015 can’t just be about political parties or groups or individuals or about going through the mechanical motions of periodic and staged elections. For that, one can be sure that Ethiopian citizens will be expected to go to the polls and vote whether the process is free, fair, open, transparent and competitive or not. Just imagine one living and working in Ethiopia and not turning out to vote. One knows the consequences. The choices are limited. It is a top down and prescriptive system characterized by fear. The public will assess the coming national election against what happened in 2005 and what new policies are offered this time.

In the aftermath of the 2005 elections, public trust and confidence in the electoral process are shattered. The democratization process has to be rebuilt from scratch. Evidence lies in the willingness and readiness of all parties, especially, officials of the ruling-party, to vow publicly and unconditionally that it will accept the rule of law and scrupulously recognize the rights of Ethiopian voters to cast their ballots in secret and without undue pressure or influence from any party. Both the ruling-party and the opposition camp must begin the healing process and restore mutual confidence and trust among the population now for this to happen. They must recognize that the election is not about the personalities who lead parties. Elections are about offering the Ethiopian people an institutional alternative to improve their lives. I predict that without public voice and participation, the current deplorable conditions in the economy will persist; and corruption will go on. This does not mean that there will not be growth.

The indicators to-date suggest that the governing party is nowhere closer to the demands of the population and opposition groups today than it was 8 years ago. It digs deeper and deeper into a garrison mentality and forces the entire society no other choice but to rebel against oppression and restore justice. Accordingly, opposition political parties and civic organizations need to get their act together now in order to lead and to avert potential chaos. The alternative they offer must be much more promising and compelling than the current governing party. In my estimation, this will not happen by chance. Offering alternatives to the public comes from an institutional process that guarantees the Ethiopian people the right to engage in and experience the true meaning of a free, fair open, transparent and competitive election. This will be the essence of political pluralism and a departure from the tradition of leftist politics and the current ethnic elite system. To start with, opponents have an obligation to the Ethiopian people and reach-out to one another and build confidence and trust among themselves.

Cynics argue that proposing such a notion in peaceful change is naïve. The system will not allow peaceful change. They feel that the prospects are dim, because political pluralism, the evolution of democratic institutions and a level playing field in the economy will undermine single-party political and economic dominance. This, they say, the TPLF/EPRDF will never allow. This point of view has credibility. Is it really appropriate to worry whether or not the ruling party allows free and fair elections? We know that it has not and will not. What should concern us is organizational and leadership weakness within the opposition camp. For example, with a few exceptions, opposition parties are led by traditional and unimaginative political actors. The country needs a new cadre of leaders with creativity, imagination and capacity and ability to innovate and tools. The society needs political organization and leadership that places the interests of the country and its entire people ahead of party and personality.

The society needs new and insightful leaders capable and willing to bury the past (without forgetting it) and move toward a future that accommodates everyone and leaves no one. The burden of proof that officials of the ruling-party and opposition groups are not afraid of change that will come from the Ethiopian people remains to be seen. It is their ability to dare to change that will determine the future and undo the current oppressive system. Calling the shots by using monies to buy elections and the media to propagate ideology won’t change the way citizens feel deeply about the ruling-party. Borrowing heavily from the banking system and from outside to carry-out growth without participation that will change the structure of the economy will not change the lives of the vast majority and stop the hemorrhaging of Ethiopia’s social capital. Once people rise to claim their future, there is no force that will stop them. We saw this in North Africa and we are witnessing it in the Middle East. This is why the opposition camp cannot afford to lag behind the needs and hopes of the population.

Political parties and leaders must believe that changes in attitude and mindset are possible. The recent change within one faction of the OLF is indicative a positive trend in the right direction. It is not enough. We all need to build on it. For example, what about Article 39 that keeps the country in permanent suspense? Some argue that ethnic politics play substantial roles in highly developed nations such as Canada and Belgium. These countries cannot be considered as peers. One cannot deny the fact that there is ethnicity and ethnic affinity of some sort. Both countries are, however, constitutional monarchies with parliamentary forms of government. First and foremost, a Canadian or Belgian accepts herself or himself as a national of the country, namely as Canadian or Belgian while enjoying cultural and linguistic freedom.

