Using the Future to Change the Present: Evolution vs. Revolution By Tecola W. Hagos

May 30th, 2014 Print Print Email Email

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiasts 1:9, King James Bible

I.In General

One must revisit old ideas often for the seeds for new ideas and future ideas may be embedded in such old even ancient ideas. I am writing thus, for I am thinking of the time tested almost apocryphal statement from Ecclesiasts 1:9: “There is no new thing under the Sun.” Indeed, that maybe the case if we think of time as an eternal present/now. If not, I hold the opposite that nothing is eternally set, but in flux and improvised. I cannot accept that I am helpless and fated to a predetermined end. Without such understanding that I have some personal role to play in mapping out my own life and also in affecting social norms and processes in concert with others in routing or channeling society for/to some communal destiny, it would be meaningless to be engaged in political or economic discourse.

With the goal of effecting meaningful change in the political and economic life of Ethiopia, I have reassessed how we can use the 1995 Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to that end. In this article, my focus is the political power distribution between the Federal and the States/Kilils in the federal structure as constituted by the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia—a tool that can be used for advancing individual human, political, and democratic rights. I am assuming that most Diaspora Ethiopians have read the 1995 Constitution if not for anything just to be conversant with some degree of relevance on the concepts and goals of that Constitution.

Obviously, fundamental change in the structure of the Ethiopian State (including the social and economic life of Ethiopia) is long overdue. One serious consideration that Ethiopians must decide on, sooner or later, is whether the fundamental change we all desire for should be evolutionary or revolutionary. The Ethiopian Diaspora politicians, in general, seem to favor revolutionary change, which is a very serious error in judgment, for any revolutionary change at this stage will result in catastrophic civil war that will make Somali’s civil war look like a child’s play.

II.State/kilil governments and Federalism:

Despite the fact that I am thoroughly for a unitary political structure for Ethiopia, I believe that it would be a mistake to think of “federalism” as a new concept or recent political structure for Ethiopia. In fact, the last five hundred years of Ethiopian history is marked by the constant balancing struggle between centralized power and defused power that was at one point graphically depicted in the history of the Zemene Mesafinte for about one hundred years [1760 -1870]. During that tumultuous period, the Ethiopian central governmental power was totally undermined and regional powers/warlords were in control of their respective regions. But all vied to dominate and ultimately achieve the status of the old order—Emperor.

Essentially, Ethiopia throughout its history from the time of the Zagwe Dynasty to date has been under some form of federal structure divided between Hagere Mengist, where the king or Emperor has direct control, and Medre Gebre, where different local leaders have almost autonomous administrative power and pay tribute to the King or Emperor in power. [See for such geographic designations Getatchew Haile, YEABA BAHRIY DERSETOCH,(2002) pages 106-7 n8.] I think of such structure as having the basic elements of a “federal” political structure. In other words, although within our contemporary time of reference we were subjected to Haile Selassie’s and the Derge’s centralization effort, we Ethiopians are used to regional and localized power and central government power throughout the two hundred years in our immediate past before the time of Haile Selassie.

The perception of modern Ethiopia from a single trajectory point imbedded in the past would only give us a partial and often grossly distorted picture of Ethiopia. The best approach is to acknowledge the fact of several narratives taken together that would probably give us a clearer picture of our shared history as a nation than would be the case with localized narrations. However, we must guard against the temptation of drawing parallels between recent events and past activities. For example, consider the totally inappropriate analogy drawn between the TPLF struggle of liberation against the genocidal Derg regime before 1991 with the raiders of medieval time [BAHRE HASSAB, page 246] like the Gala/Oromo insurrections into Agew, Amhara, Enarya et cetera territories during and after the time of Gragn Mohammad’s destructive occupation of twelve years

Many scholars have characterized the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie as the era of the hegemonic centralization of state power, which effort, in principle, had it been done properly is to my liking. In a way, the EPRDF does reflect Ecclesiasts 1:9 perception of history. In an effort to maintain national territorial integrity, especially in States with ethnic diversity and long history of struggle for dominance and counter resistance against such effort, federalist structure is most sought after. However, federalism in itself does not solve the problem of diversity, it merely moves the goal-post a little closer to the public. In fact, some scholars including our own, are aware of the many forms of “federalism” that can manifest in ethnic based federal structures as opposed to administrative territorial federal structure.

“The federal arrangements that exist in the world today fall under either of the two categories. Countries such as Nigeria, India and former USSR are known to have a federal arrangement based on ethnic principle. While others like USA, Germany and Brazil are known to have a territorial basis of arrangement.” [Abate Nikodimos Alemayehu, ETHNIC FEDERALISM IN ETHIOPIA: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES, (2004) 11.]

However, such distinction has to be understood not as fundamental but structural in the sense of reading the symptom with the disease.

The fundamental structure of federalism can be divided into 1) constitutive: where different states/nations/nationalities create a new state by coming together to form the (federal) state, or 2) fragmentative: where a unitary state is broken up in order to maintain it as a state and save it from disappearing altogether restraining each fragment becoming separated as an independent state. The latter is often based on ethnic/language identity for its federalism. Prof Edmond Keller summarized for us the form of basic structure I pointed out here above.

