Content: Editorial

  • Political Maturity, Institutional Reforms, Hallmarks of Transitional Justice

    With a reformist administration in charge of the executive, there has been a relentless drive towards lofty goals such as unity, democracy and justice. The driving force is “Me`demer,” the process of positive-sum envisioned by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD). The release of journalists and political leaders from prisons was one of the earliest steps […]

  • It`s About Time to Start Debate on Constitutional Amendments

    An expected consequence of the growing rift between the constituent parties of the ruling coalition, EPRDF, is the lack of diversity of ideas and agendas in the legislative house. With MPs getting more responsive to their constituents than their party, parliamentary bills are less likely to pass without being challenged. Take the case of the […]

  • The Republic Could Be No More

    A crowd, gathered outside  Independence Hall in Philadelphia where representatives of 13 newly formed states had signed a historical document, greeted Benjamin Franklin, eager to know what came of the constitutional convention. “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” asked a lady representing the State of Maryland. Franklin goes into history […]

  • Transport Authority Needs to Step Up its Game

    Faced with a continued breakdown in the rule of law, it is easy to miss the stagnant state of economic fundamentals and service administration across the country. With seemingly endless existential threats facing the country, the bureaucracy and local authorities tasked with improving services and creating an enabling environment are getting a pass despite lack […]

  • In Defence of the Rights of the Anti-reform Voices

    For all EPRDF’s shortcomings over the past three decades, it was never a coalition that claimed Ethiopia is undeserving of democracy. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) administration is not new in making reform promises since it came to power. Considering the narrowed political space it inherited, the reforms of the new administration are, indeed, worthwhile. […]

  • Inadequate Public Sector Anathema to Progressive Economic Reforms

    The Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs Office has been on a roll lately. In a set of reforms it introduced this year, it lifted the excessive fines levied in foreign currency against Ethiopian-born foreign nationals who overstay their visits to Ethiopia. The authorities also attempted to improve and broaden services by partnering with […]

  • Opposition’s Indifference to Contest Local Elections, Unwise

    Currently, Ethiopia has a state of affairs where the centre is struggling to hold, if not losing grip in many parts of the country. State authority at the local administrative level is in the process of weakening, causing alarm and distress among many citizens. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) recently admitted that the country he […]

  • With Abiy Ahmed Actions Speak Louder, for the Better

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) sat last week before leaders of the political opposition and members of his coalition to launch the much-awaited dialogue to restructure democratic institutions. It includes the possibility of exploring laws long blamed for constraining competitive politics and opening negotiations to fix them. No doubt it was a powerful and enduring […]

  • The Jury Still Out on the Judiciary

    After Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye’s announcement of an investigation into corruption and human rights abuses, the wave of arrests of senior government officials and the concerted media campaign into the matter, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) released a statement titled “Let’s Fight Cancer Together.” It was not a call to fight a disease that harms […]

  • In Defense of the Secular State

    Political transformation is unavoidably rocky, if not delicate. It involves the process of tinkering with the machine that is government while it is running. There are bound to be bolts that go loose and structures that threaten to collapse. In Ethiopia’s current case, the change in administration has given way to an economic slowdown, tensions […]

  • A Pole-Position in an Intangible Economy

    Ethiopia’s lackluster achievement in information technology is rarely pointed out. When it comes to policy-making, investment and public opinion, much of the oxygen is devoted to manufacturing. One can see this overwhelming predisposition toward the manufacturing sector in the inauguration ceremonies of three mega projects attended by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) in the past […]

  • A Grand Settlement, Necessary Before National Elections

    On the third week of October 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) answered questions from parliamentarians on a motion presented by former President Mulatu Teshome (PhD) who outlined the administration’s priorities for the current year. The tone, content and response to his address were yet another sign that Abiy’s premiership honeymoon of the last few […]

  • Colleges Must Unburden Partisan Politics

    As the academic year kicks off, the authorities are under plausible anxiety over how smoothly the academic year will transpire. Inter-communal conflicts and violence have taken a toll, undermining citizens’ confidence and restricting movements of citizens beyond the administrative boundaries of their residences. Parents, more affected than others, are edgy to send their children away […]

