Abandoning practices detracting from the national interest

The ability of a government to lead a country capably and the fulfillment of the needs of the public are among the foremost indicators which shows that a nation is on the path to becoming a stable and prosperous democracy. In their absence discontent and conflicts are bound to arise. The existing reality in Ethiopia makes it imperative to provide a kind of governance which reconciles diverse identities, cultures, languages, faiths and political outlooks as well as deliver public satisfaction. Reluctance to seek urgent solutions to risks, which are unfolding on account of the inability to govern ably an Ethiopia which its people had seen through centuries despite differences, does not bode well for it. If the peace, democracy and prosperity that Ethiopians, who have taken pride in their diversity, aspire for are to be realized, any and all practices which detract from the national interest have to be abandoned. Let’s take a look at the grave ones.

Indistinguishability between party and government functions

In any democracy where political parties come to power through the ballot box responsibilities are apportioned between political appointees and technocrats because cadres are incapable of doing the job of experts. So why is it that members of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) alone are appointed to even the lowest position from federal to regional to local government structures, parastatals, mass-based organizations and the like? Why are professionals not empowered to manage those tasks which require specialized skills? What use are the elites whose education was subsidized by the state if they do not give back to their country? It is ridiculous to think that cadres can govern effectively by themselves for it runs counter to the type of governance the nation deserves and indeed demands during these challenging times. The disastrous consequences of such a folly are all too clear for everybody to see. Everyone should be given a chance to serve their country in the fields they were trained for and have an inclination in.

Irresponsibility in discharging duties

Irresponsibility has become the hallmark of practically all government entities. The grievance of taxpayers is falling on deaf ears due to the sad fact that the dereliction of ones duties seldom entails accountability. This is exacerbated by the proliferation of officials who have made the institutions they head dens of corruption and other malpractices. As a result it is a rarity to see institutions which responsibly carry out the tasks assigned to them. Officials who keep their heads low during occasional campaigns driven by ulterior motives try to make up for lost time when things quiet down. It is disappointing that the mediocre have been allowed to rule over the masses when they deserve far better.

Incitement of violence

The public will feel increasingly disenfranchised when maladministration becomes rampant.  This is a recipe for an outbreak of violence. Elements which desire to avoid being held to answer as things hot up or run off with their ill-gotten gains intentionally rile the public with a view to incite violence and thereby divert attention. They brazenly inflame ethnic and religious tensions sowing hatred between people who have been living harmoniously for eons. The patently illegal acts they are guilty of not only trample the constitution, but are also a blot on the honor of the nation.

Correcting a mistake with another mistake

It is baffling why lessons cannot be learnt and the same mistake keep being repeated over and over again. Sidelining stakeholders, the intelligentsia, elders, and the youth is a malaise that has been living with us for years now. The art of leadership requires, aside from competence and commitment, to be open to diverse opinions. What is being witnessed, though, is a deliberate effort to hegemonize a certain way of thinking and project it as the sole source of enlightenment and truth. It would be wise to mine others for useful ideas and benchmark best practices while staying true to the course one has charted. Historically the ruling class has been loath to heed the opinion of others and ends up trying to correct a mistake with another mistake. Such stubbornness cannot lead to anything but failure and in no way advances the national and public interest.

Generally, the transformative strides Ethiopia is making can achieve their stated goal when an administration possessing leadership skills that are up to contemporary requirements is installed. It is useless and in fact counterproductive to extoll past glories and attempt to get a grip on today’s realities using the way then.  Though Ethiopia has been wallowing in poverty and backwardness for centuries, it was once a great civilization and had a proud history anchored in its contribution of heritages to the world as well as symbolism of harmonious co-existence the anti-colonial struggle. Its patriotic people are law-abiding, peace-loving and capable of registering a shining victory if they are governed properly. Failure to provide the right sort of leadership to these proud people is liable to subject the guilty parties to censure in the annals of history. This is why practices which detract from the national interest should be abandoned.  

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