“There are various ways in which federal systems come into being. Alfred Stepan building on the seminal work of William Riker, identified two main patterns: 1) the coming together federations, and, 2) holding together federations. Coming together federation emerge when sovereign states for security purposes and/or purposes of government efficiency decide voluntarily to form a federal system. Holding together federations are the outgrowth of a consensual parliamentary decision to preserve a unitary state by creating a multi-ethnic federal system. This is most often done to avoid or manage diversive ethnic, regional, or other types of group conflict within the party.” Keller, Edmond J. “Ethnic federalism, fiscal reform, development and democracy in Ethiopia.” (5) African Journal of Political Science 7.1 (2002): 21-50.

Thus, one can surmise the ethnic federalism of Ethiopia seems more in line with the “holding together federation” system with the propensity of the member states/kilils toward full secession and independence. Having Article 39 would only accelerate the process of the dismantling of Ethiopia into several much less viable independent states.

III. State Structure [Arts 45-49] and Division of Power [Arts 50-52]

In terms of nuance and significance, the Amharic version of the 1995 Constitution is a quite different read than the English version. Thus, my advice for all who can read and understand Amharic is to read the Amharic version along the English version of the Constitution. In some of its articles it seems to reinforce the unitary Ethiopian State. However, it does have also in limited number of articles anti-unitary enhanced vocabulary, for example, the word “State” is a translation of the Amharic word “Kilil” that has a much intense meaning and negative connotation adverse to political unity.

The Preamble of the 1995 Constitution clearly states that the goals and beliefs of the Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples of Ethiopia is to be carried out by the provisions of the Constitution. Articles 45 to 52 must be read carefully in conjunction with the Preamble and the Fundamental Principles of the Constitution in Chapter Two. Article 8 states that all sovereign power resides in the Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples of Ethiopia. Such sovereign power must not be confused with ownership of property such as land, it is rather a political centering of national State power. The Preamble and the Fundamental Principles along with those articles identify for us the basic or atomic constitutive parts and scope of the basis of state power. I am of the opinion that the political parties in power, the opposition, the Diaspora politicians, and the Ethiopian people in general have as yet to see these constitutional provisions in far different perspective than what we all had presumed these provisions are stating. None of these articles provide for or sanction exclusive rights on land to any one particular nation, nationality or people to the exclusion of some ethnic group. They simply declare that States/Kilils have common ownership in trust for the people of Ethiopia and not for any particular group, nation, or nationality.

Article 52 (2) (d) states that one of the function of the State/Kilil is “[t]o administer land and other natural resource in accordance with Federal laws.” This is the only provision that empowers the States/Kilils on questions of land, and even then it is an administrative role conditioned on observing Federal law. And such Federal law cannot be construed in such a way that it abrogates the fundamental rights of individual Ethiopians. The right to property as inscribed in Article 40 is considered as part of the democratic right of all citizens without any form of exclusivity to any one Ethiopian citizen. Article 40 is one of those articles that should be read very carefully. The one significant subsection of this Article 40 is its subsection (4) “The right to ownership of rural and urban land, as well as of all natural resources, is exclusively vested in the State and in the Public. Land is a common of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia and shall not be subject to sale or to other means of exchange.” The reference to the “State” is not the same as “Kilil” but is translated in the Amharic version as “Mengist” i.e. the Government of the State of Ethiopia. When one reads Article 40 cum Article 52, it is impossible to read into this 1995 Constitution any of the claims of exclusive rights based on membership in any ethnic group.

The tragedy of the last twenty years is that that the EPRDF was manipulated, coerced, blackmailed by a single individual and his close associates to carry out unconstitutional acts of ethnic cleansing dehumanizing Ethiopian citizens contrary to the very Constitution sponsored and incubated by EPRDF. It is also true, as I have repeatedly pointed out in many of my previous articles, the 1995 Constitution is very poorly drafted with all kinds of ambiguities that will require the genius of generations of legal experts to make it work properly. However, rather than throwing it away, and in order to avoid power struggle, maybe we should work on amending its most obnoxious articles starting with Article 39.

Coming back to the question of ownership of or having subsidiary rights over rural and urban land, I believe the Ethiopian courts have not been tested on such issues of exclusivity, ethnic preferences, evictions, ethnic cleansing et cetera. At any rate, any public/state ownership of land (territorial), which is clearly a common-ownership situation as stated in Article 40 cum Article 52 does not lead to automatic or any ethnic cleansing or restriction of settlement, or denial of residency or domicile of individuals from other ethnic background. Such concept of exclusivity does not exist in a fair reading of these constitutional provisions. The Amharic version with its Amharic language nuances makes it even more so.

IV.Using the 1995 Constitution to Promote Change by Using the Courts

I checked with some Ethiopian lawyers who have been in law practice in Addis Ababa for some time, if there had been cases filed in the Federal or State courts challenging the removal of large number of Ethiopians from Kilils. It is quite shocking to me to realize that we failed to use the obvious constitutional provisions to challenge ethnic cleansing all these years. The serious problem we all have is that we do not think purposefully and in practical pursuit of solutions to problems facing us. Mostly, it seems almost everybody involved in political struggle is reading from some script that is dated and often juvenile. My favorite and poignant statement by an individual who had understood in depth such problem is the one by Professor Yacob Hilemariam who used to say that we Ethiopians [politicians] walk about with little crowns in our pockets to be used in case we become kings. I do not mind people having ambitions or delusions of grandeur, but entire generations to a man?

There is no doubt that serious crimes were committed against hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians who were removed by force from areas where they were leading a settled life in several regions/parts of Ethiopia. The series of ethnic cleansing carried out during the Transitional Government of 1991 to 1995 was illegal even by the standard set by the Transitional Charter. And later after the 1995 Constitution formally established the State/Kilil system even more Ethiopians were forced from Oromo Kilil, Somali Kilil, Afar Kilil, Benshangul-Gumuz Kilil. There is not a single constitutional provision that clearly allowed such ethnic cleansing from any Kilil. In situations where executive decisions or legislative secondary laws affect the fundamental rights of Ethiopians, it must be pursuant to a clearly stated limiting Constitutional provision and not through some imaginative interpretation of Constitutional provisos that do not clearly state such limitations on existing fundamental rights.

At the very least, court processes and possible remedies were available even during the tyrannical administration period of Meles Zenawi and at this time too in challenging any form of executive action that limits the fundamental rights of citizens on the basis of ethnic identity. The Ethiopian Courts were not approached and not even a single time to stop such ethnic cleansing, rather the focus was on political agitation and demonstrations—a far less effective method of political struggle. The Diaspora politicians in the United States are witnesses to the legal process in this country. None I know of advocated to use the Ethiopian Courts for safeguarding human and democratic rights of Ethiopian citizens. There were few instances where some political parties in Ethiopia had tried to use the Ethiopian Courts to get some injunctive relief and/or declaratory judgment on specific party organization conflicts. It has not worked that well in those limited instances. We must not be discouraged by temporary failures, for we need to focus on the prize.

Let us not undermine the power of courts. The American Courts changed both the social and political life in America for disfranchised and discriminated minorities through individual court decisions. The American Courts started out by declaring that the African slaves as “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect” in Dred Scott case, 1857, and so stated Chief Justice Taney writing for the majority. In that opinion, Dred Scott was excluded from the Declaration of Independence/the Constitution. After forty years the Court progressed to saying “separate but equal” in Plessy v. Ferguson case, 1896; finally, sixty years later, the Court acknowledged that separate treatment is unequal treatment implying the equality of all races in Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, and reversed Plessy v. Ferguson case. The process lasted for over a century and is still going on. Nevertheless, in this long saga, we witnessed some landmark achievements in the decisions of the United States Courts affecting the political and social life of the United States, such as putting a black man as President of the United States. This form of evolutionary change should be acknowledged by a number of Diaspora Ethiopians and others who espouse revolutionary changes to reconsider their bellicose attitudes.

I know that Ethiopian courts are not to the same extent as independent from the clutches of the executive power as courts are free here in the United States. However, we must understand that even the Courts by themselves in the United States would not have been successful in ensuring individual rights without the presence of the vigorous American press and media. There is no comparable vigorous press or media in Ethiopia due to the Ethiopian Government’s suppression of freedom of speech and the press.

I just read the Press Release of the Melaw Amara political party on the recent disaster in Ambo and other grievances in Amhara and Oromo Kilils. The Press Release is short and to the point. Such political statement is appropriate response to the Ethiopian Government’s repressive measures against the Ambo demonstrators. One grievances pointed out in the Press Release about the mistreatment of Ethiopian citizens and the evacuation of individuals by force is premised on the absence of fair and equal treatment of all in similar circumstances. Nothing incenses Ethiopians as much as unequal treatment of individuals in the same situation. I believe what the political organization is rightfully demanding in its Press Release for equal treatment is not obstructionist, anti-development, or anti proper urban planning. The Ethiopian Government is being challenged on a principle of law and good governance. The next step is to file a case on behalf of the Ethiopians who are affected by the eviction.

There was also another declaratory statement from Andenet Party challenging the statuesque by pointing out the numerous repressive measures taken by the current Ethiopian Government. These pronouncements are fine with me, but I want to see practical actions such as using the Courts by bringing real cases in controversy and there by formally entering legal actions into the record. One need not be satisfied by demonstrating grievances, but need to follow through with practical action such as getting cases of individuals or group of individuals through the court system.

I urge the Ethiopian legal associations (bars) in Ethiopia to take up such cases on pro bono basis as a matter of civic duty. It is also advisable to establish a form of corporate structure for such legal team for efficiency and defense against any governmental interference. The Ethiopian Diaspora can play key role in this type of structured protest by setting a legal fund that could be used to finance such law suits against governmental trespasses. Other activities of demonstrations and political agitation will continue as well. At any rate, a word of caution: do not destroy a political or economic system unless you have something to replace it with.

