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We the People: The United States of Ethiopia

A Country in Search of a United Broad Based Property Owning Ruling Class (1855-20..)

By Ephrem Asebe 

 

Summary

For more than three decades, Ethiopia, one of the great enduring civilization states in the world has been under assault by ethnic entrepreneurs intent on primitive accumulation and  creating an independent state. Just as cancer survives by sapping the resource of its host, so too ethnic entrepreneurs survive by siphoning economic surplus and destroying body politics of a nation. The policies indicated herein, if implemented will weaken the ethnic entrepreneurs that are novo rich without any value addition to the economy and eroding the dignity of labor in society. At the same time, restoring the functioning of the political economy through appropriate incentives and institutional reforms will enhance the development of a united broad based productive entrepreneurs of all ethnics. To these ends, the paper focuses on seven urgent and important policy actions designed to create united broad based productive entrepreneurs: (1) immediate decentralization of the kilil administrative structure by converting the zones into states as a basis of creating an Ethiopia Federal Republic of 68 states(equal to the present no. of zones); (2) sell rural and urban land to the people who have legally right via long term loans thereby create a basis of citizenship and a source of finance for infrastructure development;  (3) reform the financial system and establish stock exchange that binds together the propertied class and citizens through investments, (4) develop human capability with imagination and problem solving capacity on the basis of sound nutrition led development strategy; (5) legislate interstate commerce to establish standard languages for contracts for use throughout the country; (6) rectify false narratives particularly related to the Amhara People;  (7) adopt a constitution – We the People -that reflects the democratic unity of the propertied ruling class and hence of all the people of the civilization state-Ethiopia. These policies when implemented will have the following impacts and benefits: (1) existing inter-kilil conflicts resolved. (2) most intra-Kilil conflicts resolved; (3) favorable spatial and political-economy conditions for united broad based property owning class created; (4) improved service delivery due to proximity of state capitals to the people achieved; (5) potential conflicts arising from the oligopoly nature of the current killil administration structure of Amhara-Oromo kilil which form 65% of the total population minimized; (6) all rounded service delivery improved; (7) productivity improved; (8) increased employment generated; (9) improved foreign exchange earnings and spatial allocation of foreign reserves achieved; (10) income gap between the ruling elites and the common people narrowed; (11) citizens become owners of land through long-term loans, thereby generating sound base for financing physical and social Infrastructure; (12) productive entrepreneurs unity consolidated though its chamber of commerce and have a say on long-term development plans of the nation with equal status of a cabinet member of the government; (13)  productive entrepreneurs, the Federal and states jointly raise investment in line with mixed economic policy;  (14) allow the flow of commerce through a standard contract for transactions; (15) develop human capital through nutrition led strategy particularly in rural areas; (16) rectify false narratives; and (17) we the people – adapt the constitution that reflects these and other reforms ideas

  • The Current State of the Civilization State, Ethiopia.

You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it .

Albert Einstein

This paper suggests a road less travelled. It introduces political economy concepts to help us think through, visualize, reimagine and chart a common future.  A central theme of the paper is that: ‘much of regional, ethnic or religious conflicts of elite groups arose (1) out of a desire to be genuinely incorporated as member of the ruling class; (2) to amass wealth through primitive accumulation as ethnic entrepreneurs; or (3) to form an independent state outside the civilization state ’. Hence, it is seen as important to strengthen the unity of those who want to remain in the union or thwarts the ambitions of those ethnic entrepreneurs and separatists for the Civilization State to endure.

 

Creating political, legal and institutional policy environment is seen as important instrument for the development of a united broad based propertied ruling class that has genuine roots in society.  It  remains a strategy sine quo non for sustainable development and creation of peaceful order. Thus, the paper focuses on (1) describing the current state of the society under the Prosperity Party, (2) identify the problems associated in creating a united broad based property owning class, (3) identify seven urgent and important policy pillars to enhance a united broad based entrepreneurs class, (4) suggest policy actions for each of the seven pillars and (5) finally summarize the potential impacts and benefits of the policies when implemented.

 

Some may ask why the focus on the unity of the propertied business class also called productive entrepreneurs? why not focus on the unity of individuals: the politicians, the elites, the artists, or institutions:  parties, the army, the teacher association, the labor union, etc. as a solution to resolving the ever growing national problems?

 

The choice of the productive entrepreneurs is based on their relations to wealth creation.  According to compressive national wealth accounting, produce (GDP), natural capital (ecosystem), human capital and intangible wealth constitute the wealth of a nation. National domestic product (GDP) is generated when productive entrepreneurs bring together land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship. Thus, business class or propertied entrepreneurs control the productive wealth of the nation and directly control the content and direction of surplus value creation; create jobs, pay taxes, etc. On the other hand ethnic entrepreneurs are not related to wealth creation but focus on siphoning the surplus produced by the productive entrepreneurs together with the laboring masses. The ethnic entrepreneurs usually recycle the surplus they siphon in the domestic market or export it to foreign banks. They pay no taxes and live in the shadow of the laws of the country.

 

The productive entrepreneurs’ unity is essential to social and economic progress. Through innovation, competitions and cooperation they reduce costs of production, cost of living, enhance national competitiveness, help increase national foreign reserves.

 

The ethnic entrepreneurs main article in trade are “narratives”, often false statements that divide the productive entrepreneurs’ market, and resources thereby weakening the solidarity of the productive entrepreneurs. Ethnic entrepreneurs create bureaucratic road blocks to siphon the wealth created, increase the cost of production, cost of distribution, cost of living, distort the direction of flow of goods in the economy. They hinder innovation, create social crises and uncertainty. Ethnic entrepreneurs understanding of their own society and the people’s values generally no more deeper than a foreigner. They may have degrees and hold public office but these degrees may have been bought from some shadow universities.

 

Generally, ethnic entrepreneurs come to the political scene by propagating extreme ethnic positions. Their extreme ideological positions allow them to enter high social network circles in short time. They often claim knowledge or skill that their age and/or experience does not reflect to gain high social status. However, to maintain their newly acquired social status, they need high income. They may cry foul on some aspect of the wealth production and distribution cycle or in the distribution of ownership of factors of production such as land, labor, capital or entrepreneurship.  This may land them a bureaucratic position to manage, monitor or distribute domestic produce or imported and exported goods or service delivery in a bureaucracy. In the domestic economy, they may engineer a situation that create shortage and take advantage of the shortage. In import and export sector, they may use their position to declare imports or exports as illegal and take the goods or ask payment to release the goods.  Soon, they accumulate significant wealth that they did not pay taxes on and these worry them. So they may create some form of partnership with a domestic and/or foreign agents to recycle the wealth to appear legitimate. Since, they have no record of taxes paid to the state, any one can expose them. When exposed, their defense is their ethnicity, not their misdeed or theft.

 

People who follow development at world scale observe that the next 10 to 15 years the world will undergo great transformation, if it can manage peaceful transition. Like the 1920s, where developments in electricity, motor vehicle, telecommunication jointly transform the world; the 2020s will see transformations where major revolutionary discoveries have occurred.  The technological revolution in energy/solar/wind, transportation, information, food, biotech and materials will significantly reduced the cost of goods and services with significant cost of living reduction. The blessings of technological revolution will be a curse so long ethnic entrepreneurs dominate social relations.

 

Going forward we assume mixed economy as our framework for economic policy discussion. In principle, in a mixed economy, the private and the state jointly invest and hold share ownership in corporation. The private sector ownership in the national economy may take the legal form of sole proprietorship, partnership or shares ownership in corporations. Within this political economic policy framework, the constitution shall ensure the rights of individuals to own properties, save, invest and accumulate capital and engage in legitimate business.

 

Corporation are established by laws and monitored by the state. It is expected to engage in activities considered legitimate and perform as per its bylaws. As per mixed economic policy, the commercial laws allow the private sector, the federal and the state governments to invest along side. The joint ownership remain until the company become profitable for 5 to 10 years. After that the federal and the state governments sell their shares to the citizens and recycle the investment fund to yet another national priority, geographic area, industry or sector.

 

The country is facing all rounded generalized crises which are deepening. Prime Minister (PM) Abiye came to power, with overwhelming support of the population with National and Pan-African worldview, promising a brighter future and social harmony. He failed because he tried to ‘solve the problems with the same thinking of his predecessors used when creating them- separate and unequal ethnic rule with a hidden agenda of a creating Kush Empire in place of the TPLF’s Greater Tigray.

 

The promises of the Prosperity Party (PP) of reform government have failed to be realized. For all practical purposes the PP has become Oromo PP. ‘TPLF created EPRDF to serve TPLF, and PP was designed to serve Oromo PP’. To date, PP actions have proved to be an instrument in the service of Oromo PP. Hence PP is Oromo PP for all practical purposes

 

Oromo PP and its government suffer from a distorted vision of the real world. Thus, the Oromo PP and its government members have lost their mental capacity to address rationally any of the social, political, economic, and security issues the country. Judging from their public pronouncements, it is not even clear that they are aware that the country they rule is rapidly turning into failed state.  Its international standing in the community of nations is undermined. What disturb most observers is that the Prime Minister neither shows no remorse nor awareness regarding events affecting the condition of the people nor the reality of country. In his own words, he still wants to use the last penny of “USD 10 billion capital budget of the country” to continue war with Amhara Fano and stay in power.

 

Social and cultural crises. The fabric of the society is extremely fragile. Today, a fifth of the total population of the country, some 25 million people are facing near famine situation. Over 3 million ethnically cleansed productive farmers and urban dwellers, mostly Amhara, are scattered in camps in an unhealthy condition with no basic services. Most of the educational and health facilities and other physical infrastructure have been destroyed in the four war regions: Afar, Amhara, Oromia and Tigray, where nearly 75% of the population live.  Significant share of the students are not attending schools and universities. Medicine and health services are not adequately available. The youth unemployment is rising. Many politicians, members of national and regional parliaments, scholars and other individuals are imprisoned. Even business men’s accesses to bank credits are restricted and their cash movements put under surveillance on account of the businessmen’s/ women’s ethnic affiliation. Travels outside the country of individuals, including members of Abiye’s senior officers, are restricted. Religious freedom, especially of the Orthodox faith are under duress. One of the Apostol’s of Orommumma, Ato Shimeles Abdisa, President of Oromia, advocated even abolishing Judeo-Christian and Islamic names of individuals.

 

Economic crises. The economic crisis is accelerating. Urban unemployment is rising. Food is scarce. Commodity prices are high and inflation is accelerating. Factories are not having both domestic and imported inputs. In Amhara region, a surplus food producing region, farmers did not get fertilizer during the farming seasons as a form of punishments. What a morbid thinking!

