We reject the notion that we can’t practise our religion—Christian or Muslim,—and be an Ethiopian at the same time. When PP established itself as a new party with purportedly different ideological departure from that of EPRDF (excluding TPLF), individuals who were the members of the former party continued their status. Let there be no ambiguity: we remain deeply committed to the vision of building an inclusive, multinational, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia. Eskinder Nega, an opposition leader blamed by the government for the rioting in the capital in July, was charged with terrorism on September 10th. Now, the utmost priority seems to have shifted from influencing to democratize the state to helping is keep law and order; security and stability before anything else. Journalists were barred from travelling to Tigray to cover its election. It is also distinct from the TPLF/EPRDF's 1991 power control, which followed the military defeat of the Marxist regime. Abiy Ahmed is the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. -the EPRDF initially committed itself to transition to democracy that is open to all opposition political parties. Instead of promising to investigate, Abiy dismissed the allegations as “fiction”. The paucity of strong parties that could rally the public in favor of them was evident. But only democracy can hold the country together, says the prime minister, This guest commentary is the first in a series on democracy in Africa. We affirm the importance of a free press, a vibrant civil society, an independent judiciary, a professional civil service, an open political space and political contests based on ideas and clear policy options. Security and judicial reforms take time. Abiy’s vision of a multi-ethnic country whose “destiny lies in our togetherness” is more hopeful than the one offered by militant ethnic nationalists whose break-up of the country would lead to ethnic cleansing and fighting between the regions. The government's handling of the state of affairs in resolving this deadlock was very controversial. This explains why these external forces kept silent in the face of several missteps by PM Abiy in the last two years. This futile situation must have lured the ruling party, which have a good knowledge of their inefficiency, to manipulate that to remain in power. Even after judges have ordered certain prisoners’ release, the police have rearrested them. Other hitherto independent regional parties are also expected to join the Prosperity Party (incumbent successor party). It has also been instrumental to subdue the public who often revolt against it. In Tanzania still about 70 to 80 per cent labour is absorbed in this sector. In less than a year, the exceptional unanimous support the new reformist group enjoyed began to get thinner and the political landscape deeply split up between polarized supporters and opponents. Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2020. A STABLE DEMOCRACY is built on the rule of law; if there is no law there is no freedom. There may not be direct king makers, but the impact of these third parties in influencing political changes, particularly in times of this transition, in visible. However, it too didn't take long before the EPRDF ruling coalition mustered power under its dominant one-party rule. We reject the dangerous demagogues who argue that we cannot be our ethnicity—Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Tigrayan, Sidama—and be an Ethiopian at the same time. All rights reserved. If we look back at the developments, had it not been the hierarchical power-center, it would not have been easy for him to continue exerting influence without such a formidable structural backing especially after his moves to demolish the EPRDF coalition, changing it into a single party PP (Prosperity Party) with Medemer as a political ideology. “FREEDOM IS NOT a gift doled out to people by a government,” Abiy Ahmed said in his inaugural address as Ethiopia’s prime minister in 2018. Thousands have since been arrested, including Jawar Mohammed, an Oromo opposition leader considered Abiy’s main rival, who is accused of inciting violence. Tensions had been building for months before the latest unrest. The Oromo protests, which began in April 2014 and ended with the designation of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister in April 2018, was consequential. While election of new leadership of the ruling party has brought forth a surge of optimism in most quarters that democratic space will expand, stability is still fragile as ethnic and identity-based conflict prevails. Many observers have noted skeptically the paucity of platforms for collaborative engagements with the opposition groups. However, many have already started to criticize his leadership in the early days due mainly to his lack of presenting a proper roadmap to guide the transition. We are rolling out a substantial, ten-year national-development plan to strengthen and diversify the drivers of economic growth. Robust measures are needed to protect citizens and ensure an environment that is conducive to democratic politics. He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]. However, it was only for about the first six months that the unanimous support PM Abiy enjoyed from all corners of the country could last. It seems that, at the expense of anything, authoritarian rule is going to be the typical course in Ethiopia, once again, as it has always been, and that is unfortunate. This in consequence helped to manipulate the power structure in one's favor for whomever controls the seat at the palace in Arat-kilo. A STABLE DEMOCRACY is built on the rule of law; if there is no law there is no freedom. Two years and five months later, Ethiopia is back to its familiar territory: the road to authoritarianism. In general, intimidation and harassment were the norm towards major opposition parties, civic society and independent media. In a country where more than two-thirds of the population are under 30 and most are unemployed, the desperate youths make easy recruits to fuel the tension. For a country that had been tightly controlled by a single party, the crisis that might have resulted with its demolition would have been devastating. Although Abiy’s rhetoric differs from his predecessors’, his administration’s conduct looks increasingly familiar. Furthermore, his rhetoric of peace and reconciliation was acclaimed by many in spite of a host of differences across the country. But as long as we remain committed as a nation, with the support of the international community, we are still on course to build an Ethiopia that is a beacon of African prosperity. One of the parties in the coalition - TPLF, which was arguably taken as the original maker, questioned the development for its legality, eventually exiting membership of PP. Thankfully, Ethiopians reject the politics of division and hatred. Abiy’s comments are his most explicit admission yet of the difficulties of holding together a fractious federation in which ethnicity is arguably more powerful than national identity. Responding to The Economist, he admits there may be “isolated incidents where law-enforcement agencies have used disproportionate force”. One could say that it was the public agency that prevailed over structural dominance at the start. Our destiny lies in our togetherness. For a country that has been suffering high levels of unemployment and in a country where most government jobs are allotted based on political affiliation and party loyalty, loosing position from party membership is equivalent to loosing one's livelihood.
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