Conclusion: Evolution and not Revolution

It is true that incredible growth in education, health care, road construction, dam buildings et cetera in Ethiopia for the last ten years is a matter of public record; such growth is being registered by international observers in several respectable publications. Some friends who visited Addis Ababa, Awasa and a few other regional urban centers have told me that the change from a decade ago is beyond comprehension. What these visitors emphasized to me was not just only the obvious physical construction boom but also the enormous changes in attitude of the many young people they talked to and observed in the daily activities of young Ethiopians who seem to have enormous energy, optimism, and “can do” self-confidence.

However, no one can deny the fact that Ethiopia is under a government system that is far from being democratic, respectful of individual rights, or free from corruption. As a matter of fact, we can draw a long laundry list of violations of both human and democratic rights of Ethiopians by the Government of Ethiopia. At times such violations defy any rational and are difficult to understand or explain. Those same friends who visited Addis et cetera have also informed me about the appalling poverty and the great suffering of hundreds of thousands of people, often families with children, that they witnessed especially in Addis Ababa despite the fact billions of birr is spent in that particular city.

I just wonder how far civil unrest and public demonstrations can change the existing political situation in Ethiopia. May be we should consider alternative method of struggle in addition to demonstrations. I have suggested earlier filing cases in the courts of Ethiopia on behalf of aggrieved Ethiopians for any number of violations committed by the Ethiopian Government. Consider the recent conviction of a Red Terror participant by a United States Court

The other day, I was reading Prof Gary Gerstle article “The Resilient Power of the States Across the Long Nineteenth Century: An Inquiry into a Pattern of American Governance,” a highly illuminating work for our discourse. Despite the fact that the world seems to be run by stupidity and irrational pursuit of power and dominance [main theme of the scholar cited herein]. Reading such articles reminds me that even the United States is not that safe from reversal of history collapsing back into colonial racist society of its origin. I believe the pillars that are holding up society and saving it from inertial collapse are the silent working people, teachers and parents, and religious leaders. This means there is room for rational discourse.

This brief essay is meant to open discourse on specific topics, such as the topic of the use of the Ethiopian Courts to effect change, the topic of the necessity of revisiting the 1995 Constitution (Amharic version), the topic of reconsidering the concepts of federalism and unitary-states. By no means this essay can it be definitive on any level. We also see that our country/Ethiopia seems to be rudderless, for we are often confronted with contradictory messages from different Government officials. There seem to be several political power bases, having internal struggles, and each acting on its own with no coordination. The recent demonstration of Ambo University students resulting in massive property damage and loss of life (due to overreaction of the Government’s security forces) and the clumsy explanations offered by the government officials in the aftermath clearly show that there is a major disconnect between the top leadership and the state administrators.


Tecola W. Hagos
May 30, 2014
Washington DC

  1. Alem
    | #1

    Tecola is back preaching on how to “use the future to change the present.” In other words, defer your wants, hope is on the way, trust the ruling minority. There are glitches obviously but there are remarkable achievements [such as the hydro-dam]. Water and power shortages, soaring food prices, jobless “growth”, suppression of press freedom, expanding jail system, politicized and dysfunctional judiciary, exodus of tens of thousands of youths and robbing state treasury and pocketing aid money is a temporary thing. “Temporary” in the sense of a brief 23 years period. Meles was the problem; he is gone. “EPRDF was manipulated, coerced, blackmailed by a single individual and his close associates to carry out unconstitutional acts of ethnic cleansing dehumanizing Ethiopian citizens contrary to the very Constitution sponsored and incubated by EPRDF.” It is all EPRDF and NOT TPLF. Now that Meles is gone his “close associates” [Sebhat Nega, Abay Tsehaye, DebreTsion, etc] will begin to function better. [It's OK to laugh!] Don’t make much of the past; it is past. Use the court system. Learn from American experience. Public demonstrations are not going to work. To remove incumbents could be fatal. Look what happened to Ambo University students or to demonstrators post-2005 elections [who by the way were simply protesting the injustice of a state action]; they were all crushed to death. He is warning us any change that is not evolutionary “at this stage will result in catastrophic civil war that will make Somali’s civil war look like a child’s play.” A very interesting remark indeed. And we should take heed because he knows what he is talking about; he was one of the carvers of “ethnic federalism” in the early 1990s. He is still at it in a different way from a different venue.

    What Tecola miserably failed to appreciate is the fact that a nation could have spot-free shell of institutions and yet remain corrupt and fascistic. You can go back 23 years [before Open University UK liberally and for purchase from state treasury] handed out diplomas or check who at present are occupants of state power. In other words, it will not matter if the court system is established so long as Sebhat Nega [holding no political office]could announce over the radio what he plans to do about an issue facing the nation]. You may also want to ask if Tewodros is the best the nation could afford to hold the job at the Foreign Ministry. Or if DebreTsion could/should be over Economy/Finance/Telecom/Security/Power and also be Deputy PM. I could go on. Tecola wants us to believe Hailemariam Desalegn is the Prime Minister without ever addressing why it is Tigrayans [even when inexperienced] who are in key positions of power. This latter point is meant for the general reader and not for Tecola to answer.