 

The country’s debt paying capacity has declined. In 2023, two credit rating agencies, Fitch Rating and Moody Credit Rating have degraded the county’s borrowing capacity. The Birr exchange rate to USD is depreciating daily. Meanwhile according to Fitch’s estimates, Ethiopian’s external debt payments are projected to reach US$ 1 billion in 2024 and US$2 billion in 2025.  At the same time the 2015 (EC) fiscal year domestic deficit financing has been about 14%. Unfortunately, the Birr is on a rapid path of becoming another Zimbabwe Dollar.

 

Political crises. Today there is no politics in Ethiopia. Members of parliaments are imprisoned notwithstanding their constitutionally granted immunity.  The country has slipped into lawlessness. The courts have become partisans and toothless. Police officers, arms of the executive branch, do not respect the courts’ orders. Armed groups have made interstate commerce difficult to carry out. Merchants’ properties are looted by armed robbers. Citizens have no guarantee that they can reach their destinations without being hijacked. Commercial buses are stopped at certain junctions and passengers are often forced to pay around a million Birr if they are to continue their journey. if they or their family fail to pay the requested amount ramsons in full, they are often summarily executed. Workers in enterprises, both domestic and foreign owned, have been forced to pay in millions. Investors are closing their factories and exiting the country.

 

Military and security crises. The security situation is deteriorating. The National Armed Force, a multiethnic defense force has lost its mission. Instead of defending the nation’s borders from foreign enemies, it now functions as armed force in the service of Oromia PP. The two-year war between Tigray Forces and the National Armed Forces reportedly destroyed USD 26 billion replacement cost and the death and injuries of over a million men, women and children. Although the killing was stopped through USA intervention, the way it was concluded has initiated a new war in the Amhara region with Fano forces, and potentially with Eritrea, a partner of the National Armed Forces during the Tigray war. The cause of anticipated war with Eritrea is related to access to Red Sea. The war between/Shene/ Oromo Liberation Army and National Armed Force has been continuously running over the last five years and has caused dislocation. The victims have been mainly Amhara and Oromo people who are forced to leave their residences and their farms and businesses. The beneficiaries of the ongoing dislocations are ethnic entrepreneurs. These ethnic enter pruners are connected to individuals placed in key positions of state bureaucracy who justify and facilitate the dislocations.

 

Oromo PP has no capabilities nor the desire to make the reforms suggested in this paper. The reform policies advocated here require a  new political agent, one with the deeper understanding of the the relations and forces fettering social progress in Ethiopia. A new thinking and new vocabulary is needed to understand why Ethiopia society failed to congeal a united broad based property owning productive ruling class which has roots in society. Such a ruling class is capable of defending its class interest as well as the national interest. Ethnic entrepreneurs focusing on primitive accumulation contribute only social division and wars between ethnic groups.

 

 

2.0 Modern Ethiopia – Three distinct ruling class formations: the Monarchy, the Marxist and Ethnic periods.

 

Men ….think in herds, they go mad in herds, while they only

recover there senses slowly, one by one”

 

  1. 1 The problems of creating united broad based property owning ruling class

 

Ethiopia is one of the few civilization stateswhose cultural and territorial boundaries had expanded and contracted over several millennium. Over millennium, as a civilization state Ethiopia has incorporated people at different level of technological developments: hunters, gatherers, cattle raisers, farmers, craftsmen, literates, illiterates, worshippers of different gods and speakers of different languages. The civilization state has created moral and cultural framework for the people to cooperate and compete in relative peace. Also these people have united together to protect their interests in time of peace and war. As such Ethiopia is in the class of renowned and venerable nations that includes India, China, Japan, Russia, United States, etc. who are defined not by ethnicity but by common values that each holds dear as a nation. This however, does not mean that the civilization state remained always true to their national common narrative. For example, historically, a section of the population may have been oppressed in the past. For example, Japan and India, have had caste systems like Ethiopia, but they do not define themselves by their past but by their aspirations.

 

In Ethiopia, the political economy struggle over the last a century was on the transformation of the civilization state itself, i.e., on the nature and composition of its ruling classes and the degree of incorporation of the various ethnic groups into a common identity of Ethiopiawinent which the other civilization states have resolved more or less.  However, Ethiopia have been at it over the last 160 years. We now have two camps who want to resolved the question of “to be or not to be’. Those who intuitively recognize Ethiopia as a civilization state want to resolve the question through reforms that preserve the territorial integrity and essence of the Ethiopian civilization state. The radical left and separatist forces who see the state as “a prison of nations and nationalities” advocate the reconstitution of the State or allowing the dissolution of the State itself into separate nation states through a process of self-determination. In the past 60 years of political debates, those who view Ethiopia as civilization state, i.e., the unity forces, failed and the state power has been under the control of the separatist forces, the liberation fronts. In what follow we shall look closely the evolution of the ruling classes in the period known as modern Ethiopia (1855-present).

 

Ethiopia has yet to achieve a productive ruling class or or propertied class that defends its interest and its national interest as a class. The paper reviews the regimes in period known as modern Ethiopia but focuses on the ethnic regimes of the last thirty years. It attempts to explain why these ethnic regimes despite of or because of championing identity politics of: “nations, nationality, and peoples”, failed to transform the society into a unified broad based propertied ruling class.

 

 

2.2  The Monarchy Period (1855-1974).

 

Before 1855, the civilization state was at war with itself. This was also the period where the feudal classes of Germany, Italy etc.were at war with each others. Ethiopian feudal classes. were at each other at war. Among them was Kassa, who later was crowned as Atse Tewodros. He had the vision of restoring Ethiopia to its civilization state of glorious past. In his palace was a 12-years war prisoner, a prince from Shewa whom the world would know as Emperor Menelik. Growing in Tewodros Palace, Menilik shared Tewodros’ dream of restoring the civilization state including Barara, the capital of his great grandfathers. As was the tradition in all societies during their feudal period, the conquests of wars were often consolidated with marriages. So Emperor Tewodros married Menelik to his daughter through arranged marriages. Emperor Haile Selassie too, used arranged marriages to maintain his power. Prominent feudal families of Tigray, Eritrea, Gondar, Shewa, Wello, Wallaga etc. were married to the Imperial Family, through arranged marriages. However, the feudal dominant period was weakened by the Italian war. For all practical purposes, its political power waned after the coup of the Newey brothers, in 1960.

 

The post-1960 period saw the Monarchy transition from feudal to nascent bourgeoisie ruling classes. The nascent bourgeoisie ruling class in the making lasted for 13 years up to 1974, from the coup of 1960. This second phase saw the dissolution of the Eritrean Federation, the establishment of Organization of Africa Unity in Addis Ababa, and also attracted relatively major investments in the state and private sectors leading to the growth of towns, commerce and industry. A series of three five-year plans were implemented and a fourth one was under preparation with support of Harvard University group.

 

The Japan developmental state concept  played an important role in both pre- and post-war periods in the framing of Ethiopian five-year development plans. The Developmental state concept as a development strategy was known among progressive Ethiopians prior the World War II, although it only became popular again following the dissolution of the cold war in 1989. Thus, during the second phase of the Monarchy period (1960-1974), there was a coherent development strategy based on capitalist principles and developmental state strategy.

 

In that period, university graduates demonstrated remarkable entrepreneurship and ventured into commercial farming. These individuals accessed land on rental basis from the feudal landlords, accelerating the dissolution of the bonds between tenants and landlords as the landlords or their children turned themselves into commercial farmers, indicating a capitalist trend. The aggregate investment made in the modern sector was not able to absorb all graduates from institutions of higher learning as well as there was a rise of unemployed dislocated peasant tenants. Thus,  the bond between these tenants and landlords were being dissolved by commercial farming. As opportunities for employment dwindled, student activism grew and took a Marxists form for its protest. The demonstration of university students in support of the coup of the Neway brothers brought the political conflict into the open. Initially, the student protests were in the university campus and mainly focused on the slogan “land to the tiller” followed by “nationality question”. Eventually, the protest spread to high schools mainly in most urban centers.

 

During this later phase of the Monarchy rule, Emperor Haile Selassie and his advisers, more so his advisers, as he was having difficulty of remembering, recognized the emergence of the nascent bourgeoisie as his future powerbase.  The Emperor tried to consolidate the bonds between the nascent bourgeoisies coming from all corners of the country through creating new institutions and incentives. Among the key institutions designed to bond the nascent bourgeoisie together were the Chamber of Commences, the Stock Market and the Planning Commission which undertook a series of Five-Year Development Plans. And a key incentive was knighting those individuals who among the nascent bourgeoisies that exceled in their respective modern sectors of commerce, transport, agriculture and manufacturing.  The individuals were self-made entrepreneurs, both from the traditional /artisans including traders/ and modern/college graduates of higher institutions. For example, among the nascent bourgeoisies, the Emperor knighted Kegnazmatch Kedir Eba in coffee sector ; and among the modern, Kegnazmatch Tilahune Paulos a graduate with a Master degree in transport sector. These individuals were recognized by the monarchy not because of bloodline or arranged-marriage relation but because they were Sirara Negades, business leaders of their respective industry.

 

During the later phase of the Monarchy period, Ethiopian development strategy was aimed at transforming the “traditional and modern entrepreneurs into a ruling capitalist class through entrepreneurship and attracting foreign investments. Although underestimated by the Marxists, the relative strength of the nascent bourgeoisie class was evident, in that the need for a stock market was on the agenda. By the time of the 1974 revolution, there was a functioning stock market serving the purchase and sale of shares of profitable companies. The Chamber of Commerce members were committed to the mixed capital formation investment policy and debating ways and means going forward. Meanwhile the student movement was converting into Marxist parties.

 

During the later period of the Monarchy, the performance of the economy was relatively good, around 7% GDP growth rate. Productivity was relatively high. With the introduction of commercial farming, yield per hectare was high and prices of agriculture produces were relatively low. On the eve of the revolution (1973) maize was selling as low as 8 birr per quintal in Addis Ababa, even as famine was causing death in the north of the country, in Wello and Tigray.

 

Export earnings from non-coffee exports were relatively higher (59% of total export) than the contribution of coffee, indicating diversification of the produces for export markets. Tractors were humming on Setit Humera farms to produce sesame seeds, millet, cotton, etc.. Small hold farmers were migrating to Welkite from Eritrea, Tigray, Wollo, and the rest of Begemeder to earn additional income through sell of their labor for harvesting the produces on time.

 

The surplus revenue thus created from export was significantly high enough to call for the appreciation of the value of the Birr. In fact, the IMF in line with Article IV consultation advised the Government to appreciate the Birr exchange value from Birr 2.50 to 1 USD to Birr 2.07 to 1 USD. Needless to say, there was no black market for birr exchange rate to US Dollar! At this writing, the official exchange rate is 1 USD to Birr 56.6111, and the black market rate is around Birr 115 to 1 USD (01/07/24). In the early 1970s, the exuberance for social progress within the ruling circles was so high, the state failed to respond to the lack of progress on land reform, draught and mismanagement caused famine in Wello and Tigray out of control, which discredited the development strategy. The neglect of sharing the bounty to the country through distribution mechanism to teachers and the army, coupled conservative attitude to finance, became the undoing of the Monarchy regime. Thus, the social, political and  economic climates gave support to the advocate of  “non-capitalist development” strategy. Eventually, with favorable political climate created by the student movement, the military supported by the modern elites who advocate scientific socialism seized state power through a “creeping coup”.

