By Zelalem Eshete, Ph.D.
This is an independent voice of what I think are the silent Ethiopians. It is a voice lost in the wilderness of the political commotion. Granted, the voice is well known by all and yet seldom listened to at the same time. The question is directed primarily to the players in our political system – our leaders in both camps. What is the truth and who can handle the truth? I attempt to write the truth with love in my heart. It’s the love that makes the truth work. If you think my writing is not articulating a fact, I am here to learn. If you confirm it is the truth, why not handle the truth sooner than later? The tragedy is to keep being oblivious to the conspicuous and inconvenient truth.
The One Thing for the opposition leaders …
The one thing we aspire to see you do is for you to stand united. It is perplexing to notice TPLF birthing a united EPRDF, transferring power peacefully to the new generation, and finding it possible to stand behind a single leader not once but twice; whereas, you cannot even maintain a semblance of unity – even in a vacuum. Every time you are criticizing the governing party’s failure to honor the will of the people, please remember that you are not doing a better job yourself either, since you too are giving a deaf ear to the will of the people on your end. The beauty in your struggle doesn’t lie in your capacity to assume power, but in your ability to listen to the will of the people and stand united. Please don’t tell us it is impossible to form a single united major opposition front with a unified platform, and a clear leader. The real power to change Ethiopia is not found in lobbying the West or giving out orders to the governing party, but in your ability to secure private victory first and foremost.
You can change that. Imagine you stop calling the people to meetings here and there and for once call yourselves to a meeting of your own with a mandate to birth a united front. You have the intelligence and character to produce such a dream act if you accept the reality that the status quo is just a waste of Ethiopia’s precious time. It is absurd how you put your lives on the line time and time again, but do not opt for the road less travelled that makes your sacrifice purposeful.
The One Thing for the governing party leaders …
The one thing we dream to see you do is make it real when it comes to fostering democracy in our land. We see the governing party has 99.6% of the seats presently. We cannot grasp why you consider this result a victory when there is no fair and free playing field on the ground for all. You dispute human rights violations, the case of prisoners of conscious, and the rigging of votes. However, you don’t dispute that you want to build democracy when the only voice broadcasted in the Ethiopian media (TV, Radio) is yours alone. Where is the progress when the Ethiopian media is 100% under your control up to this date with no intention to share it with the opposition? How could we discuss the realism of democracy in Ethiopia when even such uncontested question is unanswered?
You can change that too. You already made history now and it is only fitting for you to take the initiative to usher in real democracy in Ethiopia. You do that, not in response to the pressure from the opposition or the West, but because you find it unbecoming of a history maker to do anything less. We admire your vision to transform Ethiopia’s economy in a time frame of a decade. It is time that you also commit even more to transforming Ethiopia’s democracy in a time frame of 3 years to make the next election a real one.