Abiy is the Will, but the Way Remains Unclear

There is no better word than “regeneration” to articulate what is being observed for the first time in the 27-year old stay of the ruling coalition as the incumbent.

It did not transpire out of the blue. Numerous phenomena, including a landmark mass movement back in 2005 on the streets of Addis Abeba, can be attributed to bolstering of the momentum for change in the country’s political and economic setup. It was the recent outcry in the regions of Ethiopia, predominantly led by the youth, which brought the temperature to its boiling point.

The world is well accustomed to radical shifts in the political arena, as exhibited by the change of incumbents through elections or armed uprisings. But it has barely been the case within the same political leadership, which is what Ethiopia has demonstrated.

The nation is going through changes at a speed that has rendered most of us speechless. It is more than surprising to see such a brand-new icon of leadership spring out from within a heatedly criticised party.

With the indomitable motto of forgiveness, love and unity spearheaded by young, fresh and ambitious leaders, Ethiopia appears to have embarked on a steady march towards a long-awaited democratisation process.

Duly harvesting the benefits of the past and not losing sight of past mistakes, the new leadership is decisively undertaking the elimination of the causes of public dissatisfaction. At the same time, it is putting bricks on sound structures that already exist to build the nation further. It is history in the making.

What is also remarkable is the transfer of leadership from the old-guards of the party to potent and young successors with due recognition of their past contributions. The latter will help reduce the feeling of resentment that may arise.

It is also the resoluteness of the new leadership to address significant public concerns that few believed could be discussed in the open so soon that is captivating the minds of the majority.

Who would have thought that a Prime Minister would acknowledge torture by a government controlled largely by his own party?

The utmost importance afforded to human development apart from the rigour of maintaining the high tempo of economic growth also features as the new leadership’s salient traits.

Let it not be blurred, by the high temperature of the jubilee which resonated not only locally but also overseas, that there is a long way to go before instituting democracy.

The divergent views and interests in the minds of people sheltering under various parties inside and outside of the country leave serious assignments of reconciliation and compromises for the sake of attaining national unity and prosperity. That is the best way to address the complex questions of a state with such diversity as that of ours and bring about sustainable peace and development without losing the colour of multiethnicity.

This is why there is much hope invested in various political parties based outside Ethiopia, or in, those that have expressed their eagerness for national consensus. This is worthy of public appreciation for it is a genuine reflection of living up to citizen’s interest.

Beyond the abundance of relief and satisfaction over what many have said is a miraculous occurrence, the youth also ought to responsibly take advantage of this new era of hope and prove to be a constructive part of consolidating national unity. This should be through active and mature participation in the political process.

The immense potential of the nation’s youth is an excellent opportunity if grasped wisely and focused in the right direction. The youth’s call for democracy and the optimism created as a result of the new leadership should be an indication that Ethiopia has the potential to ferment impactful changemakers.

Augmenting the new wave of transformation is the youth-focused approach adopted by the government in almost every political and economic ventures. In either the short or long-run, this is expedient for the country. Indeed, working on youth development is working on the most promising asset of a nation that can trump any deficiency of natural endowments.

It would be shortsightedness to confine the message delivered by the country’s recent transformational changes to the country alone. The Pan-African ambition of the continent and its figureheads which Ethiopia has for long promoted have played a significant part in the success. The reignited hope in the country is already showing its potential to renew regional bond in the horn of Africa.


Matewos Berhanu is a senior consultant at HST Consulting. He can be reached at matew2444@gmail.com.

Published on Jul 07,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 949]



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