Today: June 18, 2024

The Horn of Africa States The Opposition Parties

February 3, 2023

By Dr. Suleiman Walhad
February 2nd, 2023

It is often said that change of leadership or a ruling party or ruling group is not a condition for democracy. However, change is desirable, in general. It is the nature of man to look for something new. Many opposition parties, at least in Africa, believe that change of leadership or a ruling party is a must, and it is where the wrong foundation of a country’s governance system, is rooted. We do not see ruling parties in Europe being labeled as dictators when, for example, the Conservative Party in the UK, wins again and again in the United Kingdom. It is not labeled as dictatorship party and the opposition is labeled as terrorists. When a ruling party wins and wins again and again, in Africa, it often attracts the notion of it being a dictatorship, even though it may be just a normal phenomenon. Nevertheless, in Africa, there are those, who by hook and crook, stay in power through malevolent processes.

The process of electoral results depends not only on the process of electioneering in Africa. Other factors play roles such as the tribe and/or the clan, for clans usually have one chief political officer and if a clan is larger than others, its leaders overstay much longer than is necessary. Tribal/clan chiefs are not replaced regularly. They are often mini-kings, and it is where competency and skills fail, for a tribe can throne the worst among them, simply because he or she may have more money or maybe more cunning than others or it may be based on inheritence. It is where opposition leaders wrongly label ruling parties as dictators. They do not know that this could be as normal as it can be, where the struggle for justice, freedoms and for power is as old as humanity itself, in all times. Labeling of rulers is chosen by people. They can be kings, dictators, republicans or whatever.

Another factor that derails the motive of opposition parties in Africa is that they believe everything the governing system, or the ruling party does, is wrong and is motivated by the desire to stay longer as rulers. One would often notice an opposition party commenting on simple issues like the building of a school in a place or a hospital in a district that another district has been ignored. One would also notice opposition parties always commenting that a ruling party has erred and erred from the day they assumed power to probably their last day in power. They would have done nothing throughout a four or five or longer period in time, they were in control, in a country!

Opposition parties never discuss their agenda for the country in terms what they can do on the economic front or the social fron or on education or health and what else they could do better than the ruling party and the how? They spend most of their time criticizing the ruling party, only presenting where the ruling party has erred, in their eyes, whether they are justified in this respect or not. Opposition parties, indeed, present themselves as future dictators. They cannot practice democracy for the nation when they cannot even practice it within their own parties, for one often sees the same party leader in an opposition party until he or she collapses, or some other calamity occurs or he or she becomes the next leader of the country.

Many opposition parties respond more to interests of others instead of the needs of their country and its people. They may be enticed through diplomatic paychecks or other promises, and this often irks citizens of the country, who may keep the ruling party ruling and keep the opposition at bay. Many opposition parties appeal for support from foreigners in the belief that they would help them come back to be the rulers of a country. They would bring in excuses as become normal issues of human rights and ill-proven wrongs done by the ruling party. It is how some opposition parties in a country are organized by foreign parties to protect their interests in that country.

What do the citizens of a country need? Any citizen in any country would want to live in peace and be economically comfortable and ruling parties should be able to deliver the needs of the people to the best of their ability. The opposition should not be organized to destroy everything the ruling party does but to correct them, should they err, and show them the right way, and if necessary, when elections come show the right path to the citizens for them to be elected, in the place of the ruling party.

Opposition parties that take over from ruling parties in Africa often spend most of their time undoing what the previous ruling party did, instead of adding on to the good things that was left behind. This not only stagnates a country’s developmental process but pulls it down.

In the Horn of Africa States, opposition parties are not organized on ideological basis but on tribal/ethnic basis. Sometimes when one would ask oneself should these countries exist in the first place if the tribes and clans cannot live together or is it the leader class that have not risen beyond the tribe/clan. How does a person with the highest credentials from such famed institutions such as Harvard or Oxford or the Sorbonne or Miguel still think and act like a simpleton farmer or a camel herder in the rural countryside of the Horn of Africa States?

Why would a rich culture, such as the Horn of Africa States citizen owns, run after meager bribes from parties that do not have his/her best interest at heart? And why would a history as old as humanity itself be still embroiled in minor issues that have no relevance to life and lovies of people and whole countries? Why do they serve the others, who wants to squeeze every country in the region into a corner alone and unaided by its neighbors, when in need?

Destabilization of the Horn of Africa today is the result of the tribal/clan phenomenon which is being blown to bigger proportions by the foreigners who want to keep the region as instable and as distracted as it can be. The fault lines in the region appear to be expanding instead of narrowing as opposition groups insist of removal of ruling parties from power, no matter what. There are no ideological motives driving them, but simply the tribe and/or clan. They do not even give them a chance to breathe when a new group takes over as the vanquished starts the same process which removed them from power against the new rulers.

The Horn of Africa States comprising of the SEED countries (Somlaia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti) would be better off supporting each other instead of undermining each other or joining other irrelevant conglomerations. The opposition parties should not destroy their countries through seeking the support of others who have no interest in the region moving away from the violence and the resultant economic discomforts. A policy of accommodation between the ruling parties and the opposition should be instituted in the region, whereby the ruling parties walk away from the fear of the opposition and the opposition parties abandon this clannish/ethnic stain of their opposition to ensure that unabused rule of law sways power and authority in the land. It is the only way forward. Tribal/clan calling by elites only compound disorder in the region and it is high time that the ruling parties and opposition groups worked together for the good of the region and its people.

The battle for true citizenship continues in the region and in Africa in general, and this would continue even in this digital age and its is, perhaps time, the regional politicians revisited the natural co-operation and natural equality of people in the face of the clamities facing the region. The microchip management of leaders stain the works of many, and integrated Horn of Africa region where there is no one tribe/clan domination but the vote across the vast spaces underpinned by an agreed constitutional framework would be most helpful for the region.


Dr. Suleiman Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at suleimanwalhad@yahoo.com

1 Comment

  1. Abiy Ahmed, multi degree murderer, is behaving and speaking better than Neftegna Bishops of EOTC who are not willing to reconcile and stop inciting violence.These bishops are eager to wage war on their own laity if they don’t occupy Oromiyaa.

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