Politics - ፖለቲካ

"Executive Compensation and Public Policy" with Lemma Senbet

(Sep 18, 2009, Washington, D.C.)

Pr.Lemma Senbet

Do high-powered incentives in executive compensation really motivate performance, or do they just provide CEOs with an incentive to manipulate performance? In view of current debate in academic and policy circles, Senbet discusses the reform of executive compensation and its role in the governance of financial institutions. Register at http://guest.cvent.comGet more formation on the thought leadership series at http://www.smith.umd.edu/Discover big ideas for thoughtful leaders at the ThoughtLeadership@Smith Speaker Series. The Smith Schools world-class faculty discuss their latest research on topics of broad interest and importance.Each presentation is followed by an opportunity to network with alumni and regional business leaders at one of Smiths convenient local campuses in Washington, D.C., or Baltimore, Md. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m.; presentations begin at 8:30 a.m. and are followed by a Q&A period concluding at 10 a.m. Cost is $25 for the general public, $15 for Smith School alumni and $10 for current students unless otherwise noted (includes continental breakfast). Attend two sessions and receive $5 off the total price; attend three sessions and receive $10 off the total price.

On the Question of the South and Southerners

An Open Letter to a Friend on Self-imposed Exile in the USA

(By Tesfaye Habisso, July 12, 2012)

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Tesfaye Habisso

I am deeply gratified by your brief but critical analysis on the vexing question of self-identification and on the allegation made by Tsehaye Debalqew, I suppose, regarding the Southerners’ “lack of confidence to identify themselves with the South” and the attendant ills aggravating the problem for the Southerners and their children. Your analysis that the alleged identity crisis, inferiority complex and self-hate are the direct consequence of the brutal subjugation and dehumanization suffered in the past by the Southerners is quite correct and undeniable. You have exploded the crux of the matter and eloquently articulated and appropriately tackled the root causes of the identity crisis, the indelible psychological scars and trauma that have been afflicting the conquered peoples, including and especially the Southerners, for so long, and which, I am afraid, may linger and persist for many generations to come, unless a conscious effort is made by the target group(s) to undertake the necessary soul-searching and re-examination of the root causes of this problem and try to wipe out the psychological and mental scourge afflicting them. I advise every Southerner who believes in and struggles for his/her identity and place of origin to read and reflect upon your invaluable expose on the problem, and also refer to Frantz Fanon’s books for further reading and reflection as well, especially the following books:

• Black Skin White Masks

• The Wretched of the Earth

• Toward the African Revolution

Ultimately however, the onus lies on the concerned Southerners to liberate themselves from themselves, from their inferiority complexes and feelings of self-hate in view of the historical, political, social and cultural circumstances prevailing today in Ethiopia.

The loss of identity and dignity, the lack of self-confidence and courage to stand up for one’s own rights, the psychological trauma of self-hate and inferiority complex is, as you rightly argued, the direct and indirect consequence of political domination and cultural imperialism suffered by all colonized peoples the world over, further exacerbated by the complete alienation of their lands by the conquerors, and land, as we know, is the only source of dignity in all traditional societies. The South witnessed and realized the first phase of its liberation in 1974, in a revolution that fundamentally changed the age-long status quo that was inimical to the dignity of the South. Let the details be left to the historians. The South and the Southerners have been liberated once and for all, more so I think, since the birth of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), and a multination/multi-cultural federal state that has implemented a federal structure based on self-rule at the ethnic level and shared rule at the regional and central level since the demise of the military regime in 1991, though a lot remains to be desired regarding the quality and extent of fully implementing the right of self determination of the hitherto oppressed peoples in Ethiopia. Building effective implementation capacity, real democracy, robust rule of law and sufficient financial resources remain one of the most critical constraints facing the federal states and regional/local governments today. I also strongly advocate for the creation or establishment of Equality and Ethnic Rights Commission to serve as an umpire for the strict application and enforcement of the FDRE’s constitutional provisions dealing with the equality and rights of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia.

In this regard, we the Southerners in particular have to struggle peacefully and more energetically than ever to achieve the lofty ideals of the FDRE Constitution , and do not have to expect any ruling regime, be it the incumbent or any succeeding governments, to grant us on a silver platter. This must be our utmost duty and obligation to our peoples. By and large however, the Southerners have been and are now the masters of their own destiny and fate, their lands, their identity, their languages, their cultures, etc, and there is no political or moral justification, no credible reason on earth, for any Southerner to be ashamed of his/her ethnic and regional self-identification any more. The ugly past is buried once and for all. So,why now? It was our generation, yours and mine, who suffered the brunt of the ugly past and not this new generation? Then, why on earth now? I cannot understand it at all.

Whatever the reason, I think, some people are like endangered species, like the dinosaurs; they are doomed to disappear without leaving a trace; they get assimilated into a dominant culture, leaving no traces of their particulars—their language, their artifacts, their culture, their history, etc. If that is what they desperately seek, and if it is their considered and informed choice, let them melt away; we have no problem with that. (We have more than 45 million Southerners in the present-day Oromia and Southern Regions alone.) After all, voluntary assimilation into a dominant culture is bound to happen, whether one approves or disapproves, whether one likes it or not. This is also one aspect of self-determination and we cannot oppose or reject their conscious decision. As long as it is not imposed by force of policy or law as in the past, there is no legal, political or moral justification to condemn this phenomenon. It is a natural process in any society, whether it is democratic or not, but more so in a democratic society where freedom of choice is not curtailed.

Be this as it may, it is quite dangerous to lump all the Southerners in this discourse for obvious reasons. Above all, let us not also forget that the problem is not something that may be attributable to the Southerners only. You and I know, for example, a number of the TPLF ideologues such as Tewolde Wolde Mariam, Gebru Asrat, and Ainalem Kebede (later, Wondwossen Kebede) and many others who were more Tigrean than the Tigreans themselves, ‘more Catholic than the pope’, so to speak, who were in fact originally from the Amhara ethnic group; their paternal fathers were Amharas. Accordingly, Tewolde was a Yejju Wolloye, Gebru Asrat was a Gojjame and Ainalem Kebede was also a Gojjame, as some of our friends in the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (1991-1994) confided to us. There were many Tigreans I knew who used to identity themselves as Gondare and Wolloye in the past but then abruptly changed their Amhara masks into Tigrean masks as soon as the TPLF came to the helm of political power in Addis Ababa. There were also a number of Tigreans who used to identify themselves as Eritreans when the EPLF was running the show in Ethiopia up until a war was unleashed between Ethiopia and Eritrea in May 1998 and who later faced immense difficulties to prove that they were in fact Tigreans when the expulsion of some Eritreans as a security threat began during and after the Ethio-Etitrean war. Don’t go any further, just look at Bereket Simon, originally an Eritrean, not only identifying himself with the Amhara but representing them at the top most level and position. I think, he was born and raised in Gondar and today he is a full-fledged Amhara. There are a large number of Oromos, Kembaatas, Gamos, Hadiyas, Gurages, etc. who still wear Amhara masks. Sometimes the issue is not as simplistic as we may think and label it as identity crisis, self-hate or inferiority complex. It is also a free choice, considered or imposed by circumstances. It is self-determination at the individual level. There are many factors that affect this process. The Americans say, “Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan.” It is natural to identify oneself with the successful ones, the victors. This is true even at the family level and at the level of friends; if you are successful every family member as well as distant relatives do not hesitate to claim you as their dearest son/daughter. If you are successful you will achieve the admiration of many people; many rush to become your friends. But when the chips are down, and when everybody thinks you are a failure, then is when you become lonely, hopeless and helpless. You will have few left on your side. This is human nature; the frailty of human beings, so to say.

Whatever the case, what amazes me most now is that the subject of the “Southerner and Self-confidence” is presently generating a lively debate among the diaspora after so much and so long mystification and hesitation by the Southerners themselves to raise and discuss the issue openly, to unpack and demystify the illusions and fears, to identify the root causes of the “inferiority complex, lack of confidence to identify ourselves with the South, self-hate” and so on suffered by the Southerners in the past and even today. Anyway, “Better Late Than Never” is, I think, a well-said adage. I remember the day when you, Beyene Petros and a few others from the South mouthed off your anger at me during the transitional conference in 1991 when I vocally condemned the ‘neftegna’ system and the brutal rule of the Shoan Amhara ruling class (mind you, I was not at all targeting the

Amharas in general or the poor northern peasants with guns dubbed ‘neftegna’ in particular but the rapacious ‘neftegna system’ as a system and its sponsors the Shoan Amhara ruling class) who were responsible for the atrocities suffered by the Southerners in the past and whose legacy remains as the major debilitating root cause of all the trauma and inferiority complex the Southerners are still suffering today. I remember, I was accused of and rebuked by you guys for antagonizing the ‘negtegnas’ (who were no more, thanks to the 1974 Ethiopian revolution which effectively wiped out the ‘neftegna’ system once and for all but whose ghosts still frightened you), though I never accepted your limp views and never regretted (and will never regret even today) for saying what I had to say as a free man. You even mentioned about this issue some two or three weeks ago via your e-mail message.

This was indeed sad because it showed nothing else but the Southerners illusions and fears to even raise the issue openly and confront it head- on and to condemn it in public; to ‘call a spade a spade”, as they say. The timidity demonstrated by you all reminds me of the “Zoo Effect” that I mentioned to you earlier—that is, when a zoo is opened after so many years under lock and key, it is the predators which make maximum use of their newly acquired freedom; the timid ones fear freedom itself, preferring their confinement inside the zoo to escaping from it, lest they lose their security by venturing into the unknown; “fear of the unknown”, as they say. There is also an old Amharic adage, which says: “deha tebedilo, marugn yilal tolo” (literally, it means, “a poor person when wronged by his master, hastens to apologise to him for fear of losing the latter’s favors). Short of demanding war reparations and public apology from whoever represents the Shoan Amhara ruling class of those times and the ‘negtegna’ system, today (may be the Hailu Shawel’s All Amhara People’s Organization or AAPO or its successor), we should have had the moral courage to unpack the mystifications and the illusions surrounding the issue and condemned that evil system which was nothing less than internal colonialism, to say the least. (Even Italian colonialism dismantled the ‘gebar’ system and slavery in Ethiopia during its brief sojourn from 1936-1941).

By this sin of omission, I think, we failed our own people, the Southerners, and now with the benefit of hindsight we now see where we went wrong. We are responsible for the sufferings endured by the youth of the South today. But as far as I am concerned, let this be known to you: I shall never capitulate until my death, and thereafter my sons and daughters will carry on the torch and continue with the struggle up until the south is indeed liberated and its dignity once again restored fully and unambiguously. This was what was bequeathed to me by our great warrior forbears of the south. These were those who gallantly fought the invading forces of Emperor Menelik II in 1894-1895 and died on the battlefield rather than surrendering and languishing under alien rule and slavery. They were defeated because of the military superiority of the Abyssinians, as they were armed by the Europeans. For futher reference, read THE POLITICS OF BLACK NATIONALISM and also ETHIOPIA FROM EMPIRE TO FEDERATION by Professor Kinfe Abraham where he mentions about their indomitable spirit and defiance, which I indeed cherish most. He notes:

“Wello’s Ras Mikael, Jimma’s Sultan Abba Jiffar, Lekempt’s Dejach Moroda, Quelem’s Dejach Jottie, Beni Shangul’s Sheikh Hojjale, Gumuz Gubba’s Sheikh Banjaw and Danakil’s Sultan Hanfare—all submitted peacefully to Menelik with little persuasion. The few who refused and posed a military challenge to Menelik left him with no choice but to make them feel the brunt of his “big stick”. These were Abdullahi of Harar, Baksa of Gurage, Enjamo of Hadiya,[Qabena], Diguye [Dilbato Degoye] of Kambatta, Tonna of Wolamo [Wolayta] and Shennacho of Kaffa” [pp. 111-112]

And for your information Dilbato Degoye, the then king of Kambatta happens to be my own great-great grandfather. It is his spirit that still guides me never to kneel down and prostrate before any alien domination. This is in fact what makes the sons and daughters of the former “neftegnas” uneasy and jittery whenever one raises about righting the wrongs of the past. For instance, let us refer to what Dr. Getachew Mekasha has to lament in this regard:

“As for the critics, with their newly acquired ‘awareness” and “insight” mostly borrowed from malevolent foreigners, it seems it is only a handful of the present day self-appointed “descendants” of the likes of Tonna, Diguye [sic], and Baksa, who are now at this late hour taking up the cadgels by voicing bitter complaints about Menelik’s methods and policies....” [Getachew Mekasha, cited in The State of the Horn, EYE YEARBOOK, 1997].

I don’t think it would be wise discussing the merits and demerits of Dr Getachew Mekasha’s outrages at this juncture. What is indeed embarrassing for us the Southerners today is that you and Dr. Beyene Petros are serving the chauvinists and your former masters in exile as Trojan Horses to dismantle the hard-won rights of the national minorities in Ethiopia—the prevailing Constitutional order and the right of national self-determination. It is deeply frustrating to see you guys under such despicable servitude for the chauvinists in the Diaspora.

Whatever the case, it was not, and still is not, my purpose to instill feelings of hostility in others towards the Amhara or Tigrai or any other ethnic group for that matter, which would tantamount to utter racism. Besides, there already were and still are, some mad men and women, some racist individuals and groups, just doing that. My purpose was, and still is, to put the record straight and to unravel every aspect of our past history and place it in its proper perspective so that we may not forget them and also, more importantly, to be able to right the wrongs of the past, to leave the past where it belongs and to move on to shape a better future for all ethnic, religious and linguistic- cultural communities based on equality and justice, making sure that the injustices of the past will never resurface in our country in the future. After all, we all live in our time and for our time, and we will all be judged by our time. There is no wisdom in lamenting about the ugly past, though we cannot forget it, once we have put in place all institutions necessary to safeguard our hard-won rights and liberties. This is what would guarantee a better livable Ethiopia for all of its peoples—a morally just, democratic, peaceful, prosperous, and stable order and a meaningful unity in diversity, nothing else. We have to struggle hard to realize it, we need not expect it as Manna from heaven.