    Any one reading Tecola’s article should ask a/ Is this an issue of priority? 2/ Why is Tecola refusing to be accountable to the public [as in not apologizing for making misleading statements or responding to questions pertaining to his credibility? 3/ Is Tecola honest at all with his facts?

    The above article should be titled, Under Cover of Law, Religion, and Darkness.

    PS: Where I agree with Tecola [though for a different reason] is that Diaspora opposition is by and large destructive, vindictive and undemocratic/exclusive – no different from those in power back home.

  2. Konjit Kassa
    | #2

    This article is deep and educational.The writer’s analysis is also great.
    If anyone understand the so called federation the TPLF regime forced upon Ethiopians,the concluding remark is clear,that is,preparing the state
    for separation. Imagine,the ethnic based states don’t even have a common
    working language. Nigeria,Russia,India use English,Russian and Hindi as
    a common working languages,therefore, the intention of the “kellil” form
    is totally different from the mentioned examples of countries with various nations and nationalities that the respective constitutions and leaderships don’t entertain a political ideology of separation.
    Today’s federalism in Ethiopia must be viewed only in relation to the
    TPLF manifesto of creating an independent “tigray” by absorbing piece
    by piece the lands of Afar up to the port of Asseb and the fertile part
    of Gonder and Wello from Amhara. The past 23 years of massive projects construction and infrastructure modernization in Tigray using resources
    from the rest of the country is testimony to the manifestos main agenda.

  3. Teodros Kiros
    | #3

    Dear Professor Tecola Hagos;

    Here you have attended to all the concerns of your avid readers, which I am certain will be appreciated by the reading public. Also, you have now provided us with a strategic vision of correcting the wrongs of our leaders, including the possibly of a civilized regime change, equipped with logical argumentation and legal thinking. Indeed, this land mark article will be remembered as one sustained idea that calls for constitutional evolution leading to a peaceful revolution.

    I for one will use this piece in my philosophy courses to my benefit and the benefit of my creative students at Berklee college and beyond. The topic is also of great relevance to African Ascent, my television program.

    I thank you professor Tecola for the ink that you are pouring to educate us and the world about our great Ethiopia.

  4. woyane is in crisis -politically and financially?
    | #4

    In summary
    A. Main issues missing from your analysis and recommendations:- issue of legitimacy, political space and the determining role of foreign countries in Ethiopian politics.

    B. My comments on your approaches to the issues:
    You are speaking as if we are living in Menilik period. As if people have no knowledge of different issues/options/theories of state formation.

    የደላው ሙቅ ያኝካል type of argument or ጉንጭ አልፋ ክርክር

    In brief Woyane has no legitimacy. It is ethnic-based apartheid and worst of all it selling the country to foreigners. There is no rule of law in Ethiopia. You admitted it your self.

    1. Does political situations in Eth. requires revolution or evolution?

    where is the political space in Ethiopia to debate on any issue. Woyane changed the rule of the game to cheating, threatening, killing, mass imprisonment…

    My recommendations is: read regularly news in Ethiopia from its own supporters- Awramba and Reporter.

    so,the political position one takes is based on which side of the political camp one is standing. You knew it. I know it too. ሑሉም ያውቀዋል

    You may think political situations come with opportunities and challenges. But you should not አልሶ forget the individuals choose their action based on their own situations (situations facing them) and their means.

    There is an Ethiopian saying that could explain my theory better.

    አንዱ ለጋደኛው
    በሬ በጭብጦ ይሸጣልና ገበያ እንውጣ ቢለው
    ጋደኛውም ካልሰረቀ ከየት ያመጣዋል አለ ይባላል

    በአመላለሰሱ የተገረመው ተረቱን ቀየርክው ምነው ድሮ የሚባለው ካላረሰ ነበረ ካልሰረቀ ለምን አልክ አለው?

    ጋደኛውም ወያኔ የሚቸበችበው መረት ካሬ ሜትሩ አንዳንድ ቦታኮ 1 ሚሊዮን ብር ነው
    ድሮ ኮ መንግስት በነጻ ይሰጥ ነበርና አርሰህ ወይም ቤት ስራ ተብሎ ይሰጥሃል

    አሁን ካልሰረቀህ ከየት ታመጣዋለህ
    ወያኔኮ መሬት ቸብቻቢ ነው ታዲያ ፓለቲካቸውን ካልደገፍክ ሚሊዮንም አይበቃም

    In brief, for those political organisation/individuals on the government side it is easier to preach evolution- I mean the ልማታዊ መንግስት አባላት.