 

In retrospect, among the lasting legacy of the Monarchy that still bind the nation together are the quality institutions, and legal system and tradition of respect for the law -Behig Amlak!. Among the quality institutions are these in the finance, infrastructure and education sectors: National and Commercial Banks, infrastructure institution: Road Authority, Telecommunications Authority, Ethiopian Civil Aviation and Ethiopian Airlines. Educational quality- Haile Selassie University and associated colleges.

 

 

 

2.3 The Marxist Period (1974-1991)

 

In the early 1960s, fundamental split in Ethiopian politics took on the question whether such a nascent capitalist class could lead a bourgeoisie revolution and create a sustainable democratic political order or not. The Marxist oriented youth concluded that this nascent bourgeoise class was not anti-imperialist and anti-feudal. Hence, such a class was not capable of ushering the desired democratic order. It was argued that the way forward was to undertake a “non-capitalist development path” towards socialism on the basis of scientific socialism or Marxism and Leninism. Then, the non-capitalist development path was considered as the best path to national salvation and development among the Marxist oriented youth movement, which at that time was on an ideological ascendance.

 

The Derg started with the liquidation and replacement of the fading feudal and nascent bourgeoisie ruling classes and replaced them with bureaucratic military and civilian social strata in Marxist gown.  These social strata had no ownership of properties or vested investments in private sector or the state properties they manage. With little or no class/property ownership/ an interest to restrain it to consider rational alternatives, the Derg took radical measures that surprised most observers. The Derg, as part of its socialist policy, nationalized rural lands, nationalized urban lands and rental houses, nationalized private commercial farms owned by nascent capitalist, and large manufacturing private or share companies and limited the amount of capital for investment to Birr 500,000.00 (then USD 250,000 equivalent). The Derg, not only liquidated the nascent capitalist class, it also instituted policies that prevented opportunities for re-establishing new viable private enterprises.  Further, not only it largely liquidated the nascent capitalist class but also those who even doubted the viability of a socialist path for Ethiopia and advocated a mixed economy policy, including Lt. Colonel Atnafu, the second man in the Derg.

 

Who benefited and who lost as a result of the radical policies of the Derg? Let us first considered the radical land reform of Derg which broke the landlord-tenant relations for the various types of tenants in existence:

 

  • The Balaji- these were artisans who were a social outcaste living throughout the country.Historically, they constituted the outcastes who are stigmatized due to engaging in the production of pottery, farm tools, swords, knifes, clothing, leather works, and engage in trades, etc. They were not allowed traditionally to own land in rural areas for centuries throughout Ethiopia; they formed about 2% of the population in the country. In urban areas they form the nucleus of nascent bourgeoisie inventing ‘ekube’ and ‘ider’ institutions that promote new forms of capital formation and urban life social securities, respectively. In urban areas where land is sold, they were able to buy and own real-estate, before the 1974 land reform.

 

  • The Gerba, also a social caste of indigenous people who were conquered by Oromo Gada and subjected to tenancy by Oromo Balabat. The Oromo under Gada leadership invaded the areas where now Oromifa is spoken, starting from Borana beginning the end of 16th century. They enslaved and sold the conquered people, and reduced the rest of them into gerba/tenants. In Shewa, these conquered people were Christians and Muslim faith followers before the Oromo arrival and were settled around Barrara. Ethiopia, as a civilization state, had to absorb and culturize the Oromo as its historic duty as it did all those who join the civilization state over the centuries. The process of incorporating Oromo people into the civilization state was not easy. In the areas Oromo first killed, enslaved and sold the indigenous people as slaves and later transformed them into Gerba/tenants/ of Oromo Balabat (it means, one who has a worthy father. i.e.an Oromo one who is member of the Gada Oromo ritual). For example, in the former Shewa Province, the gerba constitute 90% of the Oromifa speakers were mostly Orthodox Christians and Muslims before they were conquered by Tulama.  The gerba mostly Amhara Oromifia speakers got access to land use right as a result of the 1974 land reform. However, because of their proximity to urban centers and they farm fertile lands, the gerba’s ownership of land has remained at the center of politics since the Monarchy.  The downfall of EPRDF has also its roots in the Tulama urban peripheral land ownership question. The expropriation of land for Sheger city is a continuation of Oromo PP in uprooting the former gerba in Tulama area. It was and is OLF and Orommumma project of the last 50 years to ‘Oromized’ the Tulama Gerba, whose identity is Amhara Orthodox.

 

  • The Chisagna or tenants, in pre-land reform era, they farmed lands granted to soldiers, mainly Oromo and Amhara soldiers who participated in the reconstitution of the civilization state during Menelik era, mainly under the leadership of Ras Gobana. It also includes those landlords who were granted by the Monarchy for participants following the Patriotic wars/Fascist war. It is similar to the recent granting of urban land by the Oromo PP government to the generals that participated in the recent war in Tigray. The number of individuals granted land is relatively small in number as it often required exceptional performance or to be a high ranking member  to be granted land. Often the recipients were scattered at the outpost of the country as often land grants were tied to national security services. Most Oromo nationalist call these patriotic group “neftegna” forgetting that most of the “neftegna” were Oromo speaking people that fought and reconstitute the civilization state.

 

  • The Chisegna in “rist land” of the north; the land reform took the form of redistribution. At the time of the reform, while rich farmers who had large track of lands, poor farmers did not have sufficient farm land to make a living. The reduced farm size reduced labor demand and land scarcity arresting the expansion of capitalist agricultural production. Soon, as the war between the central government and TPLF and EPLF, the state which own lands began to extract surplus value through price mechanism and direct farm produce collection from the farmers at prices determined by the government. The result was that the peasants found their economic situation worse than the pre-reform and were alienated from the Dreg. As a result the peasants gradually aligned with the TPLF and other armed forces. The resulting alignment determinized the outcome of the war and ushering the victory of TPLF and other forces over the military.

 

  • The nascent bourgeoisie who rented land from the feudal landlords and undertook commercial farming lost their leases during nationalization.  The rent, based on contract between the landlord and the nascent commercial farmer, was a strong evidence that agriculture was becoming a capitalist business.  The eviction of tenants from commercial farming created unemployment of peasant tenants which created outcry and was used to agitate discontent for the overthrow of the government. The commercial farm entrepreneurs were therefore perceived as class enemy that endanger capitalism.  After nationalization of their farm businesses, some left the country never to look back, some took employment in the government.

 

  • The Civil servants -for a time, the primitive understanding of Marxist economy saw land as free goods.  This view ‘on one of the major factors of production initially led to partitioning 500 square meters of land per individual. As the city expands, those close to the city center remained closer to amenities than those far away who also face high transport costs. People started building ground plus homes which require higher amount of cement and iron bars. This development was stopped and a committee was established by the President himself to provide a rationale for re-nationalization of homes constructed during the Derg era!

 

The anomaly on urban land value following nationalization created opportunities to get easy access of “free land” with nominal payment for title, and bank loans based on income at reasonable fixed interest rate during the Dergue era. This made possible home ownership for those with income of over 500 birr per month who can borrow from banks.  It also allowed to get low or rent free residents for those favored by the state.

 

However, the limitations imposed by the rural land reform to ‘use rights’ only undermined the potential benefits, restricting the right of the landless; and remained to have far reaching consequences. These beneficiaries were unable to use their land productively. They were denied using their land as collateral for bank credit. Instead, they were being forced to form cooperatives without adequate technical and material support to function as productive cooperatives, while at the same time forcing them to contribute their farm product surpluses for the war efforts that lasted for all Dergue period.  The state became the new landlord and more oppressive than former feudal lords in extracting surplus produces. Not through the sharing of produce but through the price mechanism. As a result, the peasants hated the state, their new landlord, and sided with rebel forces.

 

The result of the nationalization of land and extra house laid the foundation for the rise of parasitical rent seeking ethnic entrepreneurs. The mission of this group was not employment creation through capitalist production, but on rent seeking activities at using their bureaucratic position. The fixed rent prices of nationalized extra houses in urban areas failed to generate adequate maintenance funds, leading to the deterioration of the housing stocks. Failure of municipalities to allocate maintenance budget further led to the dilapidation of the housing stock as evidenced by roof conditions of urban houses.

 

As noted above, the liquidation of the budding capitalist entrepreneurs and their replacement by political cadres in economic management limited the productive capacity of the economy to supply urban and rural goods and services. Thus, the system failed to generate employment and create wealth. These resulted in urban and rural discontents and rebellions among the initial supporters of the Derg. In the meantime, the loss of support from the USSR and the ongoing Mikhail Gorbachev’s reform of the Soviet Union, the Derg was forced to reconsider reform and to adopt a mixed economy policy. It started reforming the small scale industry, hotel and tourism, and production of live stocks. However, the Dreg reform actions were latter viewed as too little too late and the regime did not benefit from its reform undertakings. Ultimately, the social, economic, political and military discontents ushered in the Dreg demise. Nevertheless, production and services initiated by the Dreg later helped the EPRDF regime to stabilize prices during its early days.

 

Strangely, a lasting legacies of the Derg regime were not its land reforms or its socialist programs. Its main contributions were in the areas of literacy in several Ethiopian languages and the renaissance of Ethiopian music, dance and culture through out the civilization state. The deepening of the Amharic language literature and its assumption as lingua-franco of Ethiopia is another legacy that bonded Ethiopians against the propaganda of the separatists.

 

 

2.4 The Ethnic Entrepreneurs Period (1991- Present).

 

Three decades of separate and unequal path of social development charted by ethnic regimes of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) dominated Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF); and that was followed by Oromo Democratic Party that dominated Prosperity Party (PP). These two have led the people to death and mayhem. They fractured the relationship of the propertied class together with the wider society. They instituted an ethnic constitution that facilitates the establishment of independent states hence the formation of separate but unequal capitalist classes that are exploited by ethnic entrepreneurs.

 

The advocates of the separate independent nation states remained in power for the last 32 years suppressing the unity forces. During this period they considered their reign as a period of preparation for creating the legal, material and ideological conditions to form independent separate states.  Most recently, the Oromo PP came to power using ‘confuse and convince’ tactics while they continue to build separate and unequal ruling classes within the EPRDF and later within Prosperity Party.  As part of their antisemitic master plan, Oromo PP guided by Orommumma, waged wars on Tigray. PM Abiye told us that the war he waged “reduces Mekelle into Bashasha”, a tiny village where the Prime Minster was born. We are witnessing brutal class wars in ethnic disguises. The objective is  primitive accumulation while building the material condition for separate state formation.