Nevertheless, as far as I am concerned, the source and root cause for the lack of confidence for self-identification, inferiority complex, self-hate, etc. suffered by the southerners even today goes as far back to the 19th century and it is due to the brutal legacy of subjugation and dehumanization suffered by the Southerners in the process of the “invention of the Ethiopian empire state”. As history clearly witnesses the conquered peoples were treated as pagans, barbarians and uncivilized savages. All resistance from them was harshly suppressed with impunity. Their languages were not considered as the languages of human beings but of birds (“ye wof quanqua”); their cultures barbaric, their religions, and their political and judicial systems were considered as backward and uncivilized; their lands which were their only source of dignity were dispossessed by the conquerors and their followers (the ‘neftegnas’), reducing the once proud peoples to the level of serfs and slaves; even their names were despised and they had to be forcefully baptized; they had to carry Amharic or Christian names (Yohannis, Wolde Mariam, Gebre Mariam, Yohannes, Markos, Gebre Medhin, Gebre Kristos, Gebre Wold, etc) to be trustworthy of being a faithful serf or servant or slave. Peasants – men, women and their children—were obliged to render services to the governors and the ‘neftegnas’ every day of the week; the serfs had to till, sow, harvest, and store on the farms of their alien masters; they had to give away 75% of their own farm produce of their own land as tenants to the latter; they had to pay innumerable taxes throughout a year (even to give bribe so that the clerks at the treasury would receive the taxes on time: ‘Yeterepesa gibir’). Failure to fulfill these obligations entailed harsh punishments. The conquered peoples were categorically dubbed Gallas; and ‘Gallas’ according to the ideologues of the ruling class during those days, such as Aleka Kidanewold kifle and Desta Teklewold (Refer to their Amharic dictionaries of the day) comprised all the non Amhara [Tigrai groups inside the empire-state and were considered “uncouth, uncivilized,” and ‘the blood enemies of the Amhara’ (‘Yalseletene’, ‘Aremene’, ‘Yeamara demegna telat’) and were to be mercilessly killed on petty offences and pretexts. All virtues belonged to the Amhara, and all the bad and ugly things belonged to the Gallas, so to speak. From the conquerors’ point of view all these denigrating and dehumanizing actions and atrocities were understandable--- unless the conquered peoples were utterly subjugated and dehumanized and reduced to the level of beasts of burden, it would have been very difficult for the conquerors to rule over them. All rulers prefer it that way, as dehumanized, fearful people are easier to rule than assertive, courageous ones. It is a timeless truth. This was in fact the glaring feature of European colonialism as well during the 19th century scramble for Africa, and, for that matter, all colonialism whether it was directed against Asia, Latin America, Australia or Oceania.

When we come back to the Ethiopian situation of the beginning of the 20th century, all the conquered peoples were ruled by governors sent from the north or from the center, whether at the Woreda, Awraja or Province levels; there were no indigenous government officials, neither police officers nor school directors (if there were any government schools in the first place), etc. Even there were no indigenous orthodox priests. Such was the bestiality of the whole system in place. It was utterly dehumanizing and barbaric.

When the elite of the South, those half-baked and missionary-educated elites, came face to face with these ugly realties, they felt ashamed of themselves; ashamed of their landless fathers and mothers; they hated everything that was theirs: their own languages, cultures, history, even their own names, etc. It was utterly devastating for them. So, they hastened to look for escape routes, and they discovered that their only salvation lay in Amharanization--adopting Amharic names (sometimes even changing their fathers’ and grandfathers’ names into Amharic), Amharic language, Amharic culture, Amharic identity; in short, assimilation into the dominant Amhara culture. This was, and is, the root cause for the so-called inferiority complex, self-hate and identity crisis suffered by the Southerners that you quite eloquently analyzed in your brief expose on this topical issue.

The reverse psychological inflation of many an Amhara elite, whom some call chauvinists, is also the direct outcome of this age-long subjugation of the South by their ancestors. (It is indeed very strange how any healthy minds would fail to appreciate the bestiality of this past but instead feel arrogant and boastful of subjugating others and still struggle to perpetuate that evil system in Ethiopia even today). Let this be acknowledged as the undeniable truth, instead of running around the bush, so that we can all be able to build a better Ethiopia based on equality and justice for all. Otherwise, let us not forget that even Papua New Guinea with a population of less than 20,000 is a fully-fledged sovereign state and a member of the UN.

As we all remember, in 1991, the Ethiopian empire-state was on the brink of disintegration into its component parts. The elites who represented the Southerners and many others coming from the conquered and hitherto oppressed nationalities made a conscious effort to avert or prevent the then hovering possibility of disintegration of the empire-state into its component parts by rallying around the Transitional Period Charter and effecting a radical transformation of the empire-state. There were about 17 national liberation movements at the time. Let us not try to belittle or underestimate that conscious effort. It is indeed puzzling when some of the best sons and daughters of the South such as Dr. Erango Kelbisow do not bother to think twice before accusing the current regime of “open advocacy of tribal or ethnic fragmentation of our people and society” and suggesting that the government “—is supposed to strengthen and promote national unity by all means necessary” (emphasis is mine) even if these means for achieving unity entailed the absolute centralization and homogenization, through a dominant language and culture, as was tried during Emperor Haile Sellassie’s reign but which was proved to be futile, bankrupt, and self-defeating. No ethnic group, I repeat, no ethnic group or nationality, in today’s Ethiopia is prepared and willing to pay the price of assimilation into a dominant culture, be it Amhara, or Oromo, or Tigrai, in order to become an Ethiopian citizen. Let us not entertain any illusions in this regard. The ugly past will never resuscitate or resurrect in Ethiopia. Never again! The FDRE government does not at all promote tribal or ethnic fragmentation, as alleged by Dr. Erango Kelibisow [“Declaring War against Tribalism Diseases, Hunger, Poverty, and Corruption: Mankind’s Foremost Enemies, “Part II, Addis Tribune 14/01/05.

On the contrary, it respects and struggles for ethnic harmony based on equality and ethnic self-rule and self-determination under a federal state that upholds and safeguards self-rule at the nationality level and shared rule at the regional and federal/central level. That, at least, has been proclaimed and entrenched formally in the FDRE constitution thanks to the bitter struggles of the hitherto oppressed peoples. This arrangement is akin to the arrangement implemented in many multi-ethnic states such as Belgium, Canada, Switzerland and many others that cater for peaceful ethnic co-existence under a multination federal structure.

Self-determination does not at all mean “other extermination” as witnessed in Rwanda, Burundi, Yugoslavia, the former USSR and elsewhere. Further, it does not at all mean tribalism and looking after one’s own tribal members first in national life and becoming tribal chiefs instead of national statesmen. It does not in any way entertain nepotism, patronage and corruption. It is simply arranging a democratic way of life for peaceful coexistence in a multi-ethnic, multi-national and multi-cultural society, based on interdependence, equality and justice of all. Most often, it is only when ethnic self-determination is denied that ethnic conflicts flare up and destabilize a country, though such conflicts also occur due to conflicts over scarce resources, power-sharing and the like reasons.

Here, it must be made clear that any process which sees itself as “purely” ethnic or national can hold catastrophic contradictions. No people can be entirely self-sufficient. Contemporary society resembles a woven fabric and this is a characteristic common to different peoples and ethnic groups, with different languages, customs and beliefs. National interests must go hand in hand with social and economic rights and with democracy. Otherwise they are hollow and shallow. Nationalism and religion must be made as tolerant as possible for peaceful coexistence. Blind nationalism and blind religious fanaticism would undoubtedly blind our intelligence. We have no choice but to live together in peace, and this naked truth must guide us towards a form of integration which will at the same time, allow for the full development of each constituent ethnic group, nationality and language community based on mutual benefits and interdependence. We have to emphasize, cultivate and nurture our common bondage and destiny and not our differences; (real and imagined) we have to manage the latter properly, and not try to obliterate them. It is self-defeating and futile. Finally, “let us not scratch where it does not itch”, as they say. Our prime enemies today are: poverty and lack of good governance, absence of well-functioning democracy and rule of law, and not tribal or ethnic fragmentation, as alleged. Let us positively contribute toward the realization of a democratic, prosperous and united Ethiopia. This is all I have to say for the time being. Bye

Can Ethnic Federalism Help to Manage Ethnic Conflicts and Accommodate National Diversity?

(By Tesfaye Habisso, April 13, 2012)

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Tesfaye Habisso

The answer to the above question depends on whom you ask. If you ask most citizens of India, Ethiopia, Canada, Switzerland, and Belgium, they would say yes. Many people in other countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia are resistant to the idea of accommodating national and ethnic communities through federal institutions. For them, federalism in general, and ethnic federalism in particular, is a dirty word and a detestable phrase. For the ICG (“Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism And Its Discontents”, African Report No. 153, 4 September 2009) and the vocal/vociferous Ethiopian Diaspora in US America, Europe and elsewhere, ethnic federalism is nothing but a recipe for a “violent eruption” of endless inter-communal conflicts leading eventually to the disintegration or dissolution of the Ethiopian state, an evil project deliberately and maliciously pursued by the TPLF/EPRDF party and government toward that end, so goes their pathetic stance. In Western Europe, the French are hostile to federalism. Americans, those who live in the world’s first and longest enduring federation, like federalism but tend to be against using it to give self-government to distinct peoples. They consciously drew the internal boundaries of their own federation to avoid this. Today, when many international experts recommend federalism for other countries, such as Iraq, it is also a non-ethnic model they usually have in mind: a federation in which internal boundaries intersect with rather than coincide with ethnic and national boundaries.

The widespread opposition to ethnic or multi-national (multi-ethnic) federalism is connected to the belief that it does not work. It is thought that giving self-government to territorially concentrated distinct peoples and ethnic-linguistic groups unleashes centrifugal forces that result in the break-up or breakdown of the state. Critics of ethnic/ multi-national federalism like to point, in particular, to the experience of post-communist Eastern Europe.

While all of communist Eastern Europe’s unitary states stayed together after 1989, all three of its multi-national federations (the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia) fell apart. The federations also experienced more violent transitions than the unitary states. Before this, multi-national federations that were formed in the wake of decolonisation had a similarly abysmal track record. They fell apart in the Caribbean (the Federation of the West Indies); in east Africa (the East African Federation and the Ethiopia-Eritrea Federation); in northern Africa (the United Arab Republic); in western Africa (Senegambia); southern Africa (Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland); and in Asia (Pakistan, the Union of Malaya). The Nigerian pseudo-federation managed to stay together, but only after a brutal civil war and decades of military dictatorship. It would be difficult to argue, in the light of this evidence, that federalism is a panacea for ethnically and culturally diverse (plural) states. It also seems clear that giving national/ethnic groups their own federal units provides them with resources that they can use to launch secessionist movements, should they choose to.

But does the evidence also indicate, as some critics suggest, that ethnic or multi-national federalism will not work in any circumstances? Plainly, the answer is no. Critics point to evidence of failure, but there are also important success stories. Two of the world’s oldest federal states, Canada and Switzerland, effectively give self-government to their principal ethnic, linguistic or national communities. The success of Canada, which has longstanding issues with its own secessionist movement, in keeping ethnic conflict in check is noteworthy, and even more so in Switzerland, whose ethnic-based federalist system has successfully managed conflicts between four different ethnic groups for centuries.

More recently, Belgium has reorganized itself as an ethnic federation, and Spain has also assumed several multi-ethnic federal traits. Most notably, India, the post-colonial world’s most successful democracy, and the world’s largest, is also an “ethno-federal” state.

Clearly, ethnic federalism is no panacea and won’t work everywhere; as some commentators suggest, for instance, it wouldn’t work under current conditions in Israel/Palestine. But, overall, it has been a great success in Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, and a number of other countries. By allowing each ethnic/cultural-linguistic community to have control of those regions of the country where it is in the majority, while respecting basic minority rights, it prevents the kind of zero-sum power struggle between groups that is likely to occur in an ethnically divided society where all the power is in the hands of the central government.

Astonishingly, critics of ethnic federalism/ multi-national federalism usually fail to note that the major federal failures, including the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Nigeria, were, in practice, sham or pseudo-federations. In several cases, they were forced together. They were often, in practice, tightly centralized states. They lacked democracy. This last fact alone meant that their governments were unrepresentative of their populations, and that there was no possibility of dialogue or cooperation among their different national communities. It is hardly surprising that their minorities broke free when the opportunity arose. All of the communist and post-colonial federations that broke apart were economically weak. Because of corruption or the shortcomings of central planning, they could not provide a responsible or growing standard of living for their populations. Relatively enterprising regions of these states, such as Slovenia or the Baltic republics, found this particularly difficult to deal with.

Critics of multi-ethnic federalism would be on stronger ground if they could show that any of the federal failures could have been democratically governed as unitary states or as American-type federations, as suggested by the International Crisis Group (“ Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and Its Discontents”) or by David Ciepley (“Minimizing Conflict in Multi-ethnic Democracy: The Case for Dispersed Constituency Democracy”). However, there is little evidence to support such a view. Even Lenin, who was strongly opposed to multi-ethnic federalism, understood that accepting it was the only way to hold the Soviet Union together. Tito was similarly forced to adopt federalism in Yugoslavia against his first preferences.

While only federations broke apart in communist Europe, this glosses over the more basic fact that these were also by far the most nationally diverse states. This explains, after all, why they were federations in the first place. It makes at least as much sense to argue that the instability of these federations resulted from their diversity as from their ethno-federal institutional structures.

The theoretical justification for federalism, or decentralization, is based on the combination of shared rule and self-rule: federalism offers the potential to retain the territorial integrity of the state while providing some form of self-governance for disaffected groups. Thus, a growing literature has emphasized the merits of federalism as “peace preserving.”