    For the rest situations dictates their actions. Imprisonment, harassment, torture, being uprooted from their ancestral lands, killings of their loved ones, hatred campaign by government just becuase they are Amhara or Oromo dictates their decision and actions

    2. State/kilil government and Federalism:

    It is a crap analysis because either you are twisting the issues purposely or you do not know about what is happening in Ethiopia.
    Woyane came to power by the blessings given by the king makers- Western world.

    if you disagree with my statement, then where was the debate on the issues before it was implemented?
    People of Ethiopia have never been given a choice on the issue.

    My question to you:
    Why do always fail in your writings to mention that woyane is backed up by foreign countries who have different interests than Ethiopian people?

    In my view, it is not lack of knowledge by Ethiopians about the different theories available in the world but lack of the power and means to implement it. we are not living in Menelik period.

    Structure is dictated by the wealthy nations to suite their strategic economic and geopolitical interests.

    a. Federalism as structure is not evil thing
    In my view, as you also said it, the fundamental problem is not the structure.It is true that people make noises about the language based federalism. In fact they call it ‘Woyane- federalism’ aimed to benefit one ethnic group.

    People are against what woyane is doing with it to non-Tigrean people.

    People are against woyane-federalism because of lack of justice, freedom, peace, fairness, and stability. They associated the structure with Woyane.

    Who is selling the land in Ethiopia- oromo Killil or Amhara Killi, or Addis Ababa? It is Woayne!!!
    What power do the Killil government have in your athen?
    It is Tigrean hegemony that the Ethiopian people are against.

    it is the corruption of Woyanes that people are against
    it is the unlawful killings by Woyanees that people are against.

    Woyane federalism moves the goal-post a little closer to the public?
    where did you see this?

    b. legitimacy issue
    Woyane has no legitimacy to rule Ethiopia. People are fighting for their right to be represented – to have a say in the the decisions that affect them-to elect a government that represent them.

    3. State Structure [Arts 45-49] and Division of Power [Arts 50-52]

    You made two contradictory points:
    ,…the EPRDF was manipulated, coerced, blackmailed by a single individual and his close associates to carry out unconstitutional acts of ethnic cleansing dehumanizing Ethiopian citizens contrary to the very Constitution sponsored and incubated by EPRDF..,

    ‘..Coming back to the question of ownership of or having subsidiary rights over rural and urban land, I believe the Ethiopian courts have not been tested on such issues of exclusivity, ethnic preferences, evictions, ethnic cleansing et ceter.

    You are saying Melese and his associates are dictators.

    Then in your second point why do you expect courts are free from these people influences?

    4. Using the 1995 constitution
    it is a crap analysis. ለተቀማጭ ሰማይ ቅርቡ ነው.

    ‘…the serious problem we all have is that we do not think purposefully and in practical pursuit of solutions to problems facing us…’

    የደላው ሙቅ ያኝካል

    Your are asking victim to kneel down and beg woyane. Even if they do I do not think there is an end to its demand.

    My analysis:

    Situation dictates ones actions. ኬክ ለምን አይበሉም እንዳለችዋ አይነት ልእልት አንሁን ኬኩም ሲገኝ ነው

  5. Habtamu
    | #5

    Hello Prof: I was your student a few years back in one of your Philosophy courses. You were great inspiration for your students them as you are now, that is what i heard from some friends who are your students now. I have been reading also your blogs and learning a great deal on Ethiopian history and politics. I greatly admire your skill in communicating your thoughts very clearly to your readers. You are a great patriot who always thinking for the best for our motherland Ethiopia. Thank you so very much Prof Tecola Hagos for all your sincere effort. This last article you shared with us is truly a great advice from a very dedicated Ethiopian. I agree with you completely that we must look for peacful change not a revolution. Your idea of using the Ethiopian Courts is a great idea. We will also have a formal record that way. Thank you again for great essays and articles you have shared with us freely.

  6. Tecola W. Hagos
    | #6

    Dear Professor Teodros @#3:
    I am always grateful for your taking time to read my essays and articles carefully even though you have excruciatingly painfully tight schedule of teaching, researching, and writing. I am extremely lucky in having your moral support and appreciation of my thoughts even when I flounder and we see things differently. It saddens me always to think that Ethiopia’s best thinkers and philosophers such as yourself and my good friend Prof Messay Kebede are forced, due to the horrendous political situation at home, to spend the best years of your lives teaching in foreign countries. Even then you have not given up on Ethiopia, for Ethiopia is the center of your intellectual and social life. I witness your numerous articles and several books centering and focusing on Ethiopia. It is not by accident that your fellow professors and your numerous students greatly honor you for your excellence in your pedagogical duties but also for your civic involvements. Thank you my good friend Prof Teodros.
    Tecola W. Hagos