Continuing the fracturing political and social culture of blaming one another, refusing to dialogue with one another and demeaning one another will lead Ethiopian society nowhere. Perpetuating the same ideological path of ethno-nationalism and ethnic-federalism is a limiting model and strategy. Among other things, it will not advance broad-based, equitable and rapid growth and development. It lacks wisdom and farsightedness. It has proven to be disastrous for the vast majority of the Ethiopian people. It will restrain productivity and increased incomes for millions of people.
The reader would appreciate the potent socioeconomic and political arguments which would follow in assessing the reasons and conclusions as to why ethno-nationalism and ethnic federalism are lethal for Ethiopian society. Simply put, it is a strategy of divide and rule and is intended to maintain minority ethnic elite single party dominance. This is why Freedom House concluded that the democratization process is “stalled.” In my view, it closed. It is worth going back to and tracing its history and attributes and the reasons of why Michela Wrong, who wrote a riveting fact based analysis of ethnicity and corruption in Kenya, concluded that this ethnic elite governance is “toxic.” The question that I should like to probe is the extent to which there is direct co-relation between the current “monolithic party state,” the Economist’s contention of the Ethiopian developmental state as an instrument of “plunder” and ethnic-based rule.
During the 1970s–the rise of ethno-nationalism and wars of national liberation–buffeted through diplomatic and material globalization–cost Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people dearly. The country lost its traditional access to the Red Sea. While it is not tenable to argue that it does not have some fundamental democratic features–the right to use and enjoy one’s ethnic language and culture and to demand recognition of one’s history and so on–there are numerous political, administrative management, economic and social capital formation, domestic market and investment issues that are apparent and must be addressed openly and boldly for the benefit of all Ethiopians. Let me explain them in greater detail drawing from the experiences of other countries and insights from compatriots.

First, there is no doubt that ethnic federalism works against; and actually undermines national level social capital formation. The education system is deliberately narrow, parochial, shallow, and in terms of the challenges of this century, of low quality. I am not aware of a country that has achieved developed country status by adopting socialization process that is patently anti-country and anti-broad society. How in the world would Ethiopians compete in the 21st century with a human capital that is fear based, divisive and second rate? It is interesting to note that ethnic elites equip their children and others in the privileged camp through access to private schools and financing them to study overseas thus giving them the best education possible.

Second, by design the regime’s ethnic based social capital formation does not nurture or promote communication across ethnic and religious lines. In fact, it reinforces separate identity, world outlook, behaviors and tendencies. If this generation of Ethiopians is barred to communicate with one another naturally and as human beings–and more important as Ethiopian citizens–is it not possible that they will be strangers to one another in their own country? How would they trust one another when they grow up if they are taught that they come from “irreconcilable ethnic and religious groups?” How would they build a modern, democratic and just multiethnic society if they are encouraged to believe in separate ethnic identities? At a basic level, how would they tolerate one another? How would they contain emotions if the system breaks down? This is the reason for my thesis that ethnic federalism keeps the society in permanent suspense and undermines solidarity across manmade ethnic boundaries.

Third, ethnic federalism constrains the free flow of knowledge, experience and capital, including labor, across geopolitical, religious and ethnic lines. This is exactly the opposite of trends in other countries such as Ghana. Unrestrained communication and the sharing of knowledge and best practices are vital in modernizing the country and in giving each citizen an opportunity to succeed. Ethnic federalism based location is now a major barrier to opportunity compounding the criteria of loyalty to minority ethnic elite party.

Fourth, by design, Article 39 of the Constitution reinforces secession, civil wars and permanent suspense. When people see no other option in asserting their socioeconomic and political rights, they tend to resort to extremes, including the right to secede. Is it not strange then to find that the top leadership professes nationalism and national unity whenever it wishes and whenever this advances its narrow interests; but does the opposite in creating the conditions that will make national independence, territorial integrity and the unity of the population enduring. One of these conditions is free, fair and competitive election.

Following its defeat in the electoral process in 2005, the Prime Minister had the audacity to claim that the opposition intended to trigger ethnic genocide or Intrahamwe that claimed the lives of close to 20 percent of Rwanda’s population. It seems that the Prime Minister stretches facts in order to achieve an objective. The sad thing is that such a declaration is irresponsibility without accountability. The Ethiopian people have lived with one another for thousands of years. They have fought side by side and defended the country he now rules.