Notable, however, is a set of countervailing arguments that include diametrically opposed hypothesis and empirical research reaching very different conclusions. While some argue that federal institutions reduce the likelihood of armed conflict by providing sub-national challengers with institutional channels for voicing their demands, others suggest that such institutions may encourage nationalist mobilization and/or separatist conflict.

Some studies have indicated four key findings in this regard. First, fiscal decentralization increases the likelihood of ethnic rebellion and ethnic protest in contexts where there are high levels of inter-regional inequality. Second, large, encompassing national governing parties increase the likelihood of armed conflict, ethnic rebellion, and ethnic protest when minority regions are excluded from those parties. Third, inter-regional inequality increases the likelihood of ethnic rebellion when ethnic groups are regionally concentrated. Fourth, increased fiscal transfers by central governments to decentralized governments serve to reduce the likelihood of ethnic protest when ethnic groups are regionally concentrated. [Kristien M.B. & Erik Wibbels, “ Diversity, Disparity, and Civil Conflict in Federal States”].

In a seminal work, S. Rufus Davis argued that there was no causal relationship between federalism and anything else:

“The truth of the matter is…. and experience has been the teacher…that some ‘federal’ systems fail, some do not; some promote a great measure of civil liberty, some do not; some are highly adaptive, some are not… Whatever their condition at any one time… it is rarely clear that it is so because of their federalness, or the particular character of their federal institutions, or the special way they practice federalism, or in spite of their federalness.” [S. Rufus Davis, The Federal Principle, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, pp. 211-212]

If Davis is right, then federalism may be associated in some cases with a rise in the frequency and intensity of ethnic problems, and in other cases with a decline in the frequency and intensity of such problems. That is, no consistent relationship would exist between federalism and the rise or decline of ethnic problems, as some critics fret to portray.

The preponderance of scholarly work on the issue in Africa and elsewhere supports the Davis thesis, i.e. it suggests that federalism is not consistently related to the promotion or settlement of ethnic problems. Further, as Robert McKown contends, “neither a federal nor a unitary constitution is a solution to multi-culturally based problems but a structural context within which they may be confronted”. Yet, federalism continues to be viewed by some leaders of minority groups in Africa as a solution to, and by some leaders of majority groups as a cause of, such problems. This brings us to the problematic of federalism: Why would these leaders advocate or oppose something which has not proved to consistently cause or solve ethnic problems? There is no satisfactory answer provided yet.

Federalism is a concrete manifestation of the right to internal self-determination of specific communities in a multi-ethnic or multi-national state. A federal structure of the state has the potential to accommodate the legitimate aspirations of all ethnic, linguistic or religious communities for self-government and protection of their distinct cultural and religious identities, while at the same time guaranteeing equal participation by all communities and by all citizens in the political and economic affairs of the country as a whole. Thus, federalism is considered as a multi-layered political structure that facilitates both unity and diversity: “The federal idea, in short, is generally conceived as a compromise, conveyed by the image of checks and balances between unity and diversity, autonomy and sovereignty, the national and regional.” (Smith 2001, p.5) It is a system that allows for a balance between “…the preservation of the autonomy, the self-consciousness, and the influence of territorially concentrated social groups, on the one hand, (and) desires for a strong country-wide community on the other.”(Simeon/Swinton 1995, p.7) So federalism comes into play as a reasonable design for a political system that secures social unity and political stability within (culturally/ethnically) divided societies.

Federalism is considered as a means to live with cultural diversity. The federal political order allows to give space to the expression of different identities or diversities within a country. It is a political order that allows for the peaceful coexistence of people of varying cultures within one country. It is as well a device for nation building (or the preservation of a nation) as for the preservation and the protection of sub-national political communities. From the point of view of the individual, federalism requires the establishment of multiple loyalties and it facilitates the expression of several identities (being Québécois and Canadian; Corsican and French; [Oromo and Ethiopian]; Tamil Nadu and Indian; Scot and British): “In a stable federal system, the division of jurisdiction between the two orders of government is duplicated by dual identities and loyalties in the psyche of each citizen.” (Cairns 1995, p.34)

However, the question still remains why exactly federalism is an appropriate form of governance in multiethnic societies. Further, we need to ask if federations that are constructed on the basis of ethno-regional markers facilitate the establishment of a dual identity or, as their critics maintain, reinforce, or even reify ethnic, linguistic and/or religious divisions and thus make inter-communal tensions and fragmentation even more probable.

In order to answer these questions, we need to have a look at the empirical evidence as well as the theoretical assumptions concerning federalism. The empirical examples give, at first sight, a rather unclear picture: some federations, such as Switzerland, have been successful in accommodating diversity; others, such as Yugoslavia or Pakistan, have been failures, while still others hang in the balance, such as Canada and Nigeria. We are therefore led to assume that the successful working of a federal system, whether ethnic or other model, depends largely on the particular federal arrangement, its context and the symbolic meanings behind the identificatory boundaries upon which such federalism is constructed. It is necessary to have a closer look at the institutional variations in which a federal system can occur.

Apart from the defining characteristics mentioned above, federal systems can take a variety of shapes and there is no single “model” of federalism! The qualifying adjectives, which are added to the word, such as “quasi-federalism”, “centralized federalism”, “decentralized federalism”, “symmetrical federalism”, ”asymmetrical federalism”, “cooperative federalism” or “executive federalism” give a first glance at this diversity. If we have a look at the existing, real federal systems around the world (for example, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Switzerland and the United States), we realize that each federal system is a system sui generis (or unique to each country or state), both in circumstances which gave birth to it and in the forms that it takes: the relation between the governments on the different levels, the degree to which the subunits are represented within central institutions and the allocation of powers and competencies, differ tremendously between those federal systems.

Some federations emerged from a voluntary contract between previously autonomous states, such as the United States, Switzerland and Canada. In these cases, autonomous states transferred part of their powers to a new central authority. In other cases, unitary states undertook a constitutional reform and restructured as federal systems, so powers were given from an existing national government to the newly created subunits. The second mechanism, which is rather seldom, holds true for Ethiopia and Belgium.

The existing federal systems also differ with regard to their formation. Federalism, when considered as a principle, can be realized in highly different institutional arrangements and political mechanisms. In fact, there is a wide range of federal types and no federal system can be simply adopted and introduced in another state because each institutional design has to consider the specific ethnic composition of a country, the existing identities, the political cleavage structure, its socio-economic state and its history, in short, the “spirit and soul of the people”, as the great 18th century French philosopher Montesquieu, stated a long time ago.

Thus any federal institutional system in Ethiopia may borrow features from existing federal systems but in its overall structure it is likely to be unique to Ethiopia. Ethnic federalism, it is widely believed among social elites in Ethiopia, was adopted as a response to the age-long aspirations of Ethiopia’s diverse “nations, nationalities and peoples” (more than eighty cultural-linguistic communities or ethnic groups) as forcefully propagated by the Ethiopian Student Movement and all progressive forces of the country since the 1960s and 1970s for self-rule and shared-rule and vehemently opposed to the policy of centralization and assimilation pursued by the past successive regimes of the country. Thus, the programme of ethnic federalism undoubtedly reflected the “soul and spirit” of the Ethiopian “nations, nationalities and peoples”, and today ethnic federalism just works well for them, even though some advocates of the nation-state model of nation-building do not support it at all whereas some political forces such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) believe that the implementation of ethnic federalism is still not deep enough, that is, the FDRE Constitution that recognizes the constitutional right of self-determination, including the right to secession is not fully and satisfactorily implemented due to the ruling party’s and state’s alleged centralizing role.

Finally, it must be clearly and firmly stated that it is absolutely difficult to formulate abstract generalizations about federal institutions and the prospects for their stability, since it might well be that institutions that work perfectly in one context will fail to perform if transplanted to another. This paper rejects the notion that federalism can be a one-size-fits-all solution to ethnic and other forms of intrastate conflict. Instead, it proposes a vision of federalism deeply rooted in the specific features of diverse societies.

Some systems that name themselves “federal” in their constitution would not be given this attribute from another point of view, or, to put it differently, “federalism” means different things at different places and different times, so also “ethnic federalism” in Ethiopia today. And, ethnic federalism in Ethiopia will succeed if it serves as a political tool to manage our ethnic diversity and to strengthen our democratic unity based on equality and equitable sharing of the political and economic resources of the country as well as our capability to solve the ever-nagging problems of underdevelopment, and the intermittent/internecine ethnic conflicts over resources, identity and state power. It will undoubtedly fail if it cannot help us resolve these problems and if it is not widely embraced, based on its performance, by the majority of social elites as well as the general populace of Ethiopia. Furthermore, it should be well understood that neither federalism/ ethnic federalism, nor any other constitutional arrangement, can be a panacea for resolving ethnic conflicts or other socio-economic and political problems in Ethiopia or elsewhere. Whatever the case, ethnic federalism is destined to stay with us for a long time to come; it will, of course, survive longer if and only if it continues to enjoy the wide support of the majority of the Ethiopian population and social elites at home and abroad. On the other hand, it is bound to fail, as any constitutional engineering or experiment by ruling elites, the day it is denied such overwhelming support, which seems not the case as the prevailing reality strongly shows in Ethiopia today. Lastly, I would like to conclude the paper with the thought-provoking words of one of our best economists of modern-day Ethiopia, Dr Eshetu Chole:

“…Politically, the era of centralization seems to have come to an end, and this is as it should be. A multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious society such as ours cannot and should not be administered in a highly centralized manner. That people in their respective localities have the right to administer themselves, exercise a degree of command over their own resources, and develop their own cultures and languages must be taken as axiomatic…But there must also be unity within diversity. In the past we emphasized unity at the expense of diversity, and we have paid dearly for it. Let us hope that now we will not move to the other extreme and emphasize diversity at the expense of unity.” [Eshetu Chole, “Ethiopia At the Crossroads…”, DIALOGUE, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia].

If Dr Eshetu Chole is right, then, it would be unwise of us to brush aside ethnic federalism as a mistaken or misguided model of federalism. Let us see how it works and judge it over its performance and outcome in the years to come instead of categorically condemning this novel experiment or project as unworkable and destructive.

Lastly, let us not forget that Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious national state. Under these circumstances, ethnicity cannot be wished away; instead, it could serve us as “an organizing principle”, as political scholars have already suggested, and ethnicity could be managed through internal self-determination. It is worth noting the late Samora Machel of Mozambique who, at a stage, decided to try the policy “for the sake of the nation, the tribe must die,” but, I think, found out his mistake in due time. Let us not fall into the trap of making that same mistake ever.

email: habisso@yahoo.co.uk

Reminiscing the Ugly Past toward Building a Bright and Better Future Together:

The Consequences of ‘Settler Rule’ (‘Neftegna System’) Over the Southern Peoples [From Menelik II (1889-1913) to Haile Sellassie I (1930-1974)]

(By Tesfaye Habisso: May 15, 2012)

The purpose of this memoir is not to instill feelings of hostility amongst the Southern Ethiopian Peoples towards the Amhara or the Tigrai people or both (there are, and have been, some fanatic and extremist groups already fretting to do just that) but to briefly reminisce some very sensitive aspects of the past history of the Southerners—the Oromo, the Sidama, the Wolayta, the Hadiya, the Kambata, the Gedeo, the Gurage, the Kaffa, the Yem, the Gamo, the Gofa, the Dawro, the Dorze, et.c. – and the tortuous ordeals faced by these peoples in their struggles to shape their own destiny,as we prepare ourselves to celebrate Guinbot 20—a historic day and a momentous occasion which affirmed, at least symbolically, the equality of all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia and to the equitable sharing of the political and economic resources of the country, and a day wherein we unambiguously and unflinchingly renew our solemn resolve and vow to right the wrongs of the past in a concrete manner and to insure that the ugly past will never again resuscitate in this ‘nation of many nations.’ It is in this noble spirit that I present this piece of mine to all compatriots here at home and elsewhere in foreign lands.

As the eminent Indian historian Dr. R.C. Majumbar wrote, history should express the truth, without fear, envy, malice, passion or prejudice and irrespective of all extraneous considerations. This comment precisely sums up what is expected of a historian when he/she writes down a narration or a report or a book. Majumbar further emphasizes that the “sole aim of the history is to find out the truth by following the canons commonly accepted as sound by all historians”. As another Indian historian, Vinod Kumar, notes: “Whether the past history glorifies anyone or is full of ugly incidents, the future generations must be told. There is no shame in telling the truth.”

More than eight decades of Amhara rule over the Southern Peoples starting from the reign of Emperor Menelik II to the downfall of Emperor Haile Sellassie I in 1974 decapitated most indigenous political structures of the Southern Peoples by removing the highest levels of traditional authority, but did not completely demolish them. The preservation of traditional authority in the form of “balabatnet”(chieftaincy) helped cushion the blow and maintain continuity, while also facilitating the task of the rulers. Nevertheless, for several decades the relationship between northerner and southerner in this area had been that of master and subject, landlord and tenant, tax collector and tax payer. Above all, the horrors of Menelik’s conquest when the relatively unarmed tribesmen and women, old and young, were indiscriminately mown down by the emperor’s riflemen spread fear, trepidation, servility, abasement and despair among the southern peasantry. A Hadiya hero’s lamentations, following his close friend’s (Lachamo Gagabo) hanging by the Amhara because of Lachamo’s alleged engagement in slave trade, vividly explains the uselessness of resistance at the time in the following words:

“Ganamakena, fettfettakena, Amaleki godab sabatim, giirra wojjija,

Gibaaka, dar-agakena, goluns-ladamim ttooroyo yaako’o! ( Literally, the meaning goes more or less like this: We cannot fight the Amhara as their waists are equipped with fire spitting bullets; we cannot escape them and flee to distant lands as the bullets travel in such a speed that even the vultures/birds of the sky cannot escape them.”