  7. dodo
    | #7

    I think that Tecola not only old but slowly getting senile as well. Only his fellow Tigrean, Teodros is offering him hisusual shallow support. Tecola tells us not to rock the boat because his fellow Tigrens are firmly in power. INSTEAD CHALLENGE IT THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM. How dumb could he be. Ethiopians are struggling to discard FIRST – the Apartied system brought about by the so called “federal Constitution” and bring about the supremacy of individual rights and the rule of law. But the crocked old man is telling us – please, please, don’t do that, because the one most of you hate (but which I secretly love to death) Meles is gone. The remainingTigreans are pure angles, believe me is what Tecola is advising us with his simplistic mind set. Go tell it to Debretsion, Sebhat Nega, Seyum Mesfin, Arkebe, Samora, etc, etc, who are riding a sturdy Trojian Horse called Desalegn (incidentally this PM has the same name as the name of the donkey for whom the TPLF built a statue in Mekele) And you Tecola is forever shouting from the sidelines. The saying is ” the dog barks on behalf of who feeds him” Are you still on the TPLF payroll as others have suggested in response to your other writings(all of which including this one) meant to provoke genuine Ethiopians? I wonder

  8. Ya
    | #8

    Excellent article!

    Pragmatic, rational and far seighted.

    Prof Tecola, please continue to advocate for reformist approach. Your voice is highly valuable in the present political discouse.

    The revolutionaries are driven by vendetta and are more dangerous and reckless than the regime.

    | #9

    ልዕል ኢሉ Alem ከምዝበሎ,

    “PS: Where I agree with Tecola [though for a different reason] is that Diaspora opposition is by and large destructive, vindictive and undemocratic/exclusive – no different from those in power back home.”
    ናይማን = በርግጥም………………………..!

    ከዚያም በላይ, መሬታችንን እንኳን ከተቀማን ሰንብተናል, ግን እንዲሁም ሆኖ በየጭንቅላታችን ውስጥ ተሰግስጎ የሚገኘውን ፊውዳሊዝምን ያውድምልን, ከምኡ’ውን ንፊውዳላዊ ጠባያት ምሽራዋት እንጠሮጦስ የእትወልና:: ኣሜን……!

  10. Boko Haram
    | #10

    I take it all in with disenchanted non-challence. No doubt, the good professor has the best interst of his beloved “ethiopia” in his innermost feelings! Be that as it may, but one admire his passionate addication for self-promtion despite he is being a repellent political figure in Federal Ethiopia. Yes, he has thought me in community college how to switch sides cynically, sell-out eprp,the defunct tplf and the late Meles to benfite one’s cripple soul!Hey, whoever tells you that Ethiopians have no ironic sense of humour is a blatnat lier!Long live Ethiopia without Tecola and his dim-witted enthusiasits.

  11. sam
    | #11

    The Ethiopian courts are not independent of the political power. In fact, when it comes deciding anything tangential to politics, they purely act EPDRF. If the courts are decisively tamed by politicians to act as they wish, why then should we hope they change society evolutionarily? We should not. The example given how the American courts shaped the American society for the better is not applicable in Ethiopia. The American courts are free to interpret the law with no fear of backlash from politicians. It is totally different in Ethiopia. As Techola even acknowledged the media has had a bigger role raising issues which courts should decide. In Ethiopia the free press has been muzzled. And even those journalists who keep writing until they end up in prison do not count the Ethiopian courts as their ally. They consider them as part of the problem. If the evolution Techola believes in cannot be materialized, what other alternatives Ethiopians might entertain? This is the dilemma we Ethiopians found ourselves in. My hope is the opposition parties to produce visionary politicians who could be received by all Ethiopians as leaders. Given the state of the political maturity of the opposition parties that hope might be misplaced. But what other choice do we have?

  12. Dawi
    | #12

    The bottom line for all is the following statement from the Prof:

    [[..It is true that incredible growth in education, health care, road construction, dam buildings et cetera in Ethiopia for the last ten years is a matter of public record; such growth is being registered by international observers in several respectable publications.....the change beyond comprehension.... not just only the obvious physical construction boom... attitude of the many young people .... Ethiopians .... enormous energy, optimism, and “can do” self-confidence...]]

    However, with the same tongue Prof. Tecola felt obligated to possibly appease the Alem’s of the world by denouncing the era of the genius behind the present Ethiopian blessings calling it as “..the tyrannical administration period of Meles Zenawi”. Such contradiction only entertains the opposition to smile as Alem did in following response.

    “..It is all EPRDF and NOT TPLF. Now that Meles is gone his “close associates” [Sebhat Nega, Abay Tsehaye, DebreTsion, etc] will begin to function better. [It's OK to laugh!]..”

    The fact is Meles had to pick the autocratic rules he needed to bring the country this far. HD has to do what he needs to do to take it to the next level or will fail because that is how most developmental state countries are built. Particularly, knowing some Ethiopian opposition politicians are walking around with “little crowns” in their pockets to be used in case they “become kings”, there is little room to play for TPLF/EPRDF if you ask me.

    [[..The Ethiopian Diaspora politicians, in general, seem to favor revolutionary change,..will result in catastrophic civil war that will make Somali’s civil war look like a child’s play..]]

    Let us hope it may not end up “catstrophic” but assuming they favor revolutionary change? C’mon! I would not call those who are mainly interested in a Reaganite market dictatorship or fanaticism as that.

    Having said that, the genius behind the economic portion of Meles’s vision works like this:

    Open up the doors to FDI and let in foreign capital, technology, and management skills, guiding the foreigners to use the country initially as an export base. Create base where manufacturing and distribution sectors fully develop in the nation. The latest opened Alle-is a good example. Give farmers control over their own land, certificate etc. and support the prices of staples etc.

    Do everything you can to lift living standards. Build housing stock for well below the market price. Corporatize as much of the state sector as you can, GERD is a one where folks buy shares to provide a new outlet for savings. But don’t let the central bank off the leash; use it to maintain a hold over the currency exchange rate and other key policy levers. Keep ultimate control over the strategic sectors of the economy; in these include utilities, transportation, telecommunications, finance, and the media. Postpone joining world trade org. as long as you have to.


  13. Dawi
    | #13

    Did I say EPRDF controls “the media?”

    I can’t believe I said that. :) But, who are we kidding yes EPRDF does that. Meles had tried to justify the jamming of the VOA on his Columbia University speech in the past. They are ranked second to Eritrea in jailing “journalists”. And I guess lately they are getting “popular” for jamming several Satellites in the entire region. The last country that did that is said to be Iran.

    The only reason I see they go to such heights of jamming news is their lack of capacity in handling diverse views. More dialoge with opposition shall help things to get better.

    As Alem pointed out what Sebhat Nega [holding no political office] announced over the radio what he plans to do about an issue facing the nation will be a cool thing to start ASAP.

    BTW, what is wrong with old man promising to call those he mentored to go for dialogue with the opposition? :)

  14. aha!
    | #14

    You stipulated in your thesis statements: “… fundamental change in the structure of Ethiopian state (including the social and economic life of Ethiopia) is long over due. One serious consideration that Ethiopians must consider on, sooner or later is whether the fundamental change we all desire should be evolutionary or revolutionary”, obviously in support of ethnic federalism, a prelude to ethnic secessionism, future boundary conflicts, genocide over the Amahras, and an ongoing ethnic cleansing, with no mention of ethnic secessionism and totalitarianism and/or state capitalism as ideologies built into the constitution as emblematic to denying the individual freedom, liberty and equality ahead of ethnic and secessionist rights/freedom and equality. In your narratives you have used the Derg and the HIM haileselassie reign as being evolutionary with centralized government and TPLF/eprdf regime as being revolutionary, where the country’s land mass has been divided by major languages into nine ethnic homelands/Killils, but not states as in case of the original 14 provinces with assorted ethnic groups. The fundamental change has already made and it is inscribed in the constitution and could be ascribed as revolutionary by ex-liberation fronts with EPLF/TPLF as architects of the constitution in terms of oppression of nations and nationalities, which erroneous to include ANDEM as a double edge sword to the silent majority of Ethiopians, the silent majority of Ethiopians would opt for the evolutionary process that of the previous regimes, which maintained the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, where the last item refers from constitutional stand point individual rights to have precedence over ethnic and secessionist rights. The call from that point of view is to focus on Ethiopiawinet before once ethnicity with due regard to ones citizenship to Ethiopia, to have ones loyalty to silent majority of Ethiopians, the taxpayers by which the elites are nurtured and educated, rather the parties one supports, but not make a choice between the evolutionary or revolutionary but to align onself with the positive forces of integration for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia to counterbalance the negative forces of disintegration with ethnic agenda of TPLF/epdf and its mirror images in order to crate a democratic government with individual rights at the center of the constitution. Ethiopians had an option of Constitutional Monarchy, where fundamental changes by means of democratic rather than socialistic revolution, and if democratic revolution replaced the evolutionary process of the past, I would not doubt the revolutionary out come that produced ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism would have chance to serve as catalyst for the perpetration of humanitarian, economic, political and environmental crises to the silent majority of Ethiopians by the TPLF/eprdf regime.

  15. aha!
    | #15

    Coupled with its crony capitalism by TPLF/political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises, Cadres, and foreign corporations particularly in terms of agro industries make the TPLF/eprdf regime, master of divide and rule as the colonialist Italy, the totalitarian economic model of the Derg regime, and economic and political strangle hold of ex-apartheid regime of South Africa, where in Ethiopia it is combined with the denial of private land ownership of land ownership anywhere in Ethiopia to the silent majority of Ethiopians as one of the means of production.

  16. aha!
    | #16

    Contrary to your narratives, you try to make us believe in your conclusion the current economic model undertaken by the above mentioned entities with the combined ideologies of ethnic federalism and secessionism is evolutionary rather than revolutionary based on ethnic agenda rather than national agenda. In the absence of independent branches of government you want us to believe justice will be served through the Judiciary and democracy a rule by the people for the people and of the people can be super imposed on the current ethnic rule/ethno cracy minority now and possibly majority in the future of ethnic dictatorship. Where in the donor countries or in East Asian countries this kind of government exists, which it is trying to emulate instead of the emulating the USA constitution the major donor nation.

  17. tezera feyisa
    | #17

    Tekola is not going to change but he should not be allowed to have a free ride. Keep up guys!!!!

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