Ethiopia: Reconciliation Pyramid
Zelalem Eshete, Ph.D.
How could the new Ethiopia be realized? The most travelled way is to start working from the top down: focus to change the government using ineffective methods. I argue, however, the right approach is to be able to work in parallel with the driving force dictated from the bottom up. The opposition may ignore the charge of the government against the opposition on the basis of fairness. However, I believe the opposition needs to pause from listening to only its own music and give serious consideration to this independent voice. It does Ethiopia good.
Reconciliation of the people of Ethiopia
We have a Messiah complex. We think we need to save the Ethiopian people. We want to be the hero that comes in and rescues the people. That is why we get to the extent of armed struggle to topple the government.
I beg to differ. The Ethiopian people are the hero. No one can stand in away when the people rise up and attend to the care of Ethiopia. The question at hand should be, first to deal with the ethnic tension that is prevalent on the ground. There is an identity crisis and the people are not speaking the same language. I discussed this problem in my previous article entitled: “Ethiopia: Proposal for Reconciliation”. That is where we should direct our primary effort as the groundwork for the new Ethiopia. As the well-known saying puts it: united we stand, divided we fall.
Reconciliation of the opposition group
Ethiopia needs an alternative voice to get things working right. However, I think the leadership crisis in the opposition is more alarming than the one we see in the government. I say this because; there is no clear leadership in the opposition camp that can take over power if the present government is gone today. The opposition thinks of unity when election is around the corner. Much has been said on this topic and nothing seems to be fruitful in the past couple of decades. I believe there are two reasons: (1) the groundwork of unifying the people that I discussed above is not given a priority to which they would have been accountable; (2) the opposition doesn’t make its personal victory in terms of being united on a common platform as the first agenda. The first agenda on the list of the opposition is removing the government. It is this value system that urges the opposition to forgo its own responsibility to stand united in cohesive manner and instead attack the government by all means in vain so far. The opposition may blame the government for everything, but it should at least take full responsibility for its own existence and operation. Only then the opposition can overcome the challenges and become a force to be reckoned with in the betterment of Ethiopia.
Reconciliation on a National level (including the government)
When the above two components of reconciliation are addressed, then this last phase becomes achievable. But the trend now is to forfeit doing the first two and ask the government to come to the table for reconciliation. How can this be? Only when there is a viable alternative force that is backed by unity in action than the usual mere lecture, that the government can no longer ignore but consider the other as equal. Such groundwork puts all the players at the same “people power”, since having the military power couldn’t be an edge in light of “people power”. Then Ethiopia would be bestowed with constructive democratic governance where the best ideas win through the process of winning together.
Dr. Zelalem Eshete may be reached at: one@EthioFamily.com