This precarious situation was further aggravated by the complete expropriation of their lands which were the main source of livelihood, pride and dignity in traditional Ethiopia. Even the highest traditional authority symbolized by the “balabat” (chief) was less significant and less influential when compared to the role of a simple northern settler or “nefteigna” (gun-bearer). The latter was given a higher social and political status than the “balabat” before the Amhara courts of justice, police, prisons, churches, and governors. The “balabat” was only a functionary tool for facilitating the rule of the northerners, and for this service he was given “balabat-land”. The majority of the southern peoples were reduced to landless tenancy and servitude. As Margery Perham stated:

The principle that tribute rested on the land rather than on the “gabbar” (tenant) was easily forgotten, and in these wide depopulated regions it was more important to be allotted so many “gabbars” than so much land…. Generally speaking, especially in the Negro and Sidamo provinces, the position of “gabbar” became hardily distinguishable from slavery.[1]

An Ethiopian political scientist, Gebru Mersha, succinctly points out thus: “…The situation in the conquered territories of the south was totally different [from that of the northern Christian provinces]. Here a foreign power, foreign in all its senses, imposed on the vanquished its political, economic and cultural domination and as a result a new set of political, economic and ideological relations were established. The violence visited upon the peoples, both to achieve the conquest and to maintain the empire was of such ruthlessness that the conquered peoples were reduced to serfs and slaves and their conditions were akin to those of the other African peoples subjugated by European colonialists.”[2]

Indeed, a British visitor to these provinces in the middle thirties, though friendly to Ethiopia, said it was far worse.[3] Meanwhile, the slave trade itself was a constant drain upon the subject peoples. It is thus mainly the status of gabbar as extended to the conquered provinces which gave the word its peculiarly evil significance outside Ethiopia. Mrs. Sandford admits that the gabbar status ‘was responsible for much of the misery of the distant provinces where appeal was impossible and resistance useless’.[4]

Northern officials posted in the south acted as supreme rulers, and the submissiveness of the peasantry tended to reinforce the officials’ self-image The peoples of the south had felt the weight not only of the power vested formally in the officials, but the entire “neftegna” and northern settler groups settled in their midst—all of whom had been considered representatives of the ruling power. “The bone of the “ensete”(false banana plant) is in the root; the power of the Amhara lies somewhere else”, runs a Kambata proverb indicating that Amhara power derived from the state. Recourse against the abuse of such power, the southern peasant has felt, expressed itself in endless rebellions, intermittent revolts, skirmishes and ambushes of ‘neftegna’ contingents moving from one area to another throughout the rule of both Emperor Menelik II and Haile Sellassie I . Another Kambata proverb declares:’ To accuse one Amhara before another Amhara is like trying to separate water from water’; and still another says: ‘A Kambata who has cut a tree is guiltier than an Amhara who has killed a man.’ [5]

The most significant manifestation of Amhara power in this region was the initial expropriation and continuous alienation of land. In retrospect as well as future prospect, this was likely to prove the most profound consequence of Amhara rule in this region during the first half of the 20th century. Understandably, it gave rise to profound resentment among the peoples affected by it. An Oromo proverb says, ‘Where the Amhara tread the grass grows no more’. ‘Menelik gave the land to the Amhara, and other people to the birds’, laments a Wolayta saying, meaning that the loss of their land reduced other people to corpses to be eaten by birds. The hateful exactions imposed by the officials and landlords have inspired numerous sayings which depict the Amhara, with remarkable unanimity, as grasping and devious. According to the Harari (Adare) from Harar, ‘An ordinary person is born with crossed hands, an Amhara is born with outstretched hands’, while the Wolayta observe that ‘the Amhara and the wolf count sheep they haven’t raised.’ [6]

Thus the expropriation of southern land and its distribution to northerners added new and potentially explosive dimensions to the pattern of ethnic group differentiation in southern Ethiopia. The result of the continuous process of land alienation in the south had been the creation of a large landowner class confronting a vast class of landless peasants. The majority of the landlord class consisted of Amhara-Tigrai groups from the northern highlands who had acquired land in the south since the imposition of Amhara rule by virtue of their association with the ruling power. All the tenants were natives of the region, and most of them were followers of traditional beliefs or Muslims. Practically all of the landless peasants subsisted as tenants on the holdings of the landlords, a large number of whom were absentees. As mentioned earlier, these situations obliged the indigenous populations to develop immense hatred and hostility toward the Amhara, which has persisted and lingered for many decades in the past and till recent times. A Tambaro saying explained this hatred in the following words: “Woma Chofro, woshak se’erie, Wombo-Hauzulla Amhara toffi”! (meaning, “Woma (king) Chofro, deliver us from your dogs; Wombo-Hauzula(two clan gods), destroy the Amhara!)

This hatred and hostility witnessed itself in the form of many peasant uprisings at different periods in the past. Even during the Italian war of occupation against Ethiopia in 1935, the southern peasantry rose up and made bitter struggles to reclaim their lands from the ‘neftegnas’ and attacked the latter’s centres (ketemas) as soon as the ‘balabats’ and their masters left for the war front in Maichew. Upon the defeat of the Ethiopians at the battle of Maichew and the consequent exile of Emperor Haile Sellassie to Great Britain, the newly installed fascist rulers removed the gabbar system and returned the lands of the southern peoples to their rightful owners but this was shortly reversed after independence from Italy in 1941 when the same lands were again distributed among the northern officials and their faithful servants in addition to the former neftegnas and northern settlers of the Menelikian period.

The effect of expropriation of lands and the multiple exactions imposed on the southern peasantry by the new landholders and by their own balabats forced many a peasant to quit their tenancy and flee to urban as well as industrial areas, coffee and sugar cane plantations, and other commercial centres to escape slavery and exploitation perpetrated against them by their masters—the landholders. The consequences of Amhara occupation and rule enhanced the supremacy of the Amharas and the neftegnas in the south and degraded the status of the indigenous peoples in general, whether balabat or gabbar. The negative effect was particularly devastating upon the few educated sons and daughters of the south. When these missionary-educated individuals came out to see for themselves that the lands were not theirs and their parents, in addition to labouring on the crop fields of the Amhara landholders, had to pay so many taxes/fees to the government as well as their landlords and that there were no native officials—governors, police chiefs and other officers, prison chiefs, priests and church officials, military officers, etc., to protect their peoples’ interests and rights, they felt degraded and ashamed of themselves—ashamed of everything they possessed: their culture, their national identity, even their personal indigenous names and their parents names, their own people and their everything. This was further aggravated by the Amhara landholders and other officials of the state and the Orthodox Church who considered the natives as uncouth and primitive and insulted them, called them bad names such as ‘stinking, cowards, ugly, thieves, etc’

All the bad and ugly things on earth belonged to the natives; all the good and beautiful attributes belonged to the Amhara, so to speak. Owing to this master-servant relationship or categorization, the half-baked elites of the south developed the mentality of the colonized (after all, the situation was nothing less than ‘internal colonialism’ to paraphrase the African-American intellectuals of the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s). Thus they sought every way and every means to escape this degrading situation. The only salvation they found was Amharaization—adopting Amhara names, Amhara culture and custom, Amhara language—in parallel to renouncing their indigenous ones. Others hastened to be Christened to Catholicism and Protestantism thus adopting in mass Catholic and Protestant Biblical names. As Franz Fanon put it:

“Every colonized people—in other words, every people in whose soul an inferiority complex has been created by the death and burial of its local cultural originality—finds itself face to face with the language of the civilizing nation; that is with the culture of the mother country. The colonized is elevated above the jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country’s cultural standards. He becomes Whiter as he renounces his Blackness, his jungle..”[7] This was beyond any doubt true as regards the position adopted then by the southern elites/intellectuals in general and that still persists today even if in a lesser intensity than before.

When I joined the former Haile Sellassie I University College (UCAA) in 1965, I was shocked to observe that with the exception of the Amhara, Tigrai, and Oromo (those of Wollega and Harar), no other languages were spoken by students coming from other provinces and no cultural shows from these areas were presented to the university community by these students, not because the university rules and regulations or practices forbade them to do so but because they were skillfully injected with fear, inferiority complex, despair, abasement and shame through the soul-saving campaigns of the Orthodox Church and the civilizing missions of Menelik’s governors and ‘neftegnas’—decades of feudal rule under the iron hand of Amhara landholders and governors. It was only after the question of nationalities was boldly exploded by some of the vocal student leaders such as Birhane-Mesquel Redda, Ibssa Guutemma, and more so, after Wallelign Mekonen’s “On the Question of Nationalities in Ethiopia” in 1969, that the Gurage, the Kambata, the Wolayta, the Gamo, etc. began to speak in their own languages amongst themselves in the university compound and to present cultural shows to the university community. It took many years of student struggles to show to these dehumanized intellectuals/elites of the south that the problem was nothing short of the liberation of the southerners first from themselves and then fight in class alliance with the rest of Ethiopians to liberate the toiling masses from feudal exploitation and misery. It was correctly propagated that the southerner who adored and wanted to turn his nationality/identity to Amhara was as miserable as the one who preached hatred for the Amhara (to paraphrase Franz Fanon). The southern or northern intellectuals were taught to tear off with all their strength the shameful livery put together by centuries of incomprehension and struggle in unison to build a democratic and prosperous Ethiopia, a better future for all its citizens. This correct stand taken by the student world indeed made great contributions to the Ethiopian revolution of 1974 that stamped out the vestiges of feudalism and monarchical order and opened a new era of building a federal democratic republic for which cause many intellectuals, workers and peasants had sacrificed their dear lives.

As explained clearly here above, it was not, and still is not, my purpose to instill feelings of hostility in others towards the Amhara or Tigrai or any other ethnic group for that matter, which would tantamount to a load of crap bordering on ethnocentrism, at the least, or racism, at the worst. My purpose was, and still is, to put the record straight and to unravel every aspect of our past history and place it in its proper perspective so that we may not forget them and also, more importantly, to be able to right the wrongs of the past, to leave the past where it belongs and to move on to shape a better future for all ethnic, religious and linguistic- cultural communities based on equality and equitable sharing of the political and economic resources of the nation, making sure that the injustices of the past will never resurface in our country in the future. After all, we all live in our time and for our time, and we will all be judged by our time. There is no wisdom in lamenting about the ugly past, though we cannot forget it, once we have put in place all institutions necessary to safeguard our hard-won rights and liberties. This is what would guarantee a better livable Ethiopia for all of its peoples—a morally just, democratic, peaceful, prosperous, and stable order and a meaningful unity in diversity, nothing else. We have to struggle hard to realize it, we need not expect it as Manna from heaven.

The source and root cause for the still persisting lack of confidence for self-identification as Southerners, and the inferiority complex, the self-hate, etc. suffered by the southerners even today goes as far back to the 19th century and it is due to the brutal legacy of subjugation and dehumanization suffered by the Southerners in the process of the “invention of the Ethiopian empire state”. As history clearly witnesses the conquered peoples were treated as pagans, barbarians and uncivilized savages. All resistance from them was harshly suppressed with impunity. Their languages were not considered as the languages of human beings but of birds (“ye wof quanqua”); their cultures barbaric, their religions, and their political and judicial systems were considered as backward and uncivilized; their lands which were their only source of dignity were dispossessed by the conquerors and their followers (the ‘neftegnas’), reducing the once proud peoples to the level of serfs and slaves; even their names were despised and they had to be forcefully baptized; they had to carry Amharic or Christian names (Yohannis, Wolde Mariam, Gebre Mariam, Yohannes, Markos, Gebre Medhin, Gebre Kristos, Gebre Wold, etc) to be trustworthy of being a faithful serf or servant or slave. Peasants – men, women and their children—were obliged to render services to the governors and the ‘neftegnas’ every day of the week; the serfs had to till, sow, harvest, and store on the farms of their alien masters; they had to give away 75% of their own farm produce of their own land as tenants to the latter; they had to pay innumerable taxes throughout a year (even to give bribe so that the clerks at the treasury would receive the taxes on time: ‘Yeterepesa gibir’). Failure to fulfill these obligations entailed harsh punishments. The conquered peoples were categorically dubbed Gallas; and ‘Gallas’ according to the ideologues of the ruling class during those days, such as Aleka Kidanewold Kifle and Desta Teklewold (Refer to their Amharic dictionaries of the day) comprised all the non- Amhara/Tigrai groups inside the empire-state and were considered “uncouth, uncivilized,” and ‘the blood enemies of the Amhara’ (‘Yalseletene’, ‘Aremene’, ‘Yeamara demegna telat’) and were to be mercilessly killed on petty offences and pretexts. All virtues belonged to the Amhara, and all the bad and ugly things belonged to the Gallas, so to speak. From the conquerors’ point of view all these denigrating and dehumanizing actions and atrocities were understandable--- unless the conquered peoples were utterly subjugated and dehumanized and reduced to the level of beasts of burden, it would have been very difficult for the conquerors to rule over them. All rulers prefer it that way, as dehumanized, fearful people are easier to rule than assertive, courageous ones. It is a timeless truth. This was in fact the glaring feature of European colonialism as well during the 19th century scramble for Africa, and, for that matter, all colonialism whether it was directed against Asia, Latin America, Australia or Oceania.

When we come back to the Ethiopian situation of the beginning of the 20th century, all the conquered peoples were ruled by governors sent from the north or from the center, whether at the Woreda, Awraja or Province levels; there were no indigenous government officials, neither police officers nor school directors (if there were any government schools in the first place), etc. Even there were no indigenous orthodox priests. Such was the bestiality of the whole system in place. It was utterly dehumanizing and barbaric.

When the elite of the South, those half-baked and missionary-educated elites, came face to face with these ugly realties, they felt ashamed of themselves; ashamed of their landless fathers and mothers; they hated everything that was theirs: their own languages, cultures, history, even their own names, etc. It was utterly devastating for them. So, they hastened to look for escape routes, and they discovered that their only salvation lay in Amharanization--adopting Amharic names (sometimes even changing their fathers’ and grandfathers’ names into Amharic), Amharic language, Amharic culture, Amharic identity; in short, assimilation into the dominant Amhara culture. This was, and is, the root cause for the so-called inferiority complex, self-hate and identity crisis suffered by the Southerners that you quite eloquently analyzed in your brief expose on this topical issue.

The reverse psychological inflation of many an Amhara elite, whom some call chauvinists, is also the direct outcome of this age-long subjugation of the South by their ancestors. (It is indeed very strange how any healthy minds would fail to appreciate the bestiality of this past but instead feel arrogant and boastful of subjugating others and still struggle to perpetuate that evil system in Ethiopia even today). Let this be acknowledged as the undeniable truth, instead of running around the bush, so that we can all be able to build a better Ethiopia based on equality and justice for all. Otherwise, let us not forget that even Papua New Guinea with a population of less than 20,000 is a fully-fledged sovereign state and a member of the UN.

As we all remember, in 1991, the Ethiopian empire-state was on the brink of disintegration into its component parts. The elites who represented the Southerners and many others hailing from the conquered and hitherto oppressed nationalities of the Ethiopian Empire State made a conscious effort to avert or prevent the then hovering possibility of disintegration of the empire-state into its component parts by rallying around the Transitional Period Charter and effecting a radical transformation of the empire-state. There were about 17 national liberation movements at the time.

Let us not try to belittle or underestimate that conscious effort. It is indeed puzzling when some of the best sons and daughters of the South do not bother to think twice before accusing the current regime of “open advocacy of tribal or ethnic fragmentation of our people and society” and suggesting that the government “—is supposed to strengthen and promote national unity by all means necessary” (emphasis is mine) even if these means for achieving unity entailed the absolute centralization and homogenization, through a dominant language and culture, as was tried during Emperor Haile Sellassie’s reign but which was proved to be futile, bankrupt, and self-defeating. No ethnic group, I repeat, no ethnic group or nationality, in today’s Ethiopia is prepared and willing to pay the price of assimilation into a dominant culture, be it Amhara, or Oromo, or Tigrai, in order to become an Ethiopian citizen. Let us not entertain any illusions in this regard. The ugly past will never resuscitate or resurrect in Ethiopia. Never again!

What will guarantee our peaceful co-existence together as a ‘nation of many nations’ is an institutional design or constitutional engineering as some would call it that respects and struggles for ethnic harmony based on equality and ethnic self-determination under a federal state that upholds and safeguards self-rule at the nationality level and shared rule at the regional and federal/central level. That, at least, has been proclaimed and entrenched formally in the FDRE constitution thanks to the bitter struggles of the hitherto oppressed peoples. This arrangement is akin to the arrangement implemented in many multi-ethnic states such as Belgium, Canada, Switzerland and many others that cater for peaceful ethnic co-existence under a multi-ethnic/multinational federal structure.

Self-rule or self-determination, however, does not and cannot mean ethnic fractionalization, fragmentation or exclusiveness; neither does it mean the balkanization of countries nor the dismemberment of their nations, nationalities and peoples into mini-states. Self-determination does not at all mean “other extermination” as witnessed in Rwanda, Burundi, Yugoslavia, the former USSR and elsewhere. Further, it does not at all mean tribalism and looking after one’s own tribal members first in national life and becoming tribal chiefs instead of national statesmen. It does not in any way entertain nepotism, patronage and corruption. It is simply arranging a democratic way of life for peaceful coexistence in a multi-ethnic, multi-national and multi-cultural society, based on interdependence, equality and justice of all. Most often, it is only when ethnic self-determination is denied that ethnic conflicts flare up and destabilize a country, though such conflicts also occur due to conflicts over scarce resources, power-sharing and the like reasons.

Here, it must be made clear that any process which sees itself as “purely” ethnic or national can hold catastrophic contradictions. No people can be entirely self-sufficient. Contemporary society resembles a woven fabric and this is a characteristic common to different peoples and ethnic groups, with different languages, customs and beliefs. National interests must go hand in hand with social and economic rights and with democracy. Otherwise they are hollow and shallow. Nationalism and religion must be made as tolerant as possible for peaceful coexistence. Blind nationalism and blind religious fanaticism would undoubtedly blind our intelligence. We have no choice but to live together in peace, and this naked truth must guide us towards a form of integration which will at the same time, allow for the full development of each constituent ethnic group, nationality and language community based on mutual benefits and interdependence. We have to emphasize, cultivate and nurture our common bondage and destiny and not our differences; we have to manage the latter properly, and not try to obliterate them. It is self-defeating and futile. Finally, “let us not scratch where it does not itch”, as they say. Our prime enemies today are poverty and lack of good governance, absence of well-functioning democracy and rule of law, and not ‘recognizing the right of self-determination’ for the 80 or so nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, as alleged by proponents of centralization and assimilation policies of the ancient regime. Let us all positively contribute toward the realization of a democratic, prosperous and federal Ethiopia.

Saying Goodbye to a Great and Visionary Leader

(By Tesfaye Habisso: August 30, 2012)

The first time I met Meles Zenawi I was 44 years old and he was 36, during the July Peace and Democracy Conference of 1991 which brought together most of the contending political forces

operating in the country prior to the fall of the military junta (“Derg”) led by Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam. The conference was known as the Transitional Period Conference which after thorough and heated debates and deliberations among the participants was able to design and agree on a Transitional Period Charter, akin to a constitution of an emerging democracy, that effectively ended the previous dark period of internecine conflicts and ethnic strife across the country and subsequently established the Transitional Council of Representatives (CoR) and Government (TGE) which paved the way to the realization of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution and Government in 1991- 1995. I was then Member and Secretary of the Council of Representatives (1991-1995).

Throughout his tenure as President of the Transitional Government and Chairman of the Transitional

Council of Representatives (1991-1995) and as Prime Minister of the FDRE Government (1995-2012), Meles proved himself to be a person of enviable intellectual prowess, vision, integrity, decisiveness and selfless commitment and dedication who persistently, consistently and tirelessly struggled day in, day out without any rest and leisure to eradicate our long-afflicting poverty, hopelessness and the attendant national shame and despair from the pages of the history of modern-day Ethiopia and the Ethiopians once and for all. Toward this end, he utilized his admirable intellectual capability and the assistance of his selected experts of high caliber around him to formulate numerous pro-poor social and economic policies and strategies geared toward achieving very rapid and sustainable economic development that would benefit all regions and peoples of Ethiopia equitably and fairly in order to insure social and economic justice denied for long by the past successive regimes of Ethiopia. Spectacular and tangible successes have been registered in this regard which are commended and acknowledged by all development partners, friends and foes alike at home and abroad. But this exceptional leader’s life has been nipped in the bud halfway in the ocean while ferociously swimming and fighting against the storms of poverty and deprivation aimed at extricating the whole nation of Ethiopia from the doldrums of human development.

The last time I met Meles was in 2010 during the International Federalism Conference hosted by the

FDRE Government in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, at the UNDP/ECA Hall and later at a luncheon invitation for the participants of the conference at the National Palace; we had a brief chat, he was pale and his skin complexion a bit whitish brown. I sensed out of my gut feeling that everything wasn’t fine with Meles Zenawi healthwise. Sadly, it turned out to be the only time I got to be near him as two years later, he died from some illness while being treated in a foreign hospital. While the news hit me hard, what I remember most from post-Meles’ death was the sounds/voices of his wife’s and daughters’ and close friends and family members’ mournful and inconsolable weeping while coming down the stairs of Ethiopian jetliner that carried the prime minister’s remains from a foreign country to Addis Abeba,

Ethiopia. It was utterly heart-breaking and devastating for any parent to see Meles’ daughters crying out to their father who just mere weeks earlier had held them in his arms to say what turned out to be his last goodbye. Of course, the loss of a beloved and admired one is something we all have to deal with at one point or another, either directly in our own family or indirectly through the loss experienced by one of our friends. The sad irony, though, is that no matter how many times we experience this emotional turmoil—of feelings of pain, loss and sadness—it doesn’t get any easier to handle, nor does it help us understand better what our family/friends need us to say or do. I suppose the main reason for that is because the death of a person doesn’t simply mean the end of their life; it also marks the end of the relationships they had with those around them, of the bonds that held them together. In that light, it’s understandable that the loss of some people will impact us far greater than others and why we can never really prepare for the loss of someone dear to our hearts, no matter how many times we’ve already endured it.

This issue came to mind after hearing a friend discuss the growing reality that he might lose his dad to cancer. As I saw when my own father died, in 1995, the loss of a parent can be difficult to handle at any age, especially if the bond between the parent and a child is a strong one; I know Meles’ bond with his off-springs was very strong, as he confided to me some years back. The truth is the death of a parent represents not only the loss of a father or mother, but also the end of a relationship that has spanned all our life. More than any other person, our parents have been the ones that helped us shape not only our lives, but who we ultimately become. And yet, perhaps this is one way to finally overcome our grief and sense of loss; that in the end, what will matter more is not their departure from our lives, but the impact, the difference, they’ve made to it. That’s not to say the pain would be any less or difficult; rather, that perhaps this may be that light at the end of the tunnel that allows us to make peace with this loss. No matter how many times we suffer the pain of losing a loved one, it never prepares us for the next time we have to endure it. But maybe that’s just part of the process we need to go through to remember the difference they’ve made in our lives.

For me and for many of my close friends at home and abroad, Meles Zenawi was undoubtedly like the Sun among the numberless equally big/large and shining stars in the galaxy. He was so bright and so shining compared to the timid other stars sparsely spread far and wide across the fathomless sky. The Sun Meles has set now, it’s all darkness; for the whole country, for the people, for the ruling party and government. It will surely take some time before daylight overcomes again. For the time being, fear, anxiety and uncertainty seem to fill the air and grip the whole nation. Yes, the whole nation is deeply mourning the death of its great son and a beloved leader; rural peasants and urban dwellers in huge numbers are assembled in the Mesqel Square, weeping and wailing with utmost grief and sorrow.

What is in store for us in the near future, only time will tell. Whatever the case, the nation has unambiguously but sadly lost a great and visionary leader of all times. May his soul rest in peace. May God the almighty grant strength, consolation and peace to his wife First Lady Azeb Mesfin and his dear daughters Semhal and Marda, and his brothers, sisters and other close family members.

The Importance of Self-Initiative in Changing Our People’s Lives for the Better:

The Case of the Kambaata-Tambaro Zone

(By Tesfaye Habisso: Oct. 05, 2013)

“Our task is not to fix the blame for the past---but to help fix the course for the future” [John F. Kennedy] When the popularly elected constituent assembly representatives of the more than eighty ethnic nationalities of Ethiopia—“nations, nationalities and peoples” in the constitution’s parlance-- deliberated upon and ratified the FDRE Constitution of October 1994, the Kambaata-Tambaro Zone ethnic groups (Kambaata, Tambaro, Donga) also ululated, jumped up and down and expressed their utmost joy and jubilation at the recognition of their long-denied right of national self-determination. As proud nations, nationalities and peoples henceforth, they solemnly took upon themselves the heavy patriotic responsibility and constitutional right of determining their own affairs by themselves, developing their Zone as well as their culture, language and history by themselves and making their own decisions on all political, economic and social affairs affecting their peoples by themselves, as did all the nations, nationalities and peoples of the nine regions constituting the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia [FDRE]. These constitutional rights are not empty slogans but political rights won after decades of bitter struggles and bloodshed and thus requiring all the beneficiaries of these rights to take the self-initiative and to make relentless efforts towards translating them into deeds and implementing them duly and without any complacency.

The three-day long symposium [September 23-25, 2013] organized by the Kambata-Tambaro Zone officials and functionaries in collaboration with business people, NGOs, sponsors and intellectuals hailing from the Zone and its environs was aimed at re-focusing and re-emphasizing on the significance of taking the self-initiative as the integral component of exercising the right of national self-determination and to rise up in unison to change the socio-economic and political face of the Zone, to kick-start fast and sustainable economic development relying on the abundant labor force and meager capital and land resources available in the Zone, in brief to extricate the Zone’s population from rampant unemployment, abject poverty and economic deprivation as well as to arrest the heretofore ongoing mass exodus of the Zone’s youth to Saudi Arabia, South Africa and elsewhere in search of greener pastures.

Indeed, it was an historic event and a memorable occasion for the Zone and its people. Due credit should be given to the Zone’s Chief Administrator, Mr. Abbuto Annito, the Zone’s Cabinet and staff, and to all those who planned, organized, staffed, financed and fully participated in the symposium from the beginning to the end. The formidable challenge of mobilizing the people of the Zone towards accelerated socio-economic development and taking the self-initiative to identify the core problems hindering this objective and struggling hard to tackle and resolve these perennial malaise, however, should, and must, lie upon the shoulders of the Zone’s people, its leaders and the dynamic youth (the future leaders of the Zone).

This point should be emphasized again and again in view of some misguided and wrong-headed illusions circulating amongst the Zone’s population, in particular the youth, that the burden of developing the Zone lies somewhere else; that the poor quality of education and other infrastructure, youth unemployment, the closure of the Massala Hotel, the delay or halt of the Mazoriya-Durame-Shinshicho highway asphalt construction, so and so forth, should be resolved solely by the federal or regional administration and the Zone’s administration and the people at large have nothing to do with these issues. This is the anti-thesis of national self-determination and self-governance that we danced and sang for in 1994. Who is to rise up and question why these shortcomings and problems are confronting the people if not the people themselves? For instance, have the people of the Zone ever demanded explanations from the relevant zonal and regional offices why the highway junction from Mazoriya to Durame to Shinschicho is suddenly halted by the contractor? Have they ever attempted a peaceful demonstration and protest opposing or objecting certain unlawful decisions made by the zonal or woreda (district) administrations that affect them negatively? Do they know that this is their constitutional right? “Even a mother does not, and cannot, remember and give the necessary attention and care for those children of hers who do not cry loud and clear and demand for their existential needs on time”, say the Kambata. Who would give the necessary attention and answer a call for help to a submissive, docile and servile people or person? No one!

Further, who is to resolve the closure and the consequent hardships suffered by the owners as well as prospective customers of the hotel if not the Durame town administration and the urban dwellers themselves? Who is to overcome the poor quality of education in the Zone if not those professionals in the area of education themselves in cooperation with the Zone’s Administration, the Regional Education Bureaus and other relevant federal offices? Others, including the Regional Government and the Central/Federal Administration, can only play the constitutional role of supporting, assisting and coordinating the development efforts of the Zone, yes only a catalytic role, but the ultimate responsibility of effecting fundamental changes in the economic situation of the Zone and improving the living standards of the people lies on our shoulders, the elected leaders and public servants as well as elites/intellectuals of the Zone. No buck-passing, no blame game!

It must be fully understood that any development, whether economic or political or social, will only come from within and not from outside; no one can play the proverbial role of the Judaic Moses to lift us out of poverty, hopelessness and helplessness but ourselves through our own toil and labour, through our unified and concerted efforts. There is no gain without pain, as the old saying goes. Therefore, the need to identify and assume ownership of the major problems of the people and struggle hard to resolve them, and finally find ourselves answering, or being accountable, for our own actions. There are no short-cut solutions, no easy ways out. It is our historic and civic responsibility to change and improve our lot, to create a better livable Kambata-Tambaro Zone through our own toil and sweat. Finally, let us not forget the proverbial adage: “GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES.” Surely, not those who sit idly and hopelessly and yearn for some handouts from others or put themselves on dole cues from local and expatriate NGOs or donors. One can also find a passage in the Koran with similar sentiments: “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Koran, Ch. 13:11] https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=t4wun-L-zOo Continue reading

የከምባታ ጠምባሮ ህዝብ፣ “በልማቱ ረገድ በመንግስት በኩል ዞኑ ፍትሃዊ ስርጭት ተነፍጓል” ሲል በሰልፍ ጠየቀ

የከምባታ ጠምባሮ ህዝብ መንግስት ትኩረት እንዲሰጠውና እንደሌሎቹ የደቡብ ክልል ዞኖች በልማቱ ረገድ ፍትሃዊ ስርጭት ኖሮት ተጠቃሚ እንዲያደርገው በሰላማዊ ሰልፍ ጠየቀ

(ዱራሜ - የካቲት 10፣ 2007 ዓ.ም)

...

The Ethiopian Airlines

በከምባታ ጠምባሮ ዞን ማዕከል በዱራሜ ከተማ ትናንት ማክሰኞ የካቲት3 ቀን 2007 ዓም ባካሄደው ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ መንግስት ለዞኑ ዕድገት ትኩረት እንዲሰጠውና እንደሌሎቹ የደቡብ ክልል ዞኖች በልማቱ ረገድ ፍትሃዊ ስርጭት እንዲያደርግ ጥሪውን አስተላልፏል፡፡ በሰላማዊ ሰልፉ ህዝቡ ጩሀቱ የልማት እጦቱን በሚመለከት እንጂ ሌላ ፖለቲካዊ ዓላማ እንደሌለው የገለጸ ሲሆን፤ በህዝብ ተሳትፎ ከተሰሩት አብዛኛዎቹ መሰረተ ልማቶች በስተቀር መንግስት የሚያደርጋቸው በበጀት የተደገፉ ፕሮጀክቶችና ወሳኝ በሆኑ መሰረተ ልማቶች ረገድ ባይተዋር መደረጉ ተገቢ እንዳልሆነ በመግለጽ ጩሀቱን አስተጋብቷል፡፡

በከምባታ ጠምባሮ ዞን ከኢህአዴግ አስተዳደርም በፊት ህዝቡ በራሱ ተነሳሽነት እንደሚያደርገው በያካባቢው ያሉትን መንገዶች በመስራት፣ ትምህርት ቤቶችንም ሆነ የህክምና ማዕከላትን ከአንዳንድ የእርዳታ ድርጅቶችና ከቤተክርስቲያናት ጋር በመተባበር እየገነባ ማንንም ሳያስቸግር ተጠቃሚ የነበረ ሲሆን ባሁኑ ወቅት በመንግስት ድጋፍ የዱራሜ ሆስፒታል ተከፍቶ አገልገሎት እየሰጠ መሆኑ ይታወቃል፡፡ ይሁን እንጂ በተለይም በደቡብ ክልል አማካይ ስፍራ እንደመገኘቱ፣ ክልሉን ከሌሎች ክልሎች ጋር ሊያገናኙ የሚችሉ ሊለሙ የሚችሉ አቋራጭ መንገዶች እንዳሉ ቢታወቅም፣ ተሰርተው አማራጭ በመሆን ኣካባቢውን የልማት ተጠቃሚ ሊያደርጉ አልቻሉም፡፡ የተማረ የሰው ሃይል የተከማቸበት አካባቢ ከመሆኑ አንጻር በደቡብ ክልል በሁሉም ዞኖች የተከፈቱት ዩኒቨርስቲዎች አካባቢዎቹን እየጠቀሙ እንዳሉ ቢታወቅም፣ ነባር ዞን ሆኖ ሳለ በጥቃቅን ሰበቦች ባካባቢው አንድም የመንግስት ኮሌጅ እንኳን ተከፍቶ አገልግሎት አለመስጠቱና በተለያየ አጋጣሚ የሚያቀርበው የ"ልማት ይዳረሰን" ጥሪ እንደጥፋት ተቆጥሮ ችላ መባሉ አብቅቶ ኢህአዴግ እንደሚያስተዳድራቸው ሌሎች አካባቢዎች ተገቢው ትኩረት እንዲሰጠው ህዝቡ በይፋ ጠይቋል፡፡

በተለይም ባንድ ወቅት ሟቹ ጥቅላይ ሚኒስቴር መለስ ዜናዊ በህይወት እያሉ በጉብኝታቸው ወቅት ይህንኑ ዓይነት ጥያቄ አቅርቦ፣ "በቀጣዩ የ5 ዓመት ዕቅድ" የሚል ተስፋ ተስየጥቶት እንደነበር በመግለጽ፣ ምንም ለውጥ እንዳላየ ህዝቡ ባስተጋባው ጥሪው አሰምቷል፡፡ አዲሱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴር አቶ ኃይለማሪያም ደሳለኝ፣ በአጎራባቹ ከሚገኘው የወላይታ ዞን ተወላጅ እንደመሆናቸው፣ "የከምባታ ጠምባሮ ዞን ህዝብ በዚህ መልኩ ከልማት ተገልሎና የመሰረተ ልማት ችግሩ አይኑን አፍጥጦ እስኪታይ የህዝቡን ለቅሶ አልሰሙትም ለማለት ይከብዳል" የሚሉ አስተያየት ሰጪዎች፣ ምናልባትም የከምባታ ምሁራንና በየተሰደዱበት ጠንካራ የኢህአዴግ ደጋፊ የሆኑ አባላቱ ተጽዕኖ መፍጠር ያለመቻላቸው ነው በሚል ተጠያቂ ያደርጓቸዋል፡፡ ለምሳሌ፣ በደቡብ አፍሪካ የሚኖሩ ከምባቶች የጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴሩን ጉብኝት ተከትሎ ለህዳሴው ግድብ ያዋጡት ከፍተኛ ገንዘብ ሆኖ ሳለ (አርባ ያህሉ ብቻ ወደ 25 ሚሊዮን ብር ሰጥተዋል ይባላል)፣ መንግስት ለተወለዱበት አካባቢ ህዝብ የልማት ጥሪ ለምን ትኩረት እንደማይሰጥ አለመጠየቃቸው የሚያሳዝን እንደሆነም ይገልጻሉ፡፡

የሰላማዊ ሰልፉን በተመለከተ ከደረሱን ፎቶዎች ጥቂቱን ብቻ የለጠፍን ሲሆን፤ የደቡብ መገናኛ ብዙሃንም ሆነ የኢትዮፕያ ዜና ድርጅት (EBC)ሽፋን ባይሰጡትም፣ የጀርመን ድምጽ ሬዲዮና ኢሳት ቴሌቪዝን ያጠናቀሯቸውን ይህንኑ የሚመለከቱ ዜናዎች ከየሊንኮቻቸው በመግባት መከታተል እንዲከታተሉ እዚህ ጭነናቸዋል፡፡ ሰላማዊ ሰልፉ ከፖለቲካ ዓላማ ውጪ የተደረገና ህዝቡ ጥያቄዎቹን ለመንግስት ያቀረበበት መድረክ መሆኑ እየታወቀ የጀርመን ሬዲዮ ከተሳታፊዎች ወይም ከሰልፉ አስተባባሪዎች ይልቅ ፖለቲከኞችን አነጋግሯል፡፡ በተለይም በጀርመን ድምጽ ሬድዮ ዘጋቢ የተጠየቁት የዞኑ የዱራሜ ከተማ አስተዳደር ኃላፊ ዕድሉን ባይጠቀሙም የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲውን ወክለው አቶ ኤርጫፎ ኤርዲሎ የሰላማዊ ሰልፉን ዓላማ ባጭሩ ገልጸዋል፡፡ (ፎቶግራፎች በመላክ የተባበሩንን ሁሉ አመሰግናለን፡፡)

http://ethsat.com/video/esat-daily-news-amsterdam-february-10-2015-ethiopia/

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የከንባታም ሕዝብ የትምህርት ተቋም ይገበዋል

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የከንባታ ሕዝብ የአደባባይ ሠልፍ

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የከንባታ ሕዝብ የአደባባይ ሠልፍ

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የከንባታም ሕዝብ የትምህርት ተቋም ይገበዋል

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የከንባታ ሕዝብ የአደባባይ ሠልፍ

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የከንባታ ሕዝብ የአደባባይ ሠልፍ

ዮሐንስ ገብረ እግዚአብሔር : ነጋሽ መሐመድ: ተክሌ የኋላ እናመስግናለን!



ዱራሜ ከተማ ዛሬ በተደረገዉ ሠልፍ የተካፈሉ እንደሚሉት በአካባቢዉ የመኪና መንገድ፤ዩኒቨርስቲ እና መሠል የመሠረተ-ልማት አዉታሮች እንዲዘረጉ ሕዝቡ በተደጋጋሚ ላቀረበዉ ጥያቄ የአካባቢዉ መስተዳድም ሆነ ፌደራላዊ መንግሥት ተገቢዉን መልስ አልሰጡም።

የከንባታ ሕዝብ በብዛት የሚኖርበት አካባቢ የመሠረተ-ልማት አዉታሮች ተነፍጎታል በማለት ዛሬ ቅሬታዉን በአደባባይ ሠልፍ ጠየቀ።በደቡብ ኢትዮጵያ መስታዳድር ዱራሜ ከተማ ዛሬ በተደረገዉ ሠልፍ የተካፈሉ እንደሚሉት በአካባቢዉ የመኪና መንገድ፤ዩኒቨርስቲ እና መሠል የመሠረተ-ልማት አዉታሮች እንዲዘረጉ ሕዝቡ በተደጋጋሚ ላቀረበዉ ጥያቄ የአካባቢዉ መስተዳድም ሆነ ፌደራላዊ መንግሥት ተገቢዉን መልስ አልሰጡም።«ልማት ተነፈግን» የሚለዉ ሠልፈኛ ፤የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት እንደሌሎች አካባቢዎች ሁሉ ለዱራሜ ከተማም ሆነ ለአላባ ጠንባሮ አካባቢ ተገቢዉን የመሠረተ-ልማት አዉታር መንፈግ የለበትም ባይ ነዉ።የአዲስ አበባዉ ወኪላችን ዮሐንስ ገብረ እግዚአብሔር ዝርዝር ዘገባ አለዉ።

Hambaricho News - ዜናዎቻችን

Hambaricho ...

How Can We Keep the Momentum for Development Quest in Kembata Area?

(By Bereket Godiso: April 2015)

INTRODUCTION

Kembata area is situated in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State(SNNPRS). The administrative capital of the zone, Durame, is some 300 KMs away from Addis Ababa and 130 KMs away from the regional capital of Hawassa City Administration. The Kembata-Tembaro Zone is one of the 14 ethnic based zonal administrative structures in the region. The area is inhabited by mainly Kembata and then Tambaro People. In addition to their homeland,

Kembata people are settled in different parts of Ethiopia. One can find significant concentration of Kembata people in Hadiya Zone, Alaba Special Woreda, Hawassa, Shashemene, Arsi Negele, Addis Ababa, Keffa, Gambella, Metekel , Wonji , Metehara and major urban centers, mega development project and plantation sites across the country. Kembata constitutes one of the major groups in Diaspora including in South Africa, South Sudan, Middle East, Europe, USA and Australia. Kembata people are known for their hard work, strong ethical values, emphasis on education, and outward looking nature. As a result, significant population of the area lives outside their home land in different parts of the country and abroad. The writer has an opportunity to work and visit this different parts of the country and the world and witnessed that Kembata people are fit and competitive wherever they live ,adaptable to different situations and enjoy descent livelihood. In addition, Kembata people contributed a lot for development of the wider community where they live in and well represented among intellectual elites at different levels .

According to different sources, Kambata population is close to one million. Despite having significant population and contributing for development of their own homeland and beyond, the last 24-years disclosed that Kembata area is one of the least benefited population when it comes to government led major development projects and it is also one of the areas with least self-initiated development schemes.

One can list different factors contributed for the current realities of Kembata area. As someone who has worked in Kambata Area, SNNPR and National/Federal levels, I try to present some of the factors based on my own experience and observations and highlight possible recommendations to change the current situation in the area and contribute my part to keep the continuity of constructive development ‘discourse by Kembattas for Kambata’. I focus on political representation, fairness in resource allocation, political loyalty and unity as critical issues for development of Kembata area.

Political Representation and Leadership:

Kembata area was represented by competitive intellectuals when EPRDF came in to power before two-decades. During the early years of the current government/EPRD, politicians representing the area had a chance to influence national level decisions on development issues. Unfortunately, most of government supported major development schemes were started in the last one-decade and the representatives had no opportunity to defend the interest of Kembata people. In the last few years or so, it is very difficult to figure out Kembata representatives who have the gut and capacity to influence decision making at regional and federal level. Absence of any major development schemes in the zone in the last one decade, in contrast to the surrounding zones, is to some extent attributed to weaknesses in leadership and bargaining power of the zone politicians. The writer witnessed inadequate representation of Kembata people in regional cabinet/highest regional political council/ for significant period for unexplainable reasons known by zonal administration and regional authorities. Any major decisions made in the absence of Kambata politicians at regional level will never favor the Kembata area from my personal experience. Most politicians have firm position and argument to defend the development of their respective zones at regional and federal levels at any cost. I appreciate such politicians rather than blaming due to my won reason. The same is true at federal level. Kembata representatives are not laud and bold in advocating for the development of their area compared to other zones with similar standings. It is time to check who is representing Kembata people at zone, regional and federal level. Compared to many zones in the region, we have plenty of intellectuals and educated elites who can benefit the country and Kembata area. Thus, let us start discussing how can Kembata people can be represented by those competent sons and daughters to reverse the course of development in the area. In current political realities of the country, the persons representing their area have pivotal role in influencing major decisions in favor of their community.

Fairness in Resource Allocation by Regional and Federal Governments

Ethiopian Constitution is very clear about fair and equitable distribution of resource and development across the country and government has development different mechanisms and procedures to ensure fairness and justice when it comes to development. Though these objective procedures and mechanisms have been implemented in most cases to ensure fair resource sharing at national and federal levels , it is undeniable that in few and important moments decisions are made based on interest of politicians to more benefit their area and areas of allied politicians.

I want to share how decisions are made in few cases at regional level. When I review some of the decisions made at regional and federal level, it is not free from subjectivity and manipulation of different politicians at different levels of government structure. I can cite few examples from regional level experience. If there are 3 mega development projects under agriculture sector, SNNPR government automatically prioritize three zones with the largest population in the region. These three zones are always at front line to benefit from most government led mega development schemes. Similarly, if the regional/federal government planned three big projects in education, the same 3 zones will be prioritized by education bureau/ministry. The resource allocation continues in the same manner in health, road construction, micro-enterprise development, livelihood, machineries, vehicles, colleges, housing projects etc.

As a result of such malpractices and manipulation of decision making at different levels in important moments, some zones in the region are negligently isolated from enjoying such development opportunities. These kind of unjust resource allocation and decision making at different levels is tolerated as those zones benefiting from such decisions have upper hand in decision making and closed their eyes from witnessing significant discrepancies across different zones in SNNPR. In recent times, I attended one youth meeting held in Durame town led by Zonal Administration. The youth asked about road construction, university, employment and urban development issues and complained about lack of mega development schemes in the zone. The zone leadership was mentioning increase in number of schools, agricultural productivity etc instead of providing direct response to the practical issues raised by youth in the zone. If I was from the zone administration, I would admit lack of mega projects in the zone and promise to defend the legitimate development quest of Kembata people at regional and federal level. If the people raises issues on unfairness in development of Kembata area, why the zone leadership is denying the fact and attempting to silence the legitimate quest for development?. Why the leadership is not joining the movement and voicing the objective reality? Who is going to defend the interest of Kembata people if not Kembata politicians? These are critical questions to be addressed by those representing Kembata at zone, regional and federal levels.

Political Loyalty and Commitment

There is correlation between political loyalty to EPRDF/current government and development of a given area. In one of meeting organized by regional government to discuss with Kembata area university students, I heard that the politician leading the meeting sad that ‘Kembata people are supporting opposition party and they should ask the opposition party to implement development schemes in their area’. I understand that this person does not represent official government position, but it gives clue how the zone is viewed by some politicians at regional level despite the zone people elected EPRD party at all levels in the last election. I have no doubt that associating Kembata people with opposition party has contributed for the neglect of the area in the last decade. The fact that some young people and intellectuals from Kembata area joined opposition groups in the country and abroad, contributed to question political loyalty and commitment of Kembata to the current government. With current political climate, loyalty rewards better than the other way round. All leaders representing Kembata people at zone, region and federal level should meet political loyalty requirements if they are looking something helpful to their community. Please do not ask me what these requirements are as politician you know more than I do on this matter.

Community Mobilization and Self Initiative

Many writers touched the idea of self-initiative and self-reliance in relation to development of Kembata area. I would like to double emphasize and echo the importance of community initiative and local resource mobilization as one of the concerns affecting the socioeconomic development of Kembata. In recent times many zones in the region started major projects through internal resource mobilization and attracted the attention of regional government to get supplementary funding to complete the projects. The regional government tend to complement local initiatives to promote the idea of self-reliance and community ownership of development schemes. Kembata area is one of the least benefited from such regional government supports as there is no significant project initiated through effective local resource mobilization both within and outside the country. Recent initiative by Durame Kale Hiwot Church to start construction of ‘Luda multi-purpose building’ can be cited as a good model and proved the possibility of local resource mobilization as effective way to contribute for the development of the area. Cooperatives, joint business ventures, faith based development initiatives, community resource based development schemes, schemes supported by contributions by investors/entrepreneurs and civil servants can help a lot to build vibrant and innovative development and investment undertakings across the Kembata area. The role of Kambata people living outside the zone is very crucial to complement the initiatives of the zone inhabitants. Many zones in the region benefited from the contribution of those living outside their zone and this is one of the most under looked opportunity by Kembata area.

Geographic and Social Factors

Kembata area is surrounded by major urban centers(Soddo, Hosana, Alaba, Tercha) and respective zones and its people established socio-economic ties with the surrounding society and has been enjoying peaceful co-existence for years. The cultural and psychological ties with the surrounding society has contributed its own part to weaken internal cohesion and unity among the Kembata people. This in turn has its own negative implications in terms of business transactions and economic activities.

Cultural ,psychological and historical ties with the surrounding zones also created confusion among decision makers. Sometimes senior politicians at national level link Kembata with one of the surrounding zones and whatever development schemes implemented in that zone is counted as it is done to Kambata people.

In terms of economic integration, there is a tendency to look the nearest urban centers /zones due to socio-economic integration and accessibility of the surrounding urban centers to different woredas of the zone. As a result, socio-economic integration and business transaction are not centralized around Durame Town which is the administrative center of Kembata area. A simple example to better illustrate this scenario is procurements conducted by government offices. Major procurements and transactions by woredas and zone administration have been taking place from the surrounding zones/urban centers due to absence of competitive suppliers in the zone. However, the zonal government strategically can promote businesses in the area to attract such huge government resources.

As regards to social and psychological integration, Kembata people should strengthen their psychological and social construct of their own identity despite being economically integrated with the surrounding zones/society and living across the country and abroad. When it comes to identity, everyone should stand as one society and resist counterproductive influences within and outside and clear the confusion at different government levels. Such kind of geographic and social realties among the Kembata people can be exploited by those who have vested interest to deny development opportunity to the area. Let us stand together to stop hijacking mega projects as a result of such socioeconomic and geographic realities in the area. We are Kembatas with social, economic, psychological, cultural , geographic and historical ties with the sounding zones and society. Let us strike balance who we are and how we are related with our neighbors.

In conclusion, let us stand together and keep the current development discourse flourish until we see Kembata area given what it deserves as part of SNNPR and Ethiopia at large. Together, we can make Kembata even better!!!

God Bless Ethiopia and Kembata People!!!

Bereket Godiso

Proudly from Kembata Land

ብሩክ ላምቢሶ በዱራሜ ሁለገብ ስታድየም ያደረጉት ሙሉ ንግግር

(Durame: May 26, 2015)

አመሰግናለሁ ክቡር ዋና ስራ አስፈፃሚ፣ ጓደኞቼ

“Horanka’ne xummaa yaayom? maganu galaxemu” እኔ ትንሽ ሆኜ እዛች ጋ ኳስ ተጫውቻለሁ(ወደ ቅርጫት ኳስ ሜዳ በማመላከት)፡፡ ያኔ አስፋልት አልነበረም Basket ግን ነበር፤ በአቧራ ላይ ተጫውተናል፡፡ የኛ ቤት እዚህ ጋ ነው(ስታዲያሙ ጋር ወዳለዉ ቤታቸዉ በማመላከት)፡፡ በ85 በ86 ሰፈራችን እዚህ ነው ታውቃላችሁ፡፡ አድጌ አሁን ራሴን ችዬ መዓት ሰራዊት ወጣት ይዤ የተጀመሩ ነገሮችን ለማስቀጠል ብቅ ብቅ ያሉ ጭላንጭሎችን ለማስመረቅ መጨረሻ ለማድረስ እግዚአብሔር ይህንን ዕድል ስለሰጠኝ እንድወስንም ስለረዳኝ እናንተም ሞራሌ ስለሆናችሁ በመጀመሪያ አመሰግናለሁ፡፡

አሁን ኳስ የምጫወትበት ጊዜ ወይም እንደ ህፃን የምሯሯጥበት ጊዜ አይደለም፡፡ የተለየ ማርሽ ሁሌ በ1ኛ ማርሽ አይኬድም 2ኛ፣ 3ኛ፣ 4ኛ፣ 5ኛ ማርሽ ለዱራሜ ከተማ የሚገባበት ጊዜ ነው፡፡ ስለዚህ ማርሼን ቀይሬ ነው እዚህ የመጣሁት ባጭሩ ፈጣን ማርሽ ይፈልጋል፡፡ ይህ ከተማ፣ ይህ ህዝብ፣ ይህ ወጣት ፈጣን ማርሽ፣ ፈጣን ልማት ፈጣን ዕድገት፣ ፈጣን የሚፈፀሙ ነገሮች አንገብጋቢ ጉዳዮች ያሉበት ህዝብ መሆኑን አውቃለሁ፡፡ እኔን ሳትወክሉኝ ድሮውኑ ተወክያለሁ እናንተ ሳትወክሉኝ፡፡ ስለዚህ እናንተ ጋ የመጣሁት አሁን ቀጥተኛ (Formal) በሆነ መልክ ውክልናዬን ለማጽደቅ አንዲትም ካርድ ሚስ ሳላደርግ ሁሉንም ሰው ለማጠቃለል እንጂ እናንተ ሳትወክሉኝ ተወክያለሁ ድሮውኑ፡፡

ስለዚህ ይሄ እግዚአብሔር የፈቀደው ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ በጋራ ምንሠራበት ነው፤ የሚያስቆመን ምንም ነገር የለም፡፡ ይሄ ምድር ከፍ ወዳለው ደረጃ ያድጋል፡፡ እግዚአብሔርን ፈርተን በስነ-ስርዓት፣ በጽድቅ ሁሉን ሰው አቅፈን ምንም ሳናጭበረብር ቀጥ ብለን በስራ ለዓለም በሌላው ነገር እንዳሳየን አሁንም በስራ ለዓለም የምንታይበትና ህዝቡን የምናሳይበት ሀገሩን የምናሳይበት ጊዜ ነው፡፡ (የማያቋርጥ ጭብጨባና ፉጨት ከታዳሚዎች ነበር) ስለዚህ ባጭሩ ለወሬ ምንም ቦታ አንስጥ፡፡ እኔ Surgeon ነኝ ወሬ ብዙ አልችልም፤ ቀዳጅ ሐኪም ነኝ፤ Practical ነኝ:: I am very Practical(የማያቋርጥ ጭብጨባና ፉጨት ከታዳሚዎች ) ስለዚህ ለወሬ ጊዜ የለኝም ቀጥታ ወደ Operation ክፍል ሄደን ሰውዬውን ማከም ነው የኛ ስራ የሚድን ስብራት ይጠገናል፣ የተሰበረ ቀጥ ይላል፣ የተጣመመ የተንሻፈፈ ይስተካከላል፡፡ አሁንም እንደገና ደግሞ የበሰበሰና ጋንግሪን የሆነ ተቆርጦ ይጣላል፡፡ የኛ ቢላ ይሄን ነው የሚሰራው፤ በዚህ አዕምሮ ነው ያደኩት፡፡ አሁን አቅጣጫውንና መስመሩን መልኩን መቀየር ብቻ ነው፡፡ "ፕሪንሲፕሉ" አንድ ነው (the Same) ነው፡፡ ጠማማ ይቃናል ሰባራ ይጠገናል ተስፋ የሌለው በስብሶ አልድንም ያለ ጋንግሪን ይቆረጣል እየሸተተ አጠገባችን አይቀመጥም፡፡ እሄን ለመስራት ከቤተሰቤ ትልቅ ቤተሰብ ነው የኛ ቤተሰብ ከሁላችሁ ጋር አራት አምስት ስድስት ሰባት ትውልድ ቢቆጠር የሁላችሁም ዘመድ ነኝ ሁላችንም ዘመዳሞች ነን፡፡ ምክንያቱም የዚህ ሁሉ ምድር አባት አንድ ወይም ሁለት ሰው ነው ወይ አንዱ ተራራ ጋር ነው ወይም ከአንዱ ጋር ነው የተነሳው ስለዚህ ሁሉ ሰው ወንድሜ ነው ሁሉ ሴት እህቴ ናት ሁሉ እናት እናቴ ናቸው አያቶች አያቶቼ ናቸው እሄ ሁሉ ትልቅ ቤተሰብ ነው፡፡ ከምባታ ጠምባሮ ቤተሰብ ነው እሄን ሁሉ ቤተሰብ በአንድ መስመር፣ በሠለጠነ አመራር፣ ሳይንስ ባለበት፣ በኮንሰልቴሽን፣ በመመካከር፣ በመስማማት፣ ሁሉን ባቀፈ ትክክለኛ መስመር ላይ አስኪደን በተቀመጠልን የልማት አቅጣጫዎች ጠቅልለን ወደፊት ቅድም እንዳልኳችሁ ማርሾቻችንን በፍጥነት በመቀየር የምንገሰግስበት ጊዜ ነው፡፡

ስታደርጉ የነበረውን ነገር ሁሉ እከታተላለሁ በየጊዜው እመጣለሁ እዛም ሆኜ እከታተላለሁ፡፡ በተለይ ወጣቶቹንና የንግዱን ህብረተሰብ ይሄንን ያዘጋጁትን የማመሰግነው ኤሌክትሮኒካሊም በፌስቡክ፣ በሚፃፉ ብሎጐች ፣በተለያዩ የኤሌክትሮኒክስ ኮሚኒኬሽኖች በቴክስት፣ በስልክ ላይ ምን ላይ ምን ላይ ሁሉ በማድረግ ሁሉ ላረጋችሁት የሞራል ድጋፍ የተቀናጀ አሰራር በሰለጠነ ሁኔታ ለተለዋወጥናቸው መልዕክቶች ሁሉ ከፍ ያለ ምዕጋናዬን አቀርባለሁ፡፡ ስለዚህ እሄ ሀገር በሰላም እየሄደ አቅጣጫው ተስተካክሎ ወደ ልማት እየሄደ ያለበት ጊዜ ነው፡፡ ዞናችን ሰዎች የደረሱበት ጋ ብቻ ሳይሆን ሰዎች ከደረሱበትም አልፎ ከፊት መሪ ሆኖ ምሳሌ ሆኖ የሚታይበት ጊዜ ሩቅ አይደለም፡፡ ተቀናጅትን በጋራ ሰላማችንን ጠብቀን ሰላማችንን ከሚያደፈርሱ፤ እኛ አንድም ቀን እንዲባክን ከዚህ በኋላ አንፈልግም አንድም ቀን በከንቱ እንዲባክን አንፈልግም ስለዚህ እያንዳንዱ ቀን ላይ እያስቆጠርን ወደፊት የምንሄድበት ጊዜ ነው፣ በፍጥነት መገስገስ ያለብን ጊዜ ነው፡፡ ስለዚህ ለሰላማችሁ ታግላችሁ፣ ጠብቃችሁ (Protect) አርጋችሁ በየቤተሰብም ዲስከስ እያረጋችሁ በየቀኑ መትጋት ነው፡፡ እኛ አንድ ጥያቄ ነው ያለን፣ የልማት ጥያቄ ነው ፡፡ ይሄ ህዝብ ያለው ሌላ ምንም ጥያቄ የለውም፡፡ ሌላ ምንም ጥያቄ የለውም እሄን አረጋግጣለሁ፡፡ በሀገራችን ላሉት ትልልቅ መሪዎችም ሁሉ ጓደኞቼ ናቸው ህዝቡን ወክዬ ሳልወከል ታግያለሁ፡፡ ብቸኛው ጥያቄ የዚህ አካባቢ የልማት የልማት ጥያቄ ነው፡፡ ሰው የደረሰበት መድረስ ነው፡፡ ሰው የደረሰበት ብቻ ሳይሆን አልፎ ለመሄድ መንገዱ አሁን ክፍት ነው፤ ጐዳናው ክፍት ነው፡፡ ከእኛ ሚጠበቀው መስራት ብቻ ነው፡፡

ለወሬ ጊዜ የለንም ብያችኋለሁ፡፡ ቅድምም እዚህ እናንተን ከዚህ በላይ አናቆያችሁም የስራ ጊዜ ነው፡፡ ይሄንን ነገር ቋጭተን መስመር አስይዘን መልክ ካስያዝን በኋላ በጋራ እየተመካከርን ኘላኖች እያወጣን የተገቡ ቃሎች እንዲፈፀሙ የተሰጡን ተስፋዎች መሬት እንዲነክሱ አዲስም ተስፋ እንዲመጣ ብዙ ነገሮች እየተነጋገርን ወደ ፊት የምንሄድበት ጊዜ ነው፡፡ ጊዜው የስራ ነው፣ ይሄ አገር የሚነሳበት ጊዜ ነው፡፡ በአገራችን እንኮራለን፣ በህዝባችን እንኮራለን በብሔራችን አንኮራለን፣ እንወክላለን፡፡ እኔ እንደውም ቅድም አቶ አቡቶ (ዋና አስተዳዳሪው) ሲናገር ነበር ብዙ ቦታ ላይ አገሪቱን እንወክላለን፣ እኔ እንደውም የበለጠ ደስ የሚለኝ እሄን ብሄረሰብ ወክዬ፣ እሄን ህብረተሰብ ወክዬ፣ እሄን አካባቢ ወክዬ፣ በዚህ ታውቄ ነገሮችን ወደፊት ባስኬድ የበለጠ ያኮራኛል፡፡ ለዛ ምንም ያጣውት ነገር የለም፤ ምንም ነገር እንዲጨመርልኝ አልፈልግም፤ እኔ የመጣሁት ለመስጠት ነው፡፡ እኔ የመጣሁት ለማካፈል ነው፡፡ ምንም ነገር ለመውሰድም አይደለም፡፡ ስለዚህ በጋራ ሆነን ሁላችንም እግዚአብሔር ስለተናገረ እግዚአብሔርም ስለሰጠን ይህንን ተስፋ በእርግጠኝነት ይሄ አገር እንደሚለማ ሁሉ ነገር ተሳክቶ ደስ እንደሚለን ሌላ ጊዜ ይሄ ሁሉ ቦታ ጠቦን (ወደ ስታዲየሙ በማመላከት የተናገሩት) ለምስጋና ለምረቃ እሄ ተሰራ፣ እሄ ተፈፀመ፣ እየተባለ እንደምንሰበሰብ እርግጠኛ ነኝ አመሰግናለሁ፡፡

(የዱራሜው አሸናፊ ኃይሉ የቪድዮ ንግግሩን በመተርጎም ይህን ስለላከልን እናመሰግናለን)

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New leader for the least developed zone in Southern Ethiopia

(Mancho Kam: Feb. 02, 2015)

Kembata Tembaro zone has got a new leader. The appointed leader of Kembata Tembaro is called Ato Anteneh Befkadu Woldesenbet. He started the job effectively from 24/10/2015.

Hambaricho the Mountain and the People hope the Mazoria- Durame -Shinshicho-Lesho up to Durgi road work will be completed before he sacked or promoted to other job. Wish him and his team all the best.

We know little about him but many friends and his party colleagues were not shy in forwarding their witness regarding his past experience. Here we posted two of them:

"Wow what an amazing! I hope there will be some change as compared to what we have seen before because this person fits the position academically, politically, and socially to our tribe and he can handle all corruptions and nepotism which has been there for long time . I wish you all a successful and effective event to u in every action will be going on. Meanwhile, as I am from kambata tribe, I would like to say some thing. Try your level best to provide excellent service to our people, and to become a model of service delivery and meaningful development for those who need some change. We are tired of corruption and non-sense discrimination of people. If you make a difference we , kambata people , are behind you. Achieve this great responsibility. Best wishes!" - Tsegaye Abebe Arficho

"I know Anteneh Befekadu since my childhood. Honestly he is a proven leader, a talented person and a responsible citizen. He did well in his career. He has been leading the only technical and science led institution of the region. He supported all his siblings and family to a successful track even in a very difficult times. He used to have an open door policy when he led the office in Hawassa. He has both the capacity, experience and talent to lead such a complex Zone with complex problems. Please let's provide him support. Especially those closer to him (physically and politically) should provide him all the necessary support! My belief is that when he accepted this responsibility I am pretty sure that he knows the dynamics and the challenges. Antiye wish you good luck and wisdom of God to lead! I know things might not change overnight (given where you are starting from) but we count upon you to clean the house, clear the hurdles and shade the light towards a brighter future!" - Dawit Seyum Buda.

God bless Kembata, Tembaro, ....and Ethiopia. (Credit to KT Zone council for the pictures.)

Master plan of Addis Ababa city: Current Oromo Student Protest, My personal point of view and suggestion of alternative policy

(By Dr. Tekele Markos Fashe: December 8, 2015)

As any man who understands the rural life, my views are partly shaped by the tradition of rural society. For a rural family anywhere be it in the continent of Africa or in any part of the world, a land is literally equivalent to their very life. It their history! It is their family’s history book. It is their identity! It is their heritage! It is what makes them proud; give a hope for living as well as a reason to give birth to descendants as their heirs. No single person in rural society wants to forfeit an inch from a piece of land that belongs to him to anyone, even to his siblings. Loosing a land for someone with force or any kind of duress symbolizes a weakness, surrender, and acceptance of somebody’s dominance or declaring self-slavery. I believe this tradition is true in almost all-rural society as far as Ethiopian highland farming societies are concerned.

Obviously in Ethiopia land and famine have been highly sensitive political issues for the last 100 years or so. Both issues have been one of major talk points for stakeholders such political activist, elites, socially active students and the likes. The successive government policy of agriculture in general and the land in particular has always been a messy business. I believe it is the predominant reason for successive hunger and famine whenever the cyclic droughts pop-out. It is good to give credit where it is due, the former military regime’s policy of land distribution in response to students protest with banner of “land for tiller” has contributed a lot for long time stability notably in the southern part country including Oromia region as it made farmers to be owners of the land and gave temporary relief for the subjugated peasant society.

The current regime hasn’t approved or disproved the Derg’s land policy but it seems it doesn’t have an alternative policy. I think it is politically wise move because Derg already did the difficult job. However, current regime has shown subtle interest from the beginning when it declares the land as property of public and government. Many people including myself thought that is good policy statement and provide permanent ownership for farmers while prohibiting them from selling by cheaper price. They say devil is in detail. No one is expected the government that prohibit the farmers from selling the land will evict the farmers and sell their land with pretext of development or transformation or master plan.

The successive Oromo student protest, their death and injury must be looked from fairness and justice angle not really from ethnic politic issue, which is always easy tool to polarize and divert any important issue simply to keep the status quo. Though the problem is thousand-time grave around Addis Ababa, it is a nation wide problem. So solution should be a nation wide solution. Therefore Oromo student protest must be supported and expanded all over the country not only for solidary reason but also the policy change benefits all farmers surrounding all cities and towns across country.

The policy alternativeDevelopment or expansion of a city or a town must not be a curse for native farmers be it in Addis Ababa or anywhere. Currently it is estimated over 150,000 thousand rural family have been evicted from surroundings of Addis Ababa, which are equivalent of 1 million people (Actually I don’t have accurate figures). The government that was “elected” for 5 years has been confiscating the farmers’ land and is leasing it up-to for 99 years for anyone who comes with cash, this is worse than feudalism. It is simply insane for any human being to fathom. Anywhere in the world government can raise its income by strict taxing not by evicting the land that belongs to the poorest segment of society. The best alternative policy is empowering farmers and allowing them to lease their land for certain period of time. In Ethiopian context it shouldn’t be more than 25-30 years because a given piece of land doesn’t belong to a given farmer but also for his children. After finishing a given lease period still farmer’s children will be landlords and this makes the farmers sustainably wealthy. This helps to maintain the farmer’s identify, lively hood, history, culture and sense of belongings to the wider community. Wealthy farmers can lease the land from anywhere from other farmers to establish modern farms or to do any business. If there is a fair deal, no single farmer or his sympathizer like myself fears the expansion of city. The government should be mediator or an agent of order and rule of law between owners of land (farmers) and real state developers or investor or ordinary homeowners. Now farmers are out of equation and left in the cold and need urgent support from any fair-minded people.

Don’t make farmers an equivalent version of European Romani people (Gypsyies).

Government, be it the current or the future should be limited to collect taxes and shouldn’t involve in selling or leasing the land that belongs to peasants. The political debate among rival parties must be on the tax rate not on the price of the land simply they don’t have land. If current status quo is going to be maintained we will have the Oromo farmers as black gypsy in the city of Addis Ababa, farmers of Gojam surrounding Bahirdar, Sidama farmers in hawassa etc. Although farmers are expected to be wealthy when big cities expand toward their vicinity, on contrary local dealers the so-called “dellelas” and the government officials are becoming overnight wealthy people simply by trading poor farmers land. 2 year ago I had chat with shoe polishing boy while he was doing his job in the center of one of small town and I asked him where does your parents live? He wasn’t interested to say where they live but he simply say this is our land while pointing to the place where there is local branch of commercial bank of Ethiopia and shops flanked by main road. He didn’t say this was our land but it is our land. He gave up the land simply for the lack of power not because he was convinced having bank is worth loosing his parents land. Had he had power he would have taken his parents land back. Who would blame him in case he got power to evict back the people who live in the land that he calls belongs to him. The situation is grave in Addis Ababa and urgent policy overhaul is needed. The Oromo student shouldn’t only oppose the master plan of expanding the city but demand the better deal for the farmers that entitle them ownership of their forefathers land as well as the economic blessings of hosting the capital city and living in vicinity of big city. We all fair-minded people must demand that the same blessing should trickle down to famers surrounding big or small towns.

If current government is willing to forfeit the leasing right of the land that it owns illegally for its rightful owners especially in and surrounding Addis Ababa it will not be difficult to do the same for the entire country. They will be remembered as a party that is responsive for popular demand at least once in history, which is not their color so far in the last 25 years. Whatever their response may be may justice prevail and victory for poor farmers!!

May God bless you all!

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የዱራሜ ማርሽ እውነትም ይቀየር ይሆን?

(By Mancho Kam: March 11, 2016)

የዛሬ ዓመት አካባቢ የ2007 ዓም ምርጫ ላይ ይመስለኛል፣ ከአዳዲሶቹ የዱራሜ መሪዎች አንዱ፣ “ዱራሜ አዲስ ማርሽ ያስፈልጋታል!” ሲሉ ወቅቱ የምርጫ ቅስቀሳ ስለነበረ በሙሉ ልብ ያመናቸው ብዙ ሰው ነበር ለማለት ይከብዳል፡፡ ቃል አባይ የነበሩትን የዞኑን ተመራጮች ከሚያምን ለዞኑ ልማት የሚመደበውን በጀት በዓይኑ ሆዳቸውን አይቶ የት እንደተቀበረ ለሚረዳው ለሀገሬው ህዝብ ይህ ጉዳይ ምርምