Abiy: Light at End of the Tunnel

Judging from the fast pace of reforms taking place, I pity those that argued, given Ethiopia’s politics, that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) would not be able to change the government. But he seems to be heading in that direction faster than anyone had anticipated. 

Even more impressive is his ability to serve as a role model, to connect with the public and articulate his vision of wiping out the extreme ethnicism and nationalism by means of compassion and democracy. He is a leader that seems to be sincere in his desire to see changes in the country. 

The explosion that occurred at last Saturday’s rally broke my heart. But it seems to have only empowered people, including me, and has created a stronger bond between the leader and his supporters instead of breaking the people’s will.

I used to be intimidated by the leadership in Ethiopia. This was because, at the early age of nine, I was forced to prove my Ethiopian identity despite being born and raised in Addis Abeba. I used to consider being born from a family of Eritrean descent something that needed to be hidden because of some harassments we faced as a family.

During the Ethio-Eritrea war, my mother was not allowed to return to Ethiopia and my father was deported to Eritrea which greatly disheartened me. Without the presence of my father and my guardian in my life, I tasted the bitterness of injustice, discrimination and unfairness in my own country.

For those of us who were hurt and separated from our families by the policy of deportation and denial of entry, a leader who emphasises personal forgiveness and reconciliation shades light on the dark events of our history. A leader who is able to empower people and institutionalise justice, democracy and freedom is rare in Ethiopia I have dreamt for an inspiring leader like him who can raise the people to feel they have equal stakes in building their country.

There is a great deal of value placed on sincerity and integrity, particularly from our top leadership. One of the most important aspects of leadership is to inspire the public to do the same, and to communicate clearly the leader’s commitment to ethical practices. Creating standards of ethical behaviour for oneself, living up to those standards and acknowledging those who exemplify these practices are the responsibilities of leaders. Leadership based on integrity requires adhering to consistent values and dedication to the principles of good governance that can be shared and preserved.

Having a leader with a can-do attitude has established the belief that the public is part of an invigorating journey for a better change. It builds confidence and optimism. Integrity and compassion are contagious, and our Prime Minister seems to understand this very well.

Competence does not however necessarily refer to the leader’s abilities in managing the political affairs of a country. Instead, it is the nitty-gritty stuff that has to do with making the economy more competitive and building democratic institutions that matters

A leader can be scrutinised by his or her ability to successfully gage the publics acceptance of his policies and by taking into account the opinions of experts. Thus far, Abiy’s ability to challenge, inspire, enable, model and encourage the public has demonstrated commendable progress.

No country can be free of problems, but a leader with a resilient attitude will deal with these problems in strides. The remarkable achievement of Abiy’s administration in holding government officials accountable for their failures and negligence is to be commended. Assuring the nation that the buck stops with him is also a significant step in the right direction the country.

Abiy’s Administration understands the process and dynamics that are required to bring about meaningful impacts on the political and economic transformations of Ethiopia. The current leadership style is capitalising on the power of the people. As the author John C. Maxwell explains, leadership is about knowing, going and showing the way. 

The focus on peace, justice, democracy and freedom gives us a renewed sense of purpose to engage in the politics of the country. It is an era where we are all invited to build this nation. It is time for both government and public to work together to attain a democratic state.

By Eden Sahle
Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied Law and International Economic Law. She can be reached at edensah2000@gmail.com.

Published on Jun 30,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 948]



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