 

 

 

 

2.4.1 The EPRDF/TPLF Period (1991-2018)

 

The TPLF/EPRDF was characterized by separate and unequal ethnic rules, white capitalism, revolutionary democracy and developmental state as instrument of separate and unequal development, moral decadence – ‘steal unless caught’, derogatory ethnic narratives, especially related to Amhara elites.

 

In 1991, with the victory over the Dreg, TPLF led EPRDF and  Oromo Liberation Front (OLF and  other ethnic political forces) with the exception of Eritrean Liberation Front decided to remain within the civilization state. They join the Transitional Government, deferring their plans of forming an independent state. TPLF soon (June 1982) forced out the OLF from the government, emerging as the dominant force within EPRDF.

 

An ethnic constitution was drafted and adopted. The constitution continue to provide a legal cover for TPLF to implement its separatist agenda and declare an independent Greater Tigray State with properties annexed from then Begemeder and Wello Provinces. The constitutional process failed to represent the aspirations and interests of the Amhara as ethnic group whose elites refused to accept the ethnic basis of the constitution. Moreover, the constitution targeted the “Amhara elite” as responsible for what the rebels claim that their ethnic groups suffered under the Monarchy and the Dergue rules.

 

In the area of economic development, initially, the TPLF proclaimed that it was pursuing “white capitalism” meaning laisse faire capitalism. However, this was to assuage the suspicious of the west who had identified TPLF as a terrorist organization and an admirer of Albanian Communists leader of Ever Hoxha. However, TPLF soon dabbled its political economic policy “developmental state”, under the ethnic constitutional framework. The developmental state was favorable policy framework for launching its separate and unequal policy of ethnic entrepreneurs. TPLF thus launched the paths, not only the legal framework but also the economic framework for creating the material condition of an independent Tigray Republic within the ethnic based developmental state cover. Its industrialization strategy of Tigray pursued through near coercion of foreign investors to invest in Tigray came into conflict with the aspiration of Eritrean government, which when Eritrea left from Ethiopia wanted to play that role of being an industrial state visa vie Ethiopia-market and raw material sources. This conflict of interest and the desire of TPLF to incorporate the Tigrigna speaking group of Eritrea into Greater Tigray led to the Ethio-Eritrean war. However, the immediate causes were related to exchange rates between the two countries.

 

Second, TPLF as a dominant member of EPRDF, throughout the EPRDF era, perused its revolutionary democracy as developmental state strategy unabashedly and blatantly.  Through these policy frameworks, TPLF successfully rationalized its separate and an unequal ethnic policy, as a national policy.

 

The framework gave TPLF ethnic entrepreneurs free field to create wealth through primitive accumulation. Their blatant actions created feelings of disfranchisement on the part of other ethnic entrepreneurs of other EPRDF member parties. Nevertheless, TPLF, exuberant of its dominant position in EPRDF, continued to create the economic and material conditions for an independent Greater Tigray. The crises within EPRDF came into the surface early 2014 and goes on until 2018. TPLF was nevertheless in a state of exuberance as it marvels on the success of its “developmental state model” leading to industrialization of Tigray. It failed to appreciate that the non-Tigrayan ethnic entrepreneurs were plotting its downfall. It remains unconscious to this day that its revolutionary democracy of separate and unequal policy was creating its grave diggers, Oro-mara. The narratives that it had skillfully used to that date against Amhara  and Oromo “elites” lost its potency.

 

As the crises of the ethnic entrepreneurs continued to intensify, the TPLF ethnic entrepreneurs were in state of exuberance having the full force of the state and had convinced themselves that they had total control and dominations. TPLF ethnic entrepreneurs continued to amass lands, bank credits, and foreign exchange reserves, and continued to bankrupt the state in favor of its ethnic entrepreneur class.  TPLF with its endowments and together with its ethnic entrepreneurs raided the state coffer, foreign loans, humanitarian and development assistance and foreign exchange earnings.

 

In the ethnic ownership of land and a hierarchy system of ethnic parties, TPLF members and

supporters remained at the top of the food chain for nearly 27 years. Thus, this incentivized ethnic system endangered the proliferation of the formation of political parties, further fractured the possible emergence of united broad base property owning ruling class with few political parties.  However, TPLF domination of the state resources under the not so hidden banner: “without economic supremacy no political supremacy”, further fractured the relationship within the EPRDF constituting parties.  Thus, the Ethnic Federal system of “separate and unequal system” failed to resolve its internal conflicts of ethnic entrepreneurs of different kilil (highest level ethnic administrative unit) and gave rise to social movement that led to the dissolution of EPRDF and the isolation of TPLF by one of its junior partners representing Oromia.

 

TPLF actively encourage its ethnic entrepreneurs towards primitive accumulation, extract surpluses and depositing them in foreign banks. Much has been said about the 11% GDP growth rate of the Ethiopian economy. With significant illicit financial outflow, rise of non-performing loans due to siphoning of resources for ghost projects designed to washout stolen resources. It orchestrated a false narrative of 11% sustained rate of economic growth. What is amazing is that it even seduced the lending agencies too.

 

In terms of modern wealth accounting, the wealth of of nations, are the sum of four factors: produced, natural, human, and intangible capital. Ethiopia may have gained around 6 to 7% in GDP /“produce”/ during TPLF era,  but certainly the wealth Ethiopia has lost in the remaining three dimensions of wealth creation sectors particularly in terms of intangible values is immense. A youth who took to heart TPLF teaching and Practice that it is ‘ok to steal unless caught’, a generation whose educational qualifications are stolen degrees,  etc., represent incalculable loss of wealth. TPLF, thus, left behind a society that lost trust and cooperation, and at war with itself.  Actions of Tigray people who bought TPLF propaganda that “it is ok to steal unless caught” is now being evidenced in post war Tigray society -rape, theft, armed robbery- indeed the chicken had come to roost!

 

TPLF ‘s main legacy is fracturing the unity of the bourgeoise class along ethnic line and destroying trust between the bourgeoise class of the different ethnics.

 

 

  • The Prosperity Party Period (2018-present)

 

The Oromo PP government of Abiye, for the politically unconscious, is seen as a party of betrayal. However, it operates on a consciously worked out tactics of “convince and confuse”. Two strategic options in relation to the civilization state, what Oromo PP calls the Arogituo (old) Ethiopia.  Oromo PP’s plan is to stay within the civilization state so long as it can permanently monopolize power. Its is also to create the legal and material conditions within the civilization state to establish what OLF ideology of Orommumma calls Kush Empire. The Empire would bring together what it calls Kushitic speaking people and excludes the semitic people of the civilization state. To these ends, an understanding of Oromo PP’s actions require understanding of its conceptual arsenals of its ideologies of “Orommumma.” and its latest invention of  divination of “Prosperity Gospel”.

 

Orommumma as an ideology has been in the making since 1992. Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) left as an organization the EPRDF government in June 1992 over the regional election. Some of its members went to the bushes and others to diaspora to fight for an independent state. Over these years, OLF, through its Oromo Studies Association, fashioned an ideology called Orommumma.  BY 2007, Asefa Jeleta, a Professor of Sociology at University of Tennessee, did the finishing touch and produced a political manifesto called Orommumma. The author claims that it is a comprehensive ideological and political document. Those who examined the Orommumma manifesto compare it a modern day nazi manifesto, created by a defeated OLF movement just as in Nazi Germany.

 

After Abiye came to power in 2018, many notice that he betrayed the anticipated constitutional reform which was the basis of cooperation for ORO-MARA.  Emboldened by the weak responses of Amhara PP, Oromo PP claimed Oromia ownership of Addis Ababa. For a while Abiye’s actions were seen as tactical response to his adversary parties in Oromia. It was though that he was trying to mitigate the impact of Lema Megersa and Jawar Mahammed who were said then to be the Apostol’s of Orommumma. However, it gradually became apparent that Abiye was the real one. His mission was revealed to be  – stay in power until he has created the condition for establishing the Orommumma Kush Empire.

 

Today, the consequence of Orommumma on Ethiopian politics is far reaching. Although, organizationally OLF is not part of the ruling Oromo Prosperity Party, the ruling ideas and programs pursued by Oromo Prosperity Party members are those articulated by OLF in Orommumma. While Orommumma maintains the old program of OLF to form an independent state, its current followers’ ambition is much greater. It is to create a Kush Empire that incorporates the remaining territory of the civilization state including the territories of the people of neighboring countries who speak Oromifa. Even Kenya leaders who have some Oromifa speaking people, were alarmed and have taken measures to restrict travel of Ethiopians to Kenya.

 

Orommoumma as an ideological manifesto has expressed its intention to return to the Borana Gada social organization of age set system akin to Masai of East Africa. However, Orommumma fails to acknowledge or deliberately obscures Oromo peoples’ own history and the existence of Oromo kingdoms (motis). It wants to convert the Christian and Muslim population to Waaqeffana. These are  people that Gada Oromo conquered starting in the 16th century and following which turned most of the conquered people into gerba or surfs. It never acknowledges the ethnic cleansing of many tribes nor  of the 18 tribes in Walaga alone as evidenced by doctoral dissertation of Dr. Negasso, former President of the Democratic Republic Government of Ethiopia. Orommumma has proclaimed its intention to convert the Christian and Muslim worshippers of Oromifa speakers to convert their religion into the indigence Borana religion known as Waaqeffana. It is this intention of Orommumma that Oromo PP is implementing that creates untold crises within the followers of the Christian and Islam religions and their respective institutions

 

I was one of those who contributed to the narrative that transformed the age-set social organization of Borona Gada into a famed “Gada democracy”.  It was 1970, some 54 years ago,. Borona Gada was then  known as an age set social organization similar to the  age set social organization of the Masai of East Africa.  With Grant from Chicago University, I participating in 1970 in the writing of: Gada-  Three Approaches to the Study of an African Society, a book about Gada social organization from the perspective of three anthropological systems of thought.

 

Borona like all caste societies live in symbiotic relation with gebra, Sakaye, borona-gutu and waat.  This has helped the gada in Borona to remain in static equilibrium for several century. Rooted in the age-set structure, the ecology system of cattle breeding and the caste system, it remains untransformed.  In fact it is in much the same manner as the feudal relationship of the rest of Ethiopia, until Tewodros and Menilik sided with the baleje, that set in motion social disequilibrium in the feudal system.

 

In 16th century, when the Barona Gada came in dis-equilibrium, it unleashed social energy embedded in the age-set system which over a period of a century moved to highland Ethiopia conquering the Christian and Muslim population. In its path, the movement erased a whole set of people from the face of the earth, converting others into slavery, gerba or serf.  Orommumma is a  new manifestation to repeat this century old genocide against the indigenous people of the civilization state. Among the Shewa Oromifa speakers are Orthodox Christians on whom the Wallaga dominated OLF has been waging war calling them “Gobena”. Most of these Oromifia speakers are Orthodox and Muslim Amhara who were forcefully converted to speak Oromifa following the migration of Oromo.