For the above reasons, I suggest that continuation of ethno-nationalism and ethnic-federalism as a geopolitical architecture to resolve internal ethnic differences has in fact created unintended consequences of potentially fracturing and dismantling the fabric of Ethiopian society. The country’s cohesiveness and accommodating the democratic aspirations of all its mosaic are vital for its survival, modernization and sustainability. Peace and national reconciliation will be impossible without political pluralism, justice, equitable access to opportunities, freedom and democracy for the country’s mosaic. Otherwise a competitive national private sector will not emerge and endemic poverty will not be removed. This is why a new win-win formula is imperative.
A shared understanding of the benefits which would come from commonalities becomes a driving principle for debate and dialogue. If there is no consensus about commonalities, vulnerabilities will emerge and the current system will endure. Economic and social integration across geographic and ethnic lines will not take roots. Vulnerabilities would deepen implying weaknesses in mobilizing the capabilities of all Ethiopians in order to preserve the country and move it forward. It cannot move forward without social justice and political freedom. It cannot move forward without all members of Ethiopian society having fair and equitable access to opportunities. Enclaves of ethnic and localized growth that benefit ethnic elites and their supporters do not offer the panacea to technological backwardness, hunger, hopelessness, unemployment, low incomes and poverty. Inclusiveness and laying favorable conditions for shared prosperity will do marvels for Ethiopian society and will reduce the thwarting roles of globalization. Why? Ethiopians will be masters of their natural resources and will be in a better position to chart their future. Together, they will be strong.

In November 2009, I attended part of a presentation on politics, repression, instability and the political economy of reform in Sub-Saharan African countries sponsored by the World Bank. A Ghanaian Political Scientist, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, made a remark which I found pertinent to the Ethiopian situation. His analysis was on the paradoxical links of democratic elections and instability. In highly ethnically polarized societies such as Ethiopia, this danger exists for sure. But, its intensity will depend on how issues will be framed and presented to the public by contestants in the future. “By accepting the liberal democratic model that we will have cyclical instability, we have accepted that elections should not emphasize our cohesion.” This is the key point of my argument.
If contestants do not surface and debate fundamental issues that affect all of the Ethiopian people and instead focus on narrow, ethnic-oriented and parochial and competing interests, tensions will mushroom and instability will ensue. Akwetey put it succinctly when he said “We need systems that consider cohesion after the election has been won.” Losers and winners must accept outcomes as long as the election process is free, fair, open, transparent and competitive. There must be the prospect of a next time. Elections are not like coup d’états. The ruling-party and some within the opposition, treat them as such. The hard work of building institutions and the infrastructure to support democratization is lost in the process. This is why ordinary Ethiopians mistrust their government and its institutions and have low confidence in the opposition. The opposition must surmount the confidence and trust deficit by reaching out to one another now not half a century from now.

When I underscored the need for Ethiopia’s social cohesiveness, I was referring to the country’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national interests as well as to the benefits which will accrue from the sovereignty and authority of the Ethiopian people and commonalities in the economic and social system. I suggest that the solution starts by identifying and agreeing on common problems with a view of finding common solutions. These commonalities refer to the interests and needs of all citizens. One common interest they share is the need to assault endemic poverty in all of its manifestations. Another is gross human rights violations. Another is the plunder of the resources by a minority ethnic elite and global actor. Cohesiveness within the opposition camp provides them with the numerical strength to challenge the system which keeps them poor, powerless, ineffective and isolated from one another. The immense untapped treasures embedded in each and every nationality, religious, gender and demographic group suggests prevalence of potential social, cultural and economic benefits that will make the society prosperous in the long-term. It is this prospect that should lead opponents to coalesce.

I say this because of the social capital inherent in each nationality group and in each democratic leaning opposition party and civil society. It is the sum total of these potential assets or parts that make the whole formidable. Exploitation of this potential to benefit all will make the society far more prosperous than separate enclaves. For this reason, I genuinely believe in social, cultural, economic and political equity and inclusion. Innovative organizations and leaders must recognize the value added of confidence and trust building that will lead to cooperation rather than rivalry. A mentality of exclusion is costly and limiting to the democratization process and to growth and development. Inclusion and social justice do the opposite. These capabilities can be harnessed to the fullest to the extent that all opponents are able to pull in the same direction. They cannot do this unless they trust one another; and work with one another.

Opponents need to grasp the notion that sustainable economic and equitable development comes from inclusiveness, a vibrant national private sector and access to equitable opportunities and investments. The same way that most experts urge and defend the potential benefits of opening up the political space; I would forward the notion that socioeconomic sustainability requires opening up or leveling the investment and economic space for all and each Ethiopian. Opening up the political and economic spaces are manifestations of pluralism and democracy. One reinforces the other. One can’t have political democracy unless it facilitates economic and social justice for all citizens. Opponents can and should reject ethnic politics, including ethnic federalism because they are major barriers to genuine democracy that should manifest itself in one person one vote. For Ethiopian society to succeed in achieving political pluralism, free and fair elections must be national not local or ethnic-based. I will draw an economic argument to strengthen this point.

The hunger problem is not a Tigre or Amhara or Afar or Somali or Oromo problem. The unemployment problem is not a Somali or Oromo or Afar or Amhara problem. The land grab problem is not an Oromia or Gambella problem. The social and institutional de-capitalization problem is not an Afar, Somali or Amhara problem. Ethiopian national unity is not a Tigray or Oromia or Amhara problem. It is an Ethiopian problem. This is why I suggest that unbridled access to economic and social opportunities is the right of all Ethiopians. Without this right, sustainable and equitable development will remain out of reach for the vast majority regardless of another five year plan with billions of dollars in investments. Why? Monopolistic and ethnic practices are, by definition, inequitable, unjust, unfair and limiting. Fair investment policies and practices trigger opportunities across geopolitical, ethnic and demographic lines. Ethnic-based policies and practices crowd out these possibilities. While there is overwhelming evidence that Tigrean elites build mansions in Mekele; it is not true that a Tigrean farmer or any other poor can expect to live in this new mansion. While he may not starve because of favorable treatment from an ethnic regime, this poor farmer cannot be identified as better off than an Amhara or Oromo or Gambella farmer and so on. We cannot afford to generalize and penalize whole ethnic groups because elites at the top dominate national politics and economics or institutions of control. I do not underestimate the symbolic importance associated with ethnic based dominance of national politics, though.
This is why I argued in the previous two articles on ethnic federalism that state capitalism—a form of crony capitalism in Ethiopia–is marvelous for a privileged few because it crowds out deserving individuals from competition. It is a source of destitution for the majority and those excluded. In 2010, Amare Mammo who worked for the Ministry of Agriculture under the TPLF and left dismayed offered a testimony concerning the gap in wellbeing between those in power and those who are disempowered. He contrasted two emerging classes in Ethiopian society today, a few largely minority ethnic rich amidst a majority poor. The prudent question to ask is how the few accessed enormous wealth over the past 21 years, while leaving the vast majority destitute and poor.

At both the political and economic levels, opening up the windows of opportunity would occur only when there is unrestricted and free public participation and engagements; and a level playing field for economic and social participation and investments. Involvement by all citizens in the political process assumes consensus concerning a unified and shared geopolitical and political space that comes from an identity with Ethiopia and Ethiopian citizenship. Ethnic identity does not nurture shared political power and shared prosperity. If there is no willingness to share political power, it is predictable that there will not be shared prosperity. Why? The political party that is in power determines policies, decisions, programs and allocation of resources. This control provides it with the means that defines who would have access and who does not; who is wealthy and eats more than three meals a day; and who is poor and has difficulty securing one meal a day. Ethnic politics is this much powerful and decisive.

It is this practical and life and death situation that compels all political and civil opponents and the rest of us to find practical ways to set aside differences and focus on commonalities and on common actions. We have overwhelming evidence that the minority ethnic elite party of the TPLF and its ethnic camouflage, the EPRDF has practically closed political, social and economic space for the vast majority. This does not mean that it has not succeeded in recruiting millions of members through economic and financial incentives. However, a mercantile approach to governing a country is not the same as gaining political legitimacy through free, fair and competitive elections. Opposition parties, civic groups, intellectuals and the rest of society can and must seize the opportunity offered by this shallow and corrupt architecture and challenge it intelligently, strategically, systematically and in a sustainable way by doing exactly the opposite of ethnic divide and rule.

What do I mean by this? Set aside minor behavioral differences; do not dwell on the past; reach out to one another; build mutual confidence and trust; develop a common platform; and anchor the struggle within the country now. It is when this happens that miracles would occur; and this miracle will come from the Ethiopian people themselves. The overwhelming majority of Ethiopians are tired of being poor, repressed, disenfranchised, powerless, propertyless and voiceless. What they need is a political organization and leadership that is committed to them: rule of law bound, genuinely democratic, bold, imaginative, inclusive, trustworthy and transformative.
To be continued
1/25/2012

  1. Garbi
    | #1

    It is my firm believe that Ethiopia as we know her today must die. It is a natural death that will bury injustices that nation and national suffer in the name of keeping the status quo and territorial integrity which denied them their natural rights. A genuine reform could however save her from this natural death. In reforming Ethiopia, the only group that needs change is the Neo-nafxanyaa crowd. It is time they stop working to stop Oromo people from exercising their legitimate rights. It is time they let go their conservative, oppressive, possessive and racist values and embrace democratic values. Until now, the Neo- nafxaanya elites have assumed false authority to dictate on the future of nations and nationalities in Ethiopia. How sad that they even failed to see the changing demographics in Ethiopia? Today, Ginbot7 and and many Neo-Nafxanya comrades need an interpreter to communicate with an average Oromo youth. The Qubee generation has long rejected values that are core to the nafxanya fathers. If we have to share the same country, a common country that we can all proudly call our home, the oppressed nations and nationalities must set our conditions, not the other way around.These conditions must include but not limited to:
    a). The unity crowd unconditionally accept the right to self-determination of nations and nationalities.
    b). The unity camp denounce Emperor Menelik, his invading army and Orthodox church priests for the crime they committed against humanity during the occupation of Oromia.
    c). The Abyssinian camp apologize for the past crimes that their ancestors committed to free nations and nationalities.
    d) Noe- fascists stop honoring past butchers like Emperor Menelik as heroes. Honoring King Menelik and his invading army constitutes violence against free nations and keeps alive the dehumanization and humiliation of nations which were conquered by the invading army.
    e) The unity crowd accept federalism that recognizes Oromia as an independent nation.

  2. A frd
    | #2

    So what? Leave everything and go back to Derg, Hailesilassie style constitution? You want your gangs to come once again who definetely would be more opressers than tplf? Unity is nice but it is being advanced amaras, those that blindly and passionately hate others culture, language and so forth! the unity they talk of is just fake – as they havev been telling us fake stories for decades! We found that most of the stories abt Eth is just fake! I admit there are nice stories and geneune ones. But the fake unity wont work, fortunately, and of course that will not be possibly!It it happens, it will fail so badly as the basis is fake, bind it is a lot of hate, dominance mind set and all the bad things we witnessed previously.

  3. yem
    | #3

    A CASE IN POINT WORTH TAKING A NOTE OF

    ”By its design the Tigre people liberation front’s ethnic based social capital formation does not nurture or promote communication across ethnic and religious lines. In fact, it reinforces separate identity, world outlook, behaviors and tendencies.

    If this generation of Ethiopians is barred to communicate with one another naturally and as human beings–and more important as Ethiopian citizens–is it not possible that they will be strangers to one another in their own country?

    How would they trust one another when they grow up if they are taught that they come from “irreconcilable ethnic and religious groups?”

    How would they build a modern, democratic and just multiethnic society if they are encouraged to believe in separate ethnic identities?

    At a basic level, how would they tolerate one another? How would they contain emotions if the system breaks down? This is the reason for my thesis that ethnic federalism keeps the society in permanent suspense and undermines solidarity across manmade ethnic boundaries.

    Ethnic federalism constrains the free flow of knowledge, experience and capital, including labor, across geopolitical, religious and ethnic lines.
    This is exactly the opposite of trends in other countries such as Ghana. Unrestrained communication and the sharing of knowledge and best practices are vital in modernizing the country and in giving each citizen an opportunity to succeed.

    Ethnic federalism based location is now a major barrier to opportunity compounding the criteria of loyalty to minority ethnic elite party.”

  4. aha!
    | #4

    Add to this fantcy land called “Oromia”, demarcated by virtue of ethnic federalism of its controverial location of its capital, “Finfinfine” or Nazreth/”Adama”/Nekemte. Add to that in lieu of OLF change in its political program, that we are told by ENC that OLF is intending to create a “New Federal Democratic Ethiopia”, perhaps different than the prevailing OPDM/EFDF/fdre as OLF/OPDM/EFDF/fdre, which in all its attributes puts this political model as a mirror image of TPLF/eprdf regime and Dr. Aklog Birrara is dealing with a partial aspect of the negative forces of disintegration, that of TPLF/eprdf, the master mined of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism, which denies the silent majority of Ethiopians their individual freedom, liberty and equality to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights, because individual rights precede ethnic rights, Ethiopiawinet precedes ethnicity and loyality of its citizens to the tax payers at large precedes loyality to to a party and an interest to the country as one nation and one flag precedes ones own self interest to dismantle ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism in order to create a truley democratic government, which rules by the consent of the governened, different from the current autocratic, ethnocratic rule. It is naive to think by countering the ethnic rule alone one can avoid the ethnic majority rule as hinderance to democratization or democratic rule in Ethiopia.

    The way forward to save Ethiopia from disintegration and put Ethiopia on the path to democracy is by invoking the silent majority to a non-vioent uprising to freedom, liberty and equality to upercede ethnic and secessionist rights with the goals for unity, teritorial integrity, and the sovereignity of Ethiopia by joining hands with “Andinet Hayloch”, with the platform for national agenda, rather than ethnic agenda.

  5. aha!
    | #5

    Those points of contentions or conditions for fair, free and fair election and the signining of an agreement on conduct during the election process had come and gone resulting in no cordinated efforts by the opposition parties to stand up to the regime, nor by a second wave of protest by the silent majority of Ethiopians. It does not do any good to base your narratives on the basis of fair, free and transparent election past election 2010, instead of non-vilent uprising to freedom of the individuals from autocratic, ethnocratic and/or ethnic dictatorship minority now and majority in the future,

  6. aha!
    | #6

    I appogise for bypassing the contetious points you stipulated, while I contested your idea of using fair, free and transparent election as end point in your article in dealing with TPLF/eprdf regime, which is outdated.

  7. Future
    | #7

    Kymlicka draws the distinction between good, bad, and intolerable group rights.

    1. Good “group rights” supplement and strengthen individual human rights.

    2. Bad “group rights” support restrictions on the “individual rights”, which can be tolerated.

    3. Intolerable “group rights” supports restrictions on the “individual rights”, which are so serious that they should not be tolerated.

    The basis of “group rights” using equality argument states that “group rights” increases equality. Depriving a group its cultural rights curbs “group rights”, leaving the group culturally disadvantaged and unable to fully participate in society. Therefore external protections between groups can be justified in order to promote equality.

    What the author is criticizing is mostly applicable to the type of “group rights” which Kymlicka classifies as intolerable “group rights”.

    I think the author has done a good job when dealing with the “land grab” issue. But when it comes to “group rights”, I think he needs to reconsider his premises and conclusions. Besides many agree that the TPLF is not implementing ethnic federalism anymore than it is implementing democracy.

  8. yem
    | #8

    Garbi,

    You woyane gujiles wailing on various web sites camouflaged as oromo and denouncing menelik , and fabricating lies such as ‘Abbysinian colonialism’ etc is no more working for you. you are dead and buried. This has been the tactic you used to prolong your life for 20 years. 20 years is enough for you.

  9. Dawi
    | #9

    The last US presidential election had a cost of more than five billion dollars according to some Washington based think tank. That would make the most expensive election ever.

    So to maintain good democratic institutions with regular elections is huge; with that kind of money (5 billion), you can build about 34,000 nice size houses ($150,000 each) with 5 people per house will cover 150,000 people.

    Unless you want the TALIBANS TAKE OVER as in the Ogaden area and the old OLF in the OROMIA area as the Jihadists are about to take over in Egypt and have done it IRAN. The costs of electoral process, and electoral propaganda, political patronage, the interruption of long term government plans and projects are not something bankrupt government such as ours can afford.

    If you can’t fork that kind of money, get out of the kitchen because you’re bound to allow the fundamentalist of all hues take over governments through so called “elections” as in Egypt.

  10. Dawi
    | #10

    So if we can’t afford “real democratic elections”, Dictatorship is the most stable due to no delusion of power.

    IMO, continuing to play some batting on Meles’s natural desire to seek some kind honorable legacy as Messay tried to do – persuade/stroke the Dictator’s ego in the past is still a better game plan to pursue for sometime to come instead of rolling our dice per Egypt with some “Arab spring” illusion. In other words, the devil we know may be better the angel (Right Eing Wacko!) we don’t know.

    Looking at it from another angle as one former Singaporean Foreign Minister asked: “How many Singaporeans really want free speech anyway? They want orderliness, a decent living”. Can we ask Dr. Aklog same?

    In short, among the poor nations, an authoritarian political system increases the rate of economic development, while a democratic political system appears to be a luxury which hinders development.

    Countries who reach a higher level of development and social maturity are bound to seek to be liberated from the restrictions imposed by the dictatorship sooner or later; naturally seeking to transform themselves from dictatorship to Democracy.

    Anyway, my quest is why push our luck to the unknown now, when we see Egypt, Libya and others in our face, going to the unknown foundamentalist Territory?

  11. Dawi
    | #11

    Additonal note:

    So if we can’t afford “real democratic elections”, Dictatorship is the most stable due to no delusion of power.

    IMO, continuing to play some batting on Meles’s natural desire to seek some kind honorable legacy as Messay tried to do – persuade/stroke the Dictator’s ego in the past is still a better game plan to pursue for sometime to come instead of rolling our dice per Egypt with some “Arab spring” illusion. In other words, the devil we know may be better the angel (Right Eing Wacko!) we don’t know.

    Looking at it from another angle as one former Singaporean Foreign Minister asked: “How many Singaporeans really want free speech anyway? They want orderliness, a decent living”. Can we ask Dr. Aklog same?

