Ethiopians Leave Morality, Decency up to Individuals


There is heated debate on the propriety, decency and morality of breastfeeding in public in the West. In Ethiopia, despite being an overwhelmingly conservative country, such matters are left to the individuals, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Juggling Promises, Wagering The Future

Ethiopians, like their government, are in overdrive, juggling between jobs to earn higher. More often than not, it leaves them unable to meet the ambitious goals they set, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Tale of Portraits in the City

On taxis, private cars, Bajajs and even on the canvases of horse-drawn carriages across the city, the portraits of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), Tewodros II, Menelik II, Hailse Selassie, Mengistu Hailemariam, and even Eritrean President Issayas Afeworki are in vogue. That of the late former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have all but disappeared, and it is not without reason, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Inept Officialdom Lulls ‘Free-for-all’ Law and Order

Despite the reforms at the federal level, what is prevalent is the level of inaction at the local governmental one. This extends to Addis Abeba, where wereda officials are failing to address unlawful acts occurring right under their noses, and citizens are too intimindated by bureaucratic hurdles to notify the authorities, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


The Chinese Compromise

Investments and loans do not show the full picture of China’s presence in Ethiopia. It is best exemplified by cheap Chinese trinkets that make their way into the nation’s informal sector, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


What Eritrea Can Learn by Looking Southward

Eritrea’s financial system, antiquated by any modern standards, speaks to the underdevelopment of the country. But the country would do better not to take the path Ethiopia took as it gradually opens up to the world, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).   


Asmera: The Addis Abeba that Never Was, for the Better

Asmera and Addis Abeba are two cities with similar beginnings and influences in city planning and architecture. But while Asmera has preserved its architectural heritage, Addis Abeba opted for concrete skyscrapers at the expense of aesthetics, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Hidar SItaten: Thrives, but with Implications

Each year, residents of Addis Abeba bow to Hidar Sitaten, an annual tradition of burning refuse. Given that plastic makes a substantial portion of the solid waste in Ethiopia today, this tradition may be doing more harm than good, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com). 


Homelessness and Class Divide Overlooked by Both the Government and Public

Addis Abeba is home to tens of thousands of homeless adults and children, who are the best indicators of the wealth inequality within the city. But neither the public, which is largely tolerant, or the government gives them much attention, Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Modernity Eludes the Private Sector

The private sector is more efficient and customer-oriented than government enterprises. This applies to Ethiopia too, but businesses are performing far below their capability, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


To Achieve Development, Conservatism Needs Harnessing

While corruption, nepotism and instability are attributable to Ethiopia’s underdevelopment, the inability of successive governments to harness the deeply ingrained conservatism of Ethiopians is a chief cause, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Tourism Industry Thirsts for Simpler Solutions

The government has come up with various bureaucracies and invests public money every year to improve the tourism industry. But a much better strategy would be if bottom-up approaches are employed to address glaring annoyances, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED(assegued@anfilo.com).


Armed Soldiers On Our Streets Conjures Painful Memories

The second Wednesday of October, when soldiers were seen marching on the streets of Addis Abeba to the palace, brought back painful memories of the Dergue’s 17-year rule. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) should not take such lapses in military protocol slightly, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Light Railway: Disastrous Undertaking

Addis Abeba’s Light Railway has been pitched as one of the ways to address the city’s transportation problems. Currently, it is causing more problems than addressing them, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).


Reformation Requires Care, Preservation

As festivals, demonstrations and protests unfold, what should be obvious is that the country is in a constant state of flux. What this is uncovering is the deep inefficiency in government, especially arising from the lower components, writes Ambessaw Assegued (assegued@anfilo.com).  


The Chewy Khat Trade of Adama

Khat, a psychoactive plant, is said to have originated in Ethiopia and is widely traded across the country, East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Its increasing demand has elevated its potential as a source of foreign currency. The khat trade is conducted in thriving marketplaces across urban centers, towns and small villages of the interior spreading from its original confines along the coast and Harar. None though execute the trade with the skill, grace and perspective of the khat ladies of Adama, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED (assegued@anfilo.com).


Marches: Citizen’s Hopes, Aspirations 

The rallies of the past weeks are healthy manifestations of citizens’ eagerness to see a better future. But the energy should be turned away from winner takes all mentality toward building a more prosperous nation, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED(assegued@anfilo.com)


Beware the ‘Greeks’ Bearing Gifts

Following the olive branch afforded opposition parties by the ruling coalition, activists and politicians have been flooding the nation. Although it is a positive development to allow all and sundry to participate in the nation’s politics, it is crucial to scrutinise just what exactly they have come bearing, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED(assegued@anfilo.com).


Lost for Directions in the City

Finding an address  in Addis Abeba can be difficult for people with little or no exposure to the capital city. The haphazard placement of street signs, the vague mapping on Google Maps and conflicting directions from others can be an exasperating experience, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED (assegued@anfilo.com).


Compassion for Young Addicts of Addis

It is not uncommon to find homeless boys on the streets of Addis Abeba. A distressing problem on its own, the introduction of addictive substances is compounding the issue, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED (assegued@anfilo.com).


Decades of Ill-advised Land Policies

Ethiopia does not suffer from a lack of weak economic policies. A consistent and persisting feeble policy is in land administration that denies ownership of land to the citizenry, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED(assegued@anfilo.com).


Addis Abeba Thursts for River Revitilisation

The city is planning to undertake a revitalisation project along Bantyeqetu River, stretching from Urma Garage to Afincho Ber. By the looks of things shown in the design, it seems like an expensive project for the city that fails to build upon the natural heritage of the city, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED  (assegued@anfilo.com).


Beset by Hardships, Yet Compassionate

Despite the lack of good governance, low standard of living, poor infrastructure and myriad daily inconveniences that task their lives, Ethiopians still have it in them to care for the weakest among them, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED(assegued@anfilo.com).


European Model of Progress Matches Ethiopian Temperament

Development has to get the consent of the governed, or it fails to meet its goals. The European model of progress, based on renewal, raising the quality of life and transforming existing neighbourhoods into modern centres, helps to retain the cultural and historical heritage that people care about, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED(assegued@anfilo.com).


Renewal in Addis Equals Unnecessary Demolitions

While urban development is important, Addis Abeba is suffering from haphazard attempts at repairs, installations and cleanup activities. The authorities should not deal with urban decay through demolitions, but by making coordinated efforts to conserve and improve, writes AMBESSAW ASSEGUED(assegued@anfilo.com).




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