My Fury over Internet Shutdown

Dear editors,

I would like to share my current state of fury hoping the cry of my soul is heard. I also hope to find a compassionate ear among our leaders who should be sensitive to the principles of “causes and consequences” and who would agree with my views.

Shutting down Internet connection can never be an efficient problem solving approach. On the contrary, it has adverse and much more detrimental effect not only on the daily business of each engaged individual but also on the economy of the country. This method is likely to give the impression – wrongly or rightly – as a weakness, thus a negative impact on the image of our leaders and decision makers. Last time, the justifications provided to the public i.e. a preventive measure against irregularities and diversions during the high school entry exam is irrelevant. Ethiopia, like any other country, should be able to put in place a reliable control and accountability mechanisms to prevent possible frauds on exams. A student is also expected to be mature, conscious, and result oriented to focus on studies, especially during trying period of exams. Allocating time and space for relaxation – even face-booking and Twitting – should be tolerated. The students deserve rather to be taught about time management and to be treated like responsible adults.

Retention of information is another source of frustration and an incitation to look for information anywhere else possible thus encouraging the dissemination of rumors, propagandas or other misinformation. Local medias (public and private) would rather gain through timely broadcasting and competitive approaches by being the first to release information verified and supported with evidence. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Either you think – or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you”.

At the same time, failing to hear and to properly address the preoccupations and concerns of the people will result with a tragic socio-political and economic unrest. In this respect, my experiences in West Africa (25 years) and in North Africa (12 years) is still vivid. It takes few seconds to lit fire and much more time to extinguish and to repair damages. In the name of good governance, democratically elected government has the duty to listen and to serve its people for better investment returns and productivity. Good governance is fundamental for meeting transformational targets and for guaranteeing perennial economic development – growth, wealth, peace, and security for our country.

Lastly but not the least, if only every compatriot could be more mindful, circumspect, alert and could seriously observe the principle of “causes and consequences” there will be less irresponsibility’s and tragedies around us. Shame on those who cowardly “hijacked” a thanksgiving event into an opportunity to serve political interests and provoked the loss of so many innocent victims. May their souls rest in peace!


A retired international civil servant

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