  • Parliament with Opportunity for Assertiveness Must Grab It

    Many that followed Ethiopia’s politics for the past six months would find the signature address by the President of the nation to the joint session of the two legislative bodies hardly inspiring. Despite the optimism and high hopes, President Mulatu Teshome’s (PhD) speech early last week was uneventful in its form and barely new in […]

  • Ethiopians Need a Break from the State

    Following the financial downturn in the United States and the debt crisis in Europe, for a brief moment there seemed to be relief for much of the global economy. But it is proving itself to be short-lived, with developing countries such as Ethiopia and their non-dynamic economies likely to assume the brunt of the burden. […]

  • The Rule of Law Matter Most in Times of Trouble

    The past week was a break away from one of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) promises that the era of non-transparency and lack of expedient communications with the public was over. Following a demonstration held on September 17, 2018, where thousands of residents of Addis Abeba went out on the streets protesting against violence in […]

  • No Happily Ever After without Political Settlement

    The honeymoon appears to have come to an end. Members of the public are no longer in unison in their support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD). Considering the informality, the rapid momentum and broad aim of his administration’s intended reforms, it is perhaps not surprising. Chief among them is the administration’s decision to open […]

  • The Opposition Should Demonstrate Civility, Self-Restraint

    It was refreshing to see Berhanu Nega (Prof.), leader of an opposition party in exile, at the national stadium two weeks ago addressing a rather electrified base. Welcomed by tens of thousands of his movement’s supporters, the essence of his public address was to focus on the need to agree on the rules of engagement […]

  • Abiy’s Men in Economic Policy Dilemma

    For Yohannes Ayalew (PhD), the new boss of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute, Ethiopia’s macroeconomic prospects are bound to continue on the same growth trajectory as the past decade. The only limitation he puts forward are constraints on the competitive front arising from failures in value addition. A former chief economist at the central bank, […]

  • Citizens Require Legal Empowerment to Take Bureaucracy to Task

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was in parliament in mid-July with Muferiat Kamil, speaker of the legislative house, to oversee the signing of agreements between 20 federal agencies and the standing committees assigned to monitor them. The agreement listed tasks to be executed by federal agencies at the end of the fiscal year, unannounced visits […]

  • Past Experiences Ought to Inform Engagement with Diaspora

    An announcement by the Health Ministry over a week ago caused a controversy. It was stated that there would be a 25pc discount on health services by private hospitals to Ethiopian diaspora visiting the country for the New Year. It had been preceded by similar discounts lasting a month and a half by Ethiopian Airlines, […]

  • Export Strategy Needs to Consider Political Unpredictability

    It seems that Ethiopia should be a country in much better footing, in terms of trade, than North Korea. North Korea suffers from dilapidating trade sanctions and is a command economy with negligible private sector participation in its economy. Yet, the nation’s export revenue stood at almost three billion dollars in 2016, according to estimates […]

  • Information Vacuums Render Democracy Illusive

    Last Wednesday, Addis Standard, an English online magazine, shared a report from Access Now, an advocacy group, on its Twitter page. The report suggested that “old habits die hard,” and that the government has blocked broadband and mobile internet connections in the eastern part of Ethiopia. This was in the week after an altercation between […]

  • It Should All Be About the Rule of Law

    With Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) call for justice and democracy, the offer of an olive branch to opposition parties and liberalisation of the media landscape, the citizenry is galvanized behind the prime minister. People are politically engaged. There is a flood of public opinions and debates. Given that this is one of those moments […]

  • Pluralism Brings Stability, Requires Forbearance

    Two events of great importance were marked this past week. First was Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed`s (PhD) meeting with leaders of the political opposition where he said Ethiopia`s future is in multiparty democracy. Abiy is not the first to pronounce this nor to meet members of the opposition. The late Meles Zenawi has had his […]