My humble suggestion to Zenawi – By yilma bekele
I read on Walta, the Government official web site that the Ethiopian Prime Minster held a ‘discussion with various Trade Unions’ in Addis Ababa. Discussion is always good. Walta does not list the Trade Unions involved in this discussion. May be it is because in today’s Ethiopia it really does not matter. All Trade Unions are organized by and are accountable to the government. Free and independent association of any kind is not tolerated in Ethiopia. The government is the official ‘baby sitter’ of the country. The old adage ‘children can be seen but not heard’ is the guiding principle of the theory of ‘revolutionary democracy’ being constructed in Ethiopia. (more…)
I read on Walta, the Government official web site that the Ethiopian Prime Minster held a ‘discussion with various Trade Unions’ in Addis Ababa. Discussion is always good. Walta does not list the Trade Unions involved in this discussion. May be it is because in today’s Ethiopia it really does not matter. All Trade Unions are organized by and are accountable to the government. Free and independent association of any kind is not tolerated in Ethiopia. The government is the official ‘baby sitter’ of the country. The old adage ‘children can be seen but not heard’ is the guiding principle of the theory of ‘revolutionary democracy’ being constructed in Ethiopia.
The Walta report is very skimpy on details. I have no idea if the reporter was in the meeting or if he was writing from a press release. The report is not written to inform and clarify. When you are done reading it you are back to where you started. There was nothing there. There was no need for the ‘discussion’ if nothing came out of it. At the end there was no new solution, there was no new light on the old problem and there was no ‘press release’ or interview with any of the participants. If you ask me someone who was not even there wrote it. Aiga is a strong suspect. You can tell it is cadre type of writing, most probably trained under the Derg.
To highlight what the PM said according to Walta:
• the government has no other urgent agenda than issues connected with bringing down the sky rocketing cost of living in the country.
• the government of Ethiopia, in collaboration with various stakeholders, has been taking various measures and exerting effort to prevent the rising cost of consumer goods.
• the government would step up its efforts of preventing the rising cost of living until the nation assumes a position to combat the problem by registering development.
• that improving the income of the public through speeding up the overall development of the country is the strategy set by the government.
See what I mean, there is no beef here. Just a bunch of declarations. The problem of the ‘sky rocketing cost of living’ (the 22-28% inflation) is acknowledged, but there was no solution suggested. The food shortage is not even mentioned. Is it too much to ask what the discussion is about? And why was it necessary to call on these loyal labor leaders to sit and listen to their leader? What input is expected from people whose job security depends on the generosity of the government? The report also says:
‘The government alone would not become effective in the prevention and control of the price hike, Meles underscored, and noted that the entire public should actively join hands towards the same cause.’
I will take you up on that offer. I know the government does not listen to the voices of others especially to a member of the ‘vocal Diaspora’. But you asked for it. What the heck I will put in my 2 cents worth. It is common knowledge that the government can only fulfill about 62% of its budgetary needs. The rest comes from foreign governments, International Organizations, NGO’s, and grants. That is not good. In life there is no such thing as ‘free lunch’. Everybody wants something back. And most of all it is not good for the ‘national ego.’ To be on welfare is never good. First thing we got to be is self-sufficient. If the belly is not full the mind does not function. You got to take care of the belly.
This little matter of the ‘government ownership of land’ does not seem to work. Communal farming has been tried. It is abandoned. No exception. Land is a very important use it wisely. Using it for control is short sighted. Jettison that policy in a New York minute. Let us see some real farming using tractors, combine harvesters better seed selection and get ready to feed 75 million people, not some basketball field plot of land using picks and shovels.
Experience has shown the ‘Government’ is not efficient in most enterprises. For example there is no need for ‘Ministry of Information’. Why waste millions of dollars telling people what they already know. There are lots of entrepreneurs who are very happy to pay the government for bandwidth and satisfy the ‘information’ need of the population. It is a win-win situation. You save money by eliminating parasite and make money for real government work such as education, defense and health care.
I will also get rid of the telephone company. The World Wide Web is controlled and run by a bunch of private companies with a governing body accountable to the public. I am sure we can trust the Ethiopian telephone and web service to private owners with the appropriate safeguards to protect the public interest. It is also another income to balance the budget. More users mean more income.
I will definitely eliminate the ‘internal security’ apparatus. Free people do not need watching. These individuals can be re trained to be in the private security business with government approved ‘therapy sessions’ to wean them from illegal activity addiction.
I will definitely revamp both the ‘Foreign Service’ and ‘Defense Department.’ No need to rehash the past. Suffice to say, they have not served our country well. The return of our soldiers from the ill conceived invasion of Somalia is a big saving both in lives of our citizens and the millions of dollars spent daily. We should make a pledge never to
Cross our boarder in anger. I will find a way to talk to our neighbors to the North. Children of the same mother should be allies not enemies. This uncontrollable impulse to strike in all directions got to stop.
I saw an ad in our local paper by some group and it says ‘ the most important asset of Israel is the brain power of its people’. How true. A country cannot grow by migrating its best and brightest. It is very sad that some US cities have more Ethiopian Doctors than Ethiopia itself. We have to follow the examples of India, Israel, and Singapore to attract and accommodate these future hopes of our country. The Diaspora should be a source of strength rather than derision.
I believe I have said enough. I am sure there are a lot of people who given the chance will contribute more. There is nothing like open discussion to get to the root of a problem and come up with unique answers. There is nothing refreshing as a free discussion with no one fearing retribution and coercion. Discussion pre supposes that we are all equal, we have various levels of understanding and we mean good. Based on this I hope you hold more discussion with other members of the society. I look forward to more reports, but get rid of Walta please. The private web sites are better at this sort of stuff.
To read the report on Walta and cry go to: (http://www.aigaforum.com/ena_meles_meeting_042908.htm)