    In short, among the poor nations, an authoritarian political system increases the rate of economic development, while a democratic political system appears to be a luxury which hinders development.

    Countries who reach a higher level of development and social maturity are bound to seek to be liberated from the restrictions imposed by the dictatorship sooner or later; naturally seeking to transform themselves from dictatorship to Democracy.

    Anyway, my quest is why push our luck to the unknown now, when we see Egypt, Libya and others in our face, going to the unknown foundamentalist Territory?

  12. Girum
    | #12

    Yem you put it right!!!
    ************************************
    You woyane gujiles wailing on various web sites camouflaged as oromo and denouncing menelik , and fabricating lies such as ‘Abbysinian colonialism’ etc is no more working for you. you are dead and buried. This has been the tactic you used to prolong your life for 20 years. 20 years is enough for you.
    *********************************
    I think no sane OROMO thinks and writes like this.
    TPLF hates MENELIK more than OROMOS and we know this secret very well.
    There is no such a thing as detaching OROMO, OROMO is not as such a simple falling branch to detach but it is rather the trunk of ETHIOPIA as as the knowledgeable and respected Bulcha Demeksa puts it already.
    And for those few naive and gullible OROMOS who simply fantasize the secessionist OROMIA and deny this reality your motive and dream does not go far away from being foreign power stooges,who aspire the disintegration of Ethiopia,eventually as an end-game.All those OROMOS, who denounce Menilik beyond what is warranted,please be aware that Menelik,in fact together with some honest and courageousness OROMOS like Balcha Abanefso,contributed such an immense role for today’s Ethiopia from which you are claiming to take your part.Like አሳ ጎርጓሪ ዘንዶ ያወጣል please be aware that OROMO migration was also the cause of the displacement of other nationalities like SIDAMA and others. OROMO itself was invader at some point in history and that is why it is scattered every where.Which time in history is exactly the reference to claim for some one as own territory?Any way there are so many OROMOS who pretty well know the ups and downs of human history and who have stopped such unreasonable claims and rather who are fighting to create a better Ethiopia together.That is what we better have to make together rather than being unreasonably being hostage of bad past history.
    Those all OROMO intellectuals who simply hype and famtasize OROMO issues unilaterally beyond what reality is telling us please stop such acts and be realistic.

    God bless Ethiopia!!!

  13. MOSES
    | #13

    For this all your analysis based on Ethnicity in Ethiopia for the last 20 years and now in continuum I say few lines. The entire issue is related to global capitalism. But so many of writers like you do not want to say or write on it and rather prefer to go round and round and say other minor things to cover-up this prevailing vital reality. And for global capitalism to work effectively in 3rd world countries then the strategy is to exploit the divide and rule scheme to create class structure that is favorable food-chain for the usual functioning of the global capitalist system. TPLF is also the result of this grand-plan global modus operandi scheme and ethnicity in Ethiopia arises mainly from this insidious motive of the global capitalist system. Even so many intellectuals and politicians of 3rd world country knowingly or unknowingly, I am afraid that it may be including you the writer, work for this global system and but rather mainly write and talk about the bogus democracy and elections just to confuse the mass. Democracy and humanitarian mission is the new mode of insidious scheme utilized by the global capitalist system, in order to systematically infiltrate in the internal issues of 3rd world countries.
    But I am sorry to say it that so many of writers and intellectuals can not bring meaningful change and emancipation as long as you are working to cover up the insidious schemes of global capitalism under the cover of Liberal-Democracy and Liberal Economy. Believe me you and others similar writers by doing like this as usual, you will not bring vital change to you country and peoples as long as you are becoming crony to the global capitalist system. So many writings are becoming so boring and cliché doing the same things because can not and do not want to address the real decisive issue and savage beast lurking behind in the background, that is global capitalism. This has become the most amazing and tragic thing that I will never ever forget regarding most Ethiopian intellectuals both in the realm of politics economics and others. How such thing happens??? Where is our wisdom and common sense besides our PHDs , MASTERS!!! and BSc!!! Hey all Ethiopians we need genuine voices too!!!

  14. aha!
    | #14

    Girum is right, these ideologies of ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totaliarinism will have to dismantled and the the teletafi (ethnic federalist) parties and the loyalist (ethnic federalist) opposition parties should abandon it or deny their support to the constitution infavor of individual freedom, liberty and equality of individuals to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights. And the ethnic secessionist movements mainly OLF to abandon its secessionism upto self determination agenda to to fight for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of of Ethiopia, with uninamously agreed upon stategies to achieve these goals, leaving TPLF with or without the teletafi parties to fend for ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totaliarinism. Otherwise with the current line up of the political models it is possible, but difficult to reach those goals, whereby the ethnic federalists and ethnic secessionist have nothing to loose but to rehabilitate an Ethiopian pluralistic society, much like a tree where the the roots and stem repersent Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups and the big and the smaller branches reperenting bigger and smaller ethnic groups thriving upon the same resources, as Grum partially alluded to. That being the main focus for the uprising to freedom from autocratic, ethnocratic rule Minority or majority) and/or ethnic dictatorship not mere dictatorship as some may want us to believe.

  15. ጉረኞች
    | #15

    Dawi
    You are funny. It would have been easier for you to explain, if you use the amount of money woyane dictator Meles and his cronies expropriate in illicit money from Etiopians, instead of using US electoral cost. Things will be much clear. Woyane expropriated aid, development and borrowed money close to $11 billion. If they hand out only the small portion of $11 billion, let’s say like $1 million each to 80 million Ethiopians, there would have been 80 million millionaires in Ethiopia. Is that compatible to what you are thinking?

  16. Dawi
    | #16

    ጉረኞች said:

    [[...Woyane expropriated aid, development and borrowed money close to $11 billion. If they hand out only the small portion of $11 billion, let’s say like $1 million each to 80 million Ethiopians, there would have been 80 million millionaires in Ethiopia. Is that compatible to what you are thinking..]]

    Well I heard there are hundreds of instant millionaires in the capital as we speak but, I don’t think it’s possible for government to control all the illicit money you are talking about.

    Also, the Illicit money being huge, has to be the result of mainly the growth in exports etc. Of 6-10% in the last few years. Aid and borrowed money is usually eaten up by the donors management itself and the products they export to us, like food.

    We understand growth beget more growth. If we assume the government has its hands in some of the Illicit money which is likely, it has to use it to gear more investors and ecourage them to come and do more investing, You have heard of those unknown companies doing mineral exploring etc? :)

    Off course the Dictatorship need to also cover expenses of like the jamming of ESAT etc. to stop oppostion from weakinng the strong hold of the Dictatorship.

    So there won’t be any money left for a luxuray like “election games” in my calculation; if you get my drift.

  17. aha!
    | #17

    OPDF and the newly concoted OFF (Oromo freedom front) as opposed to the previous OLF (Oromo Liberatin Front is set to ride on the cottails of UDJP, a party of no change but durable democracy with a subset objectives for democracy, human right and justice in association with loyalist opposition parties and ex-tplfites forming OPDf/EUDF/fdre to form a new Fderal Democratic Ethiopia (fdre) as if it never existed before in OPDF/EDUF/fdre, which is mirror image of TPLF/eprdf regime in support of ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totaliarinism. These three ideologies are the most contentious points in direct opposition to the national agenda fostering or engaged in a non-violent uprising and/or armed struggle by the Andinet Hayloch with the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopiopians, where the last item connote individual freedom, liberty and eaqulity to have precedence over ethnic and secessionist rights, stipulated in article 46, and Article 39 (1) of the constitution. Without abrogating those rights OPDF and OFF (oromo freedom front) could not be taking about forming a new fedreal democratic Ethiopia, unless the new feralism reverts from ethnic fedralism to State fedralism of the original provinces and ethnic seccessionist agenda along with the name OFF to have no ethnic lablel based on restoring individual freedom, Ethiopian Nationalism and the sovereignity of Ethiopia. The way it is set up and saturating the major media is one and the same, with majrity ethnic rule instead of minority ethnic rule should succeed to create a truly democratic government by the people for the people and of the people away from the fantacyland called Oromia with ill defined boundries of self -rule but separate development and a prcursor to secessinism and future border conflict among yhr seven ethnic groups, much like the the living example with Eritrea and Ethiopia.

    The elites need to have a grip on the core ideologies rather on the subset objectives of each party to save Ethiopia from disintegration and set it on a path to one democratic nation of individuals free of ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies that has been going on for the last 20 years and country being governed Ex-liberation movements and their couterparts designated as loyalist(ethnic federalist) opposition parties, which is now looming as OPDF/EDUF/fdre after the 2010 elction failure.

  18. Bekele
    | #18

    Dear thinnly disguised TPLF cadre,GARBI
    The real enemy is TPLF.The current woes lie at the door of the TPLF.YOU CAN NOT CHEAT ANYONE BY trying to divert attention while BASHING honorable historical figures such as the hero of Adwa,MENELIK.

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