 

With Oromo PP in power, what worries them most were expressed by Lencho Leta, Lema Megerssa and Lencho Bati at different times. These individuals who share the Orommumma ideology see danger to their monopoly power from Orommumma ideology itself. Underlying the success of the 16th century northward march was demographic explosion or Kero power. Lencho in one of his regular interviews expressed of the need of population control.  Lema spoke of the danger of Orommumma if acted by a force that control Kero in relation to demographic changes of Addis Ababa. Lench Bati, stated that the deconstruction of the Ethiopian state was their mission, but their intention now is ‘ to transform it in our own image’.  All are worried that they have unleash a force that they cannot control, while being exuberant of their monopoly of Power. Orommumma as ideology is the Nazism of the 21st century.  As such, Orommumma  will crash in the same manner as Nazism crashed in Germany.

 

Under Abiye rule, Orommumma’s ideologues within Oromo PP undertook ethnic cleansing in Wallaga under the pretext of Oromo Shene.  In the last 5 years the Amhara were evicted from Wallaga, their ancestral home before the arrival of Oromo then called Dammot.  Meanwhile, ethnic based land ownership emboldened Orommumma, engendered eviction of residents contrary to the ethnic constitution and arbitrarily deny basic human and citizenship rights. Thus, the future stability of the civilization state depends on the path chosen to resolve the unaddressed issues and one of the most important strategic development questions of the last 50 year: the failure to congeal a unified broad based productive ruling class on private ownership of land that enhance a united ruling class. Thus, the central existential challenge of Ethiopia is the creation/formation of such a united ruling class while at the same time weakening/dis-incentivizing/ the unproductive ethnic entrepreneurs that engender conflicts.

 

The TPLF and Oromo PP war showed a glimpse into the thinking of Abiye Orommumma project.  His anti-Semitic value is reflected in his strategy of weakening the “Yohannes” and “Menelik “ descendants, meaning Amhara and Tigray people.  The Orommumma strategy reduced “Mekelle to Beshasha” status using Amhara and Eritrean forces. In its second phase, true to its “convince and confuse” tactics, it is attempting to unite with TPLF forces to reduce Amhara cities once again into Bashasha. Fortunately, thanks to exuberant pronouncement of Shimeles Abdisa, Jwuar and other Orommumma advocates, the broad outline of Abiye’s strategy is revealed to be based, on Orommumma.

 

As US President Abraham Lincoln once said, “you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time. But not all the people all of the time’. With time, the essence of Abiye’s strategy continues to be more apparent, even to those uninformed in party politics. Even now, there  are Tigray and Amhara elites, like the Jews in Hitler Germany, who are not fully conscious of the danger to their survival interests and those of their people.

 

What is frightening is that Oromo PP and government leaders, have surrendered their power of thinking and imagination yet to another ideology. We observe a slide into irrational belief of the “Divine led” policies. Coupled with influence of the Orommumma agents in the Party and Government, the Oromo PP is leading the country into a generalized crises. If history is any guide, the downfall of Prosperity Party is inevitable, as its leadership thinking is fettered by delusion of Orommumma and Prosperity Gospel, both ideologies with no social base in the culture of Ethiopian people. As they remain in power so will the suffering of the Ethiopian people continue and the bonds that pull together the people of the civilization state will gradually wither.

 

The Oromo PP while focusing on their preparation towards their Kushitic Empire, they seem to have also fallen prey to the sway of self-serving and sinister individual ethnic entrepreneurs professing to be agents of Prosperity Gospel with claim of power of ‘Devine interventions’.  Judging from their statements in the media, these “Devine” agents are known to influence the ongoing day today course of war and peace. They even affect the ongoing daily war operations.  These agents are playing a role similar to the historical and scandalous and sinister Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Like Rasputin, it is inevitable that their influence will help to discredit and accelerate the demise of Abiye’s Party and Government.

 

These disastrous outcomes of last 32 years TPLF and Oromia PP were driven within the framework of the constitutions by the their respective separatists’ hidden agenda while remaining in the civilization state. The objectives of both TPLF in EPRDF and Oromo PP’s in PP support to the ethnic constitution were driven by the desire to remain in power while they prepare the legal, material and ideological conditions to enable them form independent states.  Meanwhile, Oromo PP has proved to be outlaws, more aggressive and destructive than its predecessor TPLF/EPRDF in matter of primitive accumulation.   The speed of assets formation through primitive accumulation has never been as today under Oromo PP.

 

It is increasingly apparent that the leaders of Prosperity Party and the Government officials are overwhelmed by the day today problems protecting themselves from the anger of the people whose livelihood is engendered and are being reduced to poverty. It is also clear that they have abandoned using their commonsense, logic and imagination to solve these existential challenges facing themselves.

 

It is now clear that until a consensus strategy that helps build a broad-based united propertied ruling class emerges, the fate of the civilization state though not fatal can be protracted. The present crisis is about whether such a nation so conceived over several millennium can form a united broad based ruling class and continue to long endure. To this end, this paper presents seven priority pillars policy concepts necessary towards formation of a united broad based productive ruling class. The lack of such class that represents the interest of the private sector to dialogue with the Government on the country’s plan and its implementation appears to be the single most probable cause of the failure of the developmental state model as practice in Ethiopia to date.

 

The legacy of Oromo PP is difficult to predicts as few in the Oromo PP are aware of the danger of Orommumma to their leadership, as they are in a state of exuberance, intoxicated with power. It is therefore too early to conclude on Oromo PP legacy.  It is clear however, it represents the ugliest phase of the last 32 years of ethnic rule.  Initially, the worldview espoused by Abiye Ahmed captured the imagination of the unity and regional forces, as Abiye promised to represent all the ethnic groups and appeared to form a united ruling class. However, according to President Shimeles Abdisa of Oromo Kilili, PP was “designed to serve Oromia PP in the same manner as EPRDF” was designed to serve TPLF.  In a series of statements Abiye, Abdisa, Jawar, and others Orrommumma advocates revealed that PP’s commitment is to create the condition for an Orommumma guided Kushitic Empire and their acts and their thought, even as they try to ‘confuse and convince’ reveal they are marching towards their goals and the evidences abound to that effect. Whether they succeed to destroy the civilization state as per their Orommumma design remains on us all. The future is in our hands.

 

The policy corrective measures I envisaged, hereafter include incentives and institutional reforms and are presented in section 4 of this paper.

 

 

4.0 Policy Pillars for Creating a Broad Based Unified Propertied Ruling Class

 

Seven policy pillars aim to renew a sustainable society in Ethiopia, focused on productive entrepreneur. These pillars are only necessary conditions but not sufficient. Many strategic topics are not covered such as  the reorganization of the National defense forces, the bureaucracy, the transfer of technology, etc. These also need attention if we are to create sufficient conditions and lay out a solid foundation for the renaissance of Ethiopia society through a regeneration of a “united broad based propertied ruling class”.

 

 

Pillar I. Transform the current kilil governance administrative structure

 

A basic function of any government is the delivery of public service that is efficient, effective and safe with quality and equity. States are expected to provide such services as education, health, transportation, public security services, etc. Spatial decentralization of administrative services play a critical role in improved service delivery. The federal and state spatial administrative organization seriously impact such service delivery through accessibility, proximity and availability at reasonable costs.  It also plays important role in mitigating the conflicts arising from the nexuses of resources and power of ethnic entrepreneurs. We cannot legislate ethnicity out of existence but we can mitigate the harmful impact of ethnic entrepreneurs which is a transitional issue even thought it is at make break moment in today Ethiopia.

 

Experience of countries such as Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, which had similar administrative structure as Ethiopia before they reformed, have shown that the conflicts endangered by ethnic entrepreneurs can be contained. Ethnic entrepreneurs are a non-value adding member of society which preys on society. As such it is a transitory rent seeking phenomena that arose because of the underdevelopment of capitalism and the excessive number non-productive elites in society. The decentralization reform suggested below is based on the available best practices for mitigating ethnic tensions through decentralization within the framework of federalism and democracy.

 

The options open to decentralization of the administrative structure of Ethiopia are many. One can go back to the administrative structure of the Monarchy period or that of the Dergue Period. Or one can generate criteria on the basis of which to restructure the existing Kilili structure. All these are possibilities. However, the important focus on restructuring must be one that enables the creation of a broad based multiethnic productive propertied ruling class that compete and cooperate, that is productive, that improve service delivery.

 

Today, Ethiopia’s ethnic federal administrative structure has four levels of governments: Kilili, Zone, Woreda, Kebele. In order to reduce resource-power driven ethnic-entrepreneur generated conflicts and focus on society’s energy to productive activities, we need to decentralize the administrative structure. However, the principle underlying the decentralization intervention should be as simple as possible, following Albert Einstein dictum, we will “make everything as simple as possible but not simpler’. Such a change in the administrative structure must take into account the wealth of data generated to date at all four levels of government administration.

 

Accordingly, the simple changes necessary to mitigate the power and resource conflicts endangered by ethnic entrepreneurs and enhance a unified broad based propertied ruling class in the society through changes in the administrative structure in Ethiopia, the following measures are advised:

 

  1. Change the Kilili into a Cultural Zone -There will be no Kilili but a cultural zone with no administrative and political functions. The Kilil as a cultural zone many correspond with current kilil or not. It may serve, in much the same way as the  district system in Uganda.  Today, the Buganda people in Uganda live in 26 districts out of 135 districts. The Buganda have a constitutional monarch, Kabaka Mutebi II and a Prime Minister Charles Mayiga. The focus of the kingdom is the development of culture of the Buganda people in Uganda on the fourth department of wealth creation, development and preservation of the people’s intangible values. Membership in the cultural zone is a voluntary act.

 

  1. Rename the current “Zone” as “State”. Thus the Zone hence forth named ‘State’ will have administrative and political functions. That is transfer all the powers of the Kilili to the State (Zone). Change the relevant articles of the Constitution governing the States in the anticipated Constitutional reforms. As noted above, the States do not report to the Kilili as there will be no kilil. The cultural zone will exist at the will of the State as their sources of financing depend on the contributions of the States within the cultural zone.  At current counting there are a total 68 states which will be established equal to the number of existing zones. Each State will have two representatives or senators irrespective of the size of the population of the state. Also each state will have one or more representatives based on the size of its population to represent it in the house of  representatives.

 

  1. Maintain the existing Woreda as territorial unit within the state for managing socioeconomic development – Woreda keeps the power and functions of current Woreda. Woreda will report to the State and with appropriate changes consistent with the New Constitution. Woreda will continue as an economic development planning and spatial organization unit. Each State will coordinate several wereda within its jurisdiction.

 

  1. Maintain the existing Kebele as Service centers- Kebele will continues to serve as a service unit. Kebeles shall serve as spatial units for both the rural villages and urban populations with services in close proximity of population centers.

 

This first policy pillar of decentralization is based on the lessons learnt from the reforms and practices of the government administrations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Republic of Uganda and the Government of the Republic of Kenya.

 

The independences of these three colonies from Great Britain were negotiated on what is called the Lancaster Template. Strange as it may sound, after the London conference in 1991 between the representatives of the Derg, EPRDF/TPLF and OLF, the ethnic Kilili Administrative structure established in Ethiopia was in line with these countries that negotiated their respective independence on the basis of the Lancaster Template.

 

It is not illogical to assume that Melese and Lencho got their idea from the London Conference on how to design the current ethnic administrative structure. What is most likely is that the British with the consent of the United State gave the blueprint for the administrative structure of the ethnic state. The specific form of the current ethnic constitution was a product of many consultants including from some well known universities. The British and the United States may not have invested in vain to hold the conference in London, only to handover power to TPLF, a morbid Albanian followers of communism nor to the Derg representative. It was in their interest to ensure that brains of Ethiopians were washed out of the last vintage of Marxism, if US-Ethiopia relationship shall endure. Melse knew this and that in his first statement to the powers on his economic policy of his government was that he planned to pursue “white capitalism!”  The Lancaster Template, the model used by Britain as a basis for negotiation of the independence of former colonies during the cold war of the 1960s, was such antidote to communism.

 

 

Table 1: Comparative administrative units by population size of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya

No. StatesData for yearNo. StatesData for YearData for 2050
Country/

No of ethnics/tribes

Before reformAfter reformAfter  reform
Ethiopia

86 tribes of which the top 5 have 87% of the population; and top 2 tribes

65% of the population.

Most unstable

No. of states

 

152023682025
Population (million)1272023130 million2025294
Average population/kilil /state

 

8.4620231.91 million20254.32
Nigeria

371 tribes of which the top 5 have 59.1% of the total  population, and top tribes 45.2% of the population

Administrative

 

4196036+1 states Abuja202336+1
Population (Million)45.21960119.71999377
Average population/units

(mil)

11.33.2310.2
Uganda

56 tribes of which the top 5 have 45.8% of the total population and top 2 tribes 26.4% of the population

Administrative

 

4 kingdoms +16 districts196245 district1997135
Population (Million)7.22196221.9199789.4
 

Average population/units

(mil)

 

0.36

 

1962

 

0.46

 

1977

 

0.66

Kenya

42 tribes of which the top 5 have 70% of the total population 36% of the population

Administrative

Province/County

8+1196346+1 county+ Nairobi201046+1
Population (Million)8.93196341.5201091.6
Average population/units

 

0.9919630.8820101.94

Compiled by the author.

 

 

 

Nevertheless, the inherent ethnic structural weakness of the Lancaster Template has led each of the countries to consume themselves in civil wars, in some cases bordering the near disintegration of these post-colonial states. However, each of these countries has averted its respective crises through pursuing policy of decentralization. In each of the three countries, most citizens first identify themselves with their primary ethnic group. Only later, as member of Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya citizens respectively. Any attempt to banish their primordial ethnic identity steer violence. All the more so, when land ownership is tied to such identity as in Ethiopia. Hence, in each of the above mentioned countries, attachments to primordial forces have remained threat to national unity. It is this recognition that led the elites in all three governments to undertake decentralization reforms at different time in their existence as post-colonial state. The following few paragraphs highlight how these countries stabilized their societies and charted a way-out of their respective political and military crises through decentralization of the administrative structure they inherited at independence.

 

Nigeria – In 1960, Nigeria became independent from Great Britain as a federal state consisting of 4 states: Lagos, Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa. Soon, after independence Nigeria went into ethnic civil war over power and resources. Through a series of Military rules and constitutional reforms, Nigeria Federal government adopted its Fourth Republic Constitution by 1999 with 36 states and Federal Capital Territory. The Federal, State, and Local Government structures have provided it a better framework for relative peace and development for nearly a quarter of a century. Those issues of power and resource sharing are still problems. However, it has remained relatively peaceful since it adopted its most decentralization reform process under the Fourth Republic in 1999, nearly a quarter of a century.

 

Uganda – In 1962 Uganda gained its independence after remaining for 132 years a British protectorate. At independence it consisted of five sub-regional monarchies, non-monarchical districts and a central government. A Republican Constitution adopted five years later (1967), abolished the monarchies and assigned ultimate political power to an elected president within a framework of Unicameral National Assembly. Although the judiciary, the legislature and the executive were to be autonomous, the balance of power tended to the executive. Power, resource and culture were the issues of contention. Uganda went through 4 constitutions starting from independence to 1995. The 1995 constitution and the 1997 local Government Act finally led to the devolution of functions. The Ugandan Constitution and the 1997 Local Government Act articulate the devolution of functions to the five levels of government: district (equivalent to kilil), county (zone), sub-county (Woreda), parish (Kebele) and villages. Districts and sub-counties have political authority and financial autonomy. The stated goal of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government, which adopted the current policy of decentralization to set up local governments and administrative units, were to promote democratic local governance. Between 1997 and 2023 the number of districts increased from 45 to 135. The increased in districts made possible democratization and distribution of resources through the budget. The World Bank has used the Uganda model in local government reforms for promoting sustainable development in several countries and resource-power conflicts among ethnic elites.

Kenya -In 1963, Kenya became formally independent from United Kingdom, with Jomo Kenyatta as Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State of the Common Wealth of Kenya. The first constitution was based on the standard “Lancaster Template” used for the former British colonies in Africa. In Kenya case, the Constitution provided for a bicameral parliament, the national Assembly consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives.  The Queen was represented by a Governor General of Kenya. However, in 1964, the constitution was amended, and the country became a Republic with the President as head of state. Further reform in 1966 combined the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to form a unicameral National Parliament. The 1963 Constitution was amended 12 times by 2009.  Under the old constitution, Kenya’s administrative structure consisted of 8 provinces each headed by a provincial commissioner appointed by the President and 69 local governments. Under the current 2010 constitution following the election crises, power was devolved to 47 counties each with its own Governor who is elected and assumes the executive position of the county government.

As per 2009 Census, Kenya had a population of approximately 38 million. Then 47 counties have an average population of 800,000 people. The county with lowest number of people was Lamu of about 144,00 and the Highest was Nairobi with population of 3,00,000. In 2015, the local government expenditure was 13.5% of the total Government expenditure.

The experiences of these three countries are relevant to Ethiopia. The three countries negotiated their respective independence at different times on what is called the Lancaster template designed to bind them within the capitalist camp.  During the cold war of the early 1960s, these countries were advised to adopt the United Kingdom’s own model of ethnic form of self-rule through the Lancaster template.

Notwithstanding the alleged role played by TPLF or its leader Melese Zenawi, Lencho Leta or Walelign in shaping the current ethnic based constitution on which the ethnic based administrative is structured, the fact remains that it was based on the same principles as the above mentioned countries at their respective independences.  The link of land ownership to the kilil or to specific ethnic group in the kilil was incorporated intentionally to harm a specific ethnic, was perhaps the main aberration.  Incorporation of land as ethnic ownership in the Ethiopian constitution was meant to weaken the Amhara ethnic group which TPLF views to this day as its archrival and TPLF dominance of Amhara which is viewed as a bulwark of Ethiopianism.

The proposed decentralization of the state administration, subject to level of urbanization in some existing kilil and population density in rural areas, will enhance service delivery, mitigate most of the conflicts over territories between the existing kilil, enhance the generation of broad based unified ruling class and enhance productivity and promote proximity of the urban elite to the rural poor. The present Kilil administration, service delivery is poor to remote rural people living in villages. The costs of accesses to services are high and the burden fall on the rural poor,

The decentralization of the Kilil will help mitigate most of the current problems based on identity politics and related power and resources. For example, Welkite zone will be a Welkite State/ and so is Raya, Raya State. Accordingly, the current number of zone, Tigray Kilil will be transformed into four states, solving the highly charged emotion of being dominated for more than half a century by Adwa group, since people from Adwa controlled TPLF starting early 1970s.

Existing Amhara kilil together with Welkite and Raya will be decentralized into 13 states. While certain zones have significant social and physical infrastructure, in other zones, student do not have class rooms to learn. The success of Fano to date, the organization that leads the liberation movement of Amhara People from Prosperity Rule, indicates that the strength of Amhara society is in its initiative in decentralized structure.

Oromia Kilili with 20 zones will also be decentralized into 20 states.  Many Oromo political elites, except the Orommumma ideologs have shown interest in decentralization including “Shene”. The vast land of Oromo Kilil is being administered from Addis Ababa.  The saying that Ethiopia is a “prison of nations and nationalities” is more true to the many ethnics in Oromo Kilil than anywhere else in the civilization state. In Amhara region non-Amhara have special zones or special wereda. This is not true in Oromo Kilil. This state of affair cannot  endure. Decentralization will allow the self-determination of many of the gerba, the former enslaved and oppressed indigenous people of Gada Oromo, to claim their true identities from Gada Oromo oppression imposed on them starting the 17th century.

The vast lands of cattle raising regions of Somalia, Afar, and Oromia lack strong urban centers and infrastructures. The elites that are needed to man service delivery function in these remote areas may want the amenities of urban centers and may be difficult to attract competent people to fill posts in the newly created states in these regions immediately. However, arrangements may initially be decided to be phased over time as the amenities are created and to no longer delays their operation.

Such geopolitical arrangements of the current ethnic Ethiopian state will change the trajectory of urbanization. The decentralized arrangements envisioned will distribute budget resources by states in relation to their population and other agreed criteria, open opportunities to bring the elites close to the rural people, stimulate production by creating markets for the surplus produces of the rural poor, improve service delivery such as health, education, infrastructure, supplies of farm inputs that enhance productivity of the urban and rural poor.

In particular this decentralization policy is vital for rural people in the large geographic kilil: Oromia, Amhara, Afar and Somali regions where the centers of these kilil-Addis Abeba/Sheger, Bahar Dar, Semera, Jijiga, take enormous shares of the current kilil budgets while in remote zones people lack access to basic infrastructure and services. Moreover, by shifting budgetary resources to the periphery, “white elephant projects” such as “Sheger city” or Palaces for Oromia PPs will be scrutinized from a rational perspective.

The reform also enhances healthy competition and cooperation between the neighboring states for ecological and environmental management regardless to ethnicity. The market for ethnic entrepreneurs will shrink and opportunities for productive entrepreneurs expand as the scope for primitive accumulation is scrutinized more closely by citizens.

Experience of the countries in our example shows that any increase in the current budget due to decentralization can be paid off through increased productivity and social stability. Capital expenditure control can be achieved by standardizing vehicles make and size, other major durable goods for administrative services as Uganda did in transforming its districts from 45 to 135 between 1997 to the present. The resulting budgetary distribution will reduce the income between urban and rural areas and reduce the gap between the people and the rulers’ lifestyles. Luxury products can be taxed as mega type cities growth will be reduced. Infrastructure service delivery expenses will be reducing as small towns and villages can access these services at a low per capital cost.

 

More important, decentralization will reduce the risks of potential instabilities that arise from the oligopoly nature of the current two major Kilil: Oromia and Amhara, whose aggregate population is about 65 percent of the total population of the country. Any conflict between these two kilil is potentially predisposed to national instability. In a time of harmony and cooperation such state structure may function well. But in a time of conflict, the cost of the conflict could be enormous and become a major source of instability.

The Oromo Prosperity Party given its commitment to the Kushitic Empire, will not apply decentralization to all kilil. It may try to operationalize it to create immediate disorganization in a given kilil as part of its ‘convince or confuse’ tactics.

 

In light of this, the implementation of this decentralization policy measure therefore remains a priority agenda for a new government which has support of the rural and urban elites and unemployed youth, who will profit from such decentralization.

 

Policy Action

Action 1: Suspend the constitution, implement decentralization, transfer power from the Kilil to Zone now called states.

Action 2: Establish an implementation unit to rationalize allocations of human resource, budget and  logistics services to the states.

Action 3: Establish a monitoring and evaluation system to get feedback on the effective, efficient and equitable delivery of services.

 

Pillar II.  Transformation of land ownership to individual holds with due considerations to common use and environment preservation

 

The right to procure property and to use it for one’s own enjoyment is essential to the freedom of every person, and our other rights would mean little without these rights of property ownership.

Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government

 

Both rural and urban lands have effectively become properties of the political cadres and their agents. Neither peace nor democracy can exists without reform of current land holdings.

The 2018 promised government reform which brought the Abiye’s government to power was driven in part by peripheral urban land ownership issues. Even urban dwellers who saved money to own their homes under various government payment schemes are denied the promised ownership of residential buildings under the reform government at the influence of a vocal Orommumma activist, an act of constitutional violation where an individual trounce over the rights of citizens.

 

The land issue is a driving force behind the dislocation of Amhara in Wallaga, around Addis Ababa and other regions of the country. Under the ethnic regimes, land has remained a political commodity. Access to land remains primarily political. The political nature of rural and urban lands have inflated the number of political parties in the country. In Ethiopia, the saying, “Seek ye the political route and you will be rich overnight” appear to be true. Kilil ownership of land under ethnic entrepreneur rule is a dead-end road to prosperity. It is an unethical system that does lend itself to unstable political economy management and that engendered corruption and social upheaval!

 

It is now apparent that the kilil system, Orommumma, Prosperity Gospel and the land ownership issues will prove to be destructive to the civilization state of Ethiopia. Once again, the revolution will start with a rebellion of Tulama gerba whose lands are being expropriated by Orommumma on  account of their ethnic affiliation and their orthodox religion. They are being deprived from their prime land located around Addis Ababa by Oromo ethnic entrepreneurs.

 

Policy Action

 

Action 1:  Proclaim that all lands except identified as parks, or on account of the environmental can be owned is private. That it can be owned privately, bought and sold.

 

Action 2: Proclaim that anyone can buy the land in his possession on basis of long term credit. Priority ownership will be given to the person who has currently use right or title of long term contract. The revenue generated from the sale of the land will serve as infrastructure fund for the development of infrastructure.

 

Action 3: Establish institutions studying land issues, monitoring trends and legal transactions of land between land owners and recommend policy actions.

Pillar III.  Re-establish stock market exchange and reform the financial system.

 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Lk 12-34

 

 

A sound financial system provides incentives to bind the economic entrepreneurs as united ruling class. Banking, credit and financial system together with the federal and state expenditures are core policies to give incentives and guide entrepreneurs to engage jointly in profitable and socially beneficial priority areas. Prior to 1971, when the Birr was based on the Gold standard, the government development financial plan was dependent on strict money supply and savings. During the Dergue era the official exchange rate of the Birr to USD remained fixed at Birr 2.07 to one USD. Thus the Dergue Government debts were mainly limited to purchase defense equipment.  It was by 1993 that the inflation pressured the EPRDF government to depreciate the Birr from Birr 2.07 to Birr 5.00 to the USD, a testament to the conservative financial policy followed by the Derg.

 

The first decade of EPRDF rule also followed a relatively conservative monetary and fiscal policy. After 1998 election and war with Eritrea, however, TPLF lost much respect to sound financial rules and started raiding banks, lost bank credit control and accelerated deficit financing. Moreover, during that period, International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group, advised the then Head of Government, Ato Melese, on reestablishment of a stock exchange on modern basis.  Ato Melese was opposed to the proposal as he still wanted to pursue a policy of separate and unequal that was designed to enriching TPLF supporters exclusively in the interest of preparation for creating the material conditions for the establishment of Greater Tigray.

 

Unfortunately, this ethnic federalism policy of “separate and unequal” was initially successful when measured against TPLF objective.  It led to enrichment of TPLF supporters to amass up to US$46 billion in foreign Banks and own major investment in urban and rural areas. But this TPLF policy alienated its EPRDF member parties and lead to a crisis in which both its economic and its political powers were threatened. TPLF as a leader of EPRDF intentionally failed to pursue a united and broad based ruling propertied class policy and this turned out to be its undoing.

 

Ato Melese’s government, as sole arbiter of power and resources, led by TPLF, lost three great opportunities to create conditions for a unified broad based propertied ruling class over the time of EPRDF existence. The first was the time he opposed negotiating access to Assab sea port saying that “port is a commodity”. The second time relates to the rejection of Paul Henze  suggestion to privatize land, refusing on the ground that if land was privatized the Amhara will benefit. The third was the rejection of IFC proposal to re-establish a stock market which would have the same role that arranged mirage plays between regional feudal powers in created a united ruling class. Share ownership of  propertied class would have created common bond between the ethnics of the civilization state. Here the biblical statement:

 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Lk 12-34  is a governing principle. 

 

All these “missed opportunities” were intentional policies pursued in support of the TPLF’s narrow minded objective of establishing an independent Greater Tigray. It was especially the land ownership question that was fatal to EPRDF, as it was for the Dergue and the Monarchy as is now for Oromo PP. Unfortunately, these missed opportunities deprived the civilization state the opportunity for the formation of a united ruling class and the development of a vibrant multi-ethnic ruling propertied class and laid the formation of ethnic entrepreneurs, a parasitic group with no value added to society.

 

The Oromo PP which follow the same trajectory, and pursued a tactic of “ convince and confuse” created a generalized crises in which its ethnic entrepreneurs become, the law, the police, the attorney, the court. They have organized and rob the citizen in day light from his bank account.

 

 

Policy Action

 

Action 1- State the principle that henceforth that enterprise  of 1 billion Birr investment capital or more will be established on the basis of a share company. The Federal Government shall take share of 5 to 10% and States will have 1 to 2% shares, together with the private sector for the first 5 to 10 years of the profitable existence of the enterprise, after that time the State and the Federal will sell their shares in the stock market to the private sector – individuals, partnerships or corporation.

 

Action 2: All current government owned state enterprises once they prove profitable and well organized, will sell their share in the open market to the private sector and will be privatized within three to five years.

 

Action 3: As far as possible, efforts will be made to sell shares of enterprises to residents of  all states but at least a third of the states.

 

 

Pillar IV. Developing human capacity with imagination and problem solving capability– youth with high energy, IQ, EQ and ethics.

 

‘Almost half of the population of the world lives in rural regions and mostly in a state of poverty. Such inequalities in human development have been one of the primary reasons for unrest and, in some parts of the world, even violence’. Abdul Kalam

 

 

The wealth of nations according include: produced, natural, human, and intangible capital. In the last three decades except in TPLF kilil, little or no attention was paid to quality human development or intangible capital. Even in Tigray, Melese dictum that one may “steal so long he did not get caught” have come to roost in post-war Tigray.  One has only to listen to the news to notice that rape, robbery, have become common of all places in Tigray.

 

It is often asked, rhetorically, are we “truly the sons and daughter of our forefathers? ‘in relation to our observed weak capacity to solve our various challenges as individual, group and as a nation. It is true that the challenges we are facing are even more complex and require mastering modern technologies, varied knowledge of social sciences and even more a deeper understanding our heritages. In the 21 century, the main means of production has increasingly become human capability or human capital. On the global scale, it appears that our human capacity to solve our survival problem is rising; but as a nation there appear no correspondent between the development of our problems and the development of our capability to solve them. At a national level this lack of capability is evidence when the nations leaders actions are guided by sinister individuals who claim divination.

 

At international level, biosynthesis, software, robots, artificial intelligence are solving many human challenges. In the coming 10 to 15 years, the world is expected to see great disruptions and transformation in transportation, information, energy, food, and materials. These distribution transformations will affect the society as a nation and other developing countries. While our competitive advantages will  dwindle due to the developments noted above, our capacity to take these challenges into opportunities is limited by our legacy of ethnic entrepreneurs that have reduced our education system based on cheating. The longer the legacy of ethnic entrepreneurs practices continue they will usher in doomsday to our future.

 

For the young generation to meet the challenges of the next 10 to 15 years of the great transformation our youth should have improved Intelligence Quotient, (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), ethics and have energy. IQ alone is not sufficient; a person needs to work in harmony (EQ) in a team setting to produce results. EQ provides that capability. But neither IQ nor EQ is sufficient. Ethics are required to build trust.  These attributes are necessary but not sufficient. Energy is necessary to accomplish what is desired. The foundation for personal and societal energy require physical wellbeing which in turn requires nutrition, hygienic environmental and positive attitude towards life.

 

The state does not have the capabilities to endow the individual with these attributes. The whole community should work together to ensure the communities’ nutrition, healthy environment and enabling community ethical culture. To these ends, the colleges and universities should specialize in specific agri-ecological zones and do initially applied researches. They can engage in the production of nutritious produces on sound agri-ecological bases including the production of fruits and herbs that have served for centuries as medicine, thereby reducing the national expenditure on health and education.

 

In particular, the semester system now in use may need to change at least in the universities and colleges located in the rural areas so that they work two terms in the field and two terms in class during a year. There are such universities in the technologically advanced countries that cater to the industrial sector to serve as models. At graduation, the individual should have developed their faculty of imagination, be able to formulate and evaluate projects, have skills in farming and operate mechanical agriculture equipment.

 

Students, beside becoming proficient at handling technical equipment should undertake researches in the new field of biosynthesis, the new manufacturing method which may outdate current manufacturing process of leather, or production of cotton, etc. Biosynthesis would have impact on reduction of water content in the production of cotton, an area of contention with water use of Nile River as state priority.

 

Such reorientation of our learning institutions will support the productivity of the new states. Such an arrangement also contributes to reduce ethnic related conflicts which cannot be eliminated overnight but require systemic management through appropriate incentives that foster cooperation. Engaging the youth in such endeavor is our hope for creative and harmonious future.

 

Policy Action

 

Action 1: For the rural area, follow nutrition-led development strategy.

 

Action 2: Organize institutions of higher learning to focus on furthering nutrition led development strategy.

 

Action 3: Allow students to undertake research for two terms  per year while attending classes for two terms in colleges located in small towns.

 

 

Pillar V. Undertake systematic campaigns directed at rectifying false narratives, particularly on the Amhara people.

 

“When genocide is committed, it must be seen. People must look at it with open eyes, not minimize its impact. Genocide is not just a murderous madness; it is, more deeply, a politics that promises a utopia beyond politics – one people, one land, one truth, the end of difference.”

 

Nadia Murad, Nobel Laurate

 

 

Among the dangers facing the development of a broad-based united ruling class in Ethiopia are the dearth of false narratives generated by liberation movements and their collaborators. They attempt to reconstruct Ethiopia in their own image. In order to achieve their objectives of creating a separate independent nation state. They generate false narratives.  These were /are Eritrean, Tigrayan and Oromo Liberation movements. Other ethnic movements also follow a similar pattern, some pan-Ethiopian political movements, in their efforts to attract a potential political partners from among the separatist movements compromise and adopt the false narratives of the former.

 

During the Somalia war, the first years of the Derg, some eighty percent of drivers and some ten percent of assistant drivers in Freight Transport Organization (FTO) were Eritreans. Most of the trucks operate on Assab-Addis Ababa line, also called Ketena 5. Soon, then the company’s truck grew from 110 that were nationalized to some 1,100 truck trailers and some 300 small trucks. Through government acquisition, about 200 of the truck trailers were fuel carrying trucks. As the war progress with Somalia, some of the owner-drivers hire drivers to avert personal risks. This create shortage of experienced drivers. Meanwhile FTO bought new truck trailers and tankers to meet the growing demand. At that time the army tend to use the trucks as moving depots, further increasing the demand for vehicles. The company was forced to recruit new drivers to drive the newly bought trucks. Some of the drivers were recruited from Asela, Awassa, Mekelle and Assab. In these places individuals were able to get access to driving licenses for trucks through paying bribes. After screening the available  qualified drivers, the company hired those drivers. Unfortunately, the drivers who got hired had moral and technical shortcomings and little experiences. Soon, on the road between Assab and Addis Ababa, the frequency of accidents rose exponentially.  Rumors had it that it is the Eritrean that are destroying the newly purchased trucks. At that time thanks to able of Ethiopian Airforce master technician, who was technical manager of FTO, the  standard of maintenance  at FTO was high with systemic data collection, in much the same manner as the Airforce maintenance. Data analyses showed that the accident has nothing to do with Eritreans. It has to do with those drivers who got their licenses in the above mentioned towns. In fact there was not a single Eritrean who was involved in accident at that time of the allegation. Data science has progressed thanks to Artificial intelligence. To day most narratives can be tested whether the such allegation or narratives have any merit or not.

 

For historical reasons some foreigners are ill disposed to Amhara people. These groups have made their views in books and journals about Amhara which are unfavorable. However, there are many too who appreciate the principled stands of Amhara and long to have long term relations.

 

Among the Ethiopian ethnic, there is a general consensus that Amhara as a whole are core of unity forces. Those who want to live in the civilization state, Ethiopia, they see Amhara as a force for good. However, those who want to succeed from the civilization state, they see Amhara potentially as adverse force which could prevent their dream of a separate state. It is from these separatist and even some pro-unity forces we often hear false narrative on Amhara people.

 

The silent majority of Ethiopians have remained silent or cooperated when ordinary Amhara peasants and urban poor as well as the elites  are being illtreated. Meantime Amhara people are being deprived of their human rights and evicted from their settlements. Faced with these situations, the Amhara have crossed the Rubicon to fight and die as Amhara.  They are currently supporting a traditional voluntary armed force called Fano. Their slogan Amhara first and then Ethiopia. Their recent stand against oppression has opened up the opportunity to start conversation to re-examine the now received false narratives.

 

Policy Action

 

Action 1: Provide incentives to individuals and institutions who fights day to day false narratives.

 

Action 2: Recognize each year those who did outstanding job of debunking false narratives.

 

Action 3: Establish an institution to understand what motivate individuals and groups to generate harmful narrative, monitor and analyze trends in areas of false narratives.

 

Pillar VI. Regulation of interstate commerce and standard language for contract

 

The term ‘interstate commerce’ means: trade, commerce, transportation, or communication among several states, or between any foreign country and any State, or between any state and any State and any place or ship outside thereof. The term also includes intrastate use of any facility of a national securities exchange or of a telephone or other interstate means of communication, or  any other interstate instrumentality. Recent restriction to traffic movement from Amhara to Addis Ababa, and within Oromo Kilil are examples of the need for interstate regulation.

 

A related interstate commerce issue, there is a need for a standard language for commerce. Without such a standard language for contract accepted by large majority of the people, the cost of transaction will be high and organization of productive activities costly. Wealth creation and distribution will be thwarted, and the resulting shortage will create conflict between the ethnic ruling classes. Thus, addressing these issues will enhance the formation of unified propertied class from all the proposed states.

 

 

Policy Action

 

Policy Action 1: As part of logistic efficiency consider the role of a unified contract.

 

Policy Action 2: Enhance the commercial laws to facilitate trade and harmonize with international conventions.

 


Pillar VII. We the People – A constitution that reflects the democratic unity of broad-based propertied ruling class.

 

“We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
― United States, The United States Constitution

 

 

To provide a framework for successful implementations of the above policies, a new constitution is necessary. The reformed constitution will reflect the above changes and any other changes that strengthen the unity of the people and the unity of the propertied ruling classes to jointly undertake projects. The constitution will have a Senate and a House of Representatives. Each state will have 2 senators and a total of 136 senators. Due to the decentralized nature of the state, there will be a high priority that elected Senators can represent the interests of minorities. And the House of Representatives will have a total of current representatives elected directly by the people on the basis of the population. Each representative will be elected from election districts demarcated by Electoral Board. The responsibility and authority of the Senate and the House as well as responsibility and authority of the elected Senators and Representatives shall be designated based on relevant best international practice and Ethiopian own experience.

 

The constitution will end the rule of men and institute the rule of law.  Under the reformed/new constitution, there will be a President who is a chief executive officer of the state. The President’s principal focus will be on the affairs of the state: defense, security, diplomacy and administration. There will be a Prime Minister whose principal responsibility is to run effectively, efficiently and equitably the affair of government- socio-economic developments.

 

The premise of the reform policy ideas presented in this paper is based on the view that Ethiopia will endure intact, the ongoing wars, as a civilization state. The seven pillars outlined above present core necessary policies for immediate action. The challenges of the next phase of Ethiopia’s existence as civilization state are daunting. We hope we shall soon come to a consensus that the civilization state shall long endure and resolve to use all our resources along the line suggested above.

 

 

Policy Action

 

Action 1: Draft a constitution that reflect the interest and aspirations of the citizens of the civilization state Ethiopia.

  1. Impact and benefits of the Seven Pillars towards creating a unified productive entrepreneur ruling class

 

Seven urgent and important policy actions are designed to create united broad based productive entrepreneur ruling class.

 

  1. Decentralization

Immediate decentralization of the Kilil administrative structure converting the zones into states as a basis of creating an Ethiopia Federal Republic of 68 states (equal to the present no. of zones);

 

  1. Privatization of urban and rural land

Sell rural and urban land to the people who have legal rights via long-term loans thereby create a basis of citizenship and a source of finance for infrastructure development;

 

  1. Financial Reform

Reform the financial system and establish stock exchange that binds together the propertied class and citizens through investments;

 

  1. Human Capability

develop human capability with imagination and problem solving capacity on the basis of sound nutrition led development strategy;

 

  1. Interstate commerce &standard language

Legislate interstate commerce to establish standard languages for contracts for use throughout the country;

 

  1. Correct false Narratives

Rectify false narratives particularly related to the Amhara People;

 

  1. New Constitution

Adopt a constitution – We the People-that reflects the democratic unity of the propertied ruling class and hence of all the people of the civilization state-Ethiopia.

 

These policies will have the following impacts and benefits: (1) existing inter-kilil conflicts resolved. (2) most intra-kilil conflicts resolved; (3) favorable spatial and political-economy conditions for united broad based property owning class created; (4) improved service delivery due to proximity of state capitals to the people achieved; (5) potential conflicts arising from the oligopoly nature of the current Kilil administration structure of Amhara-Oromo kilil which form 65% of the total population minimized; (6) all rounded service delivery improved; (7) productivity improved; (8) increased employment generated; (9) improved foreign exchange earnings and spatial allocation of foreign reserves achieved; (10) income gap between the ruling elites and the common people narrowed; (11) citizens become owners of land through long-term loans, thereby generating sound financing base for financing physical and social infrastructure; (12) productive entrepreneurs unity consolidated though its chamber of commerce and have a say on long-term development plans of the nation with equal status of a cabinet member of the government; (13)  productive entrepreneurs, the Federal and states jointly raise investment in line with mixed economic policy;  (14) allow the flow of commerce through standard contracts for transactions; (15) develop human capital through nutrition led strategy particularly in rural areas; (16) rectify false narratives; and (17) we the people – adapt the constitution that lays the foundation for peaceful development that empower future generation to be proud as a member of the civilization state in a country that is respected by a community of nations of the world.

A new government has an opportunity of once a life time to gear society on sustainable trajectory through its day to day organizational and political activities. As an American Politician, Rahm Emanuel said,  “ you never let a serious crisis go to waste. .. mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before”.  And another saying in the same line says “ “Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with the new one. It is itself an economic power”

 

 

Reference

Bahru Zewde (2007): A History of Modern Ethiopia (1855-1991), Addis Ababa Press, Second Edition

Bahru Zewde (2008): Society, State and History, Selected Essays, Addis Ababa Press.

Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (2012): Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, and Property

John Markakis (2006): Ethiopia Anatomy of a Traditional Polity, Sham Books

The World Bank (2008): Agriculture for Development: World Development Report

Daniel Tefera (2011): J.Dandi, Yenegaso Menged

Dena Freeman and Alula Pankhurst, Living on the Edge: Marginalized Minorities of Craftworkers and John

Hunters in Southern Ethiopia, Department of Sociology and Social Administration, Addis Ababa University.

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1 thought on “We the People: The United States of Ethiopia”

  1. A lot of good ideas in this interesting article. One important aspect of the author’s argument is that constitutional reform should aim to further decentralize the Ethiopian state (creating more regional states), instead of state centralization/re-centralization (as argued by many) which has potential to create resistance by ethnic groups that currently enjoy political and cultural autonomy. Whether one agrees or not, this article reflects a 21st century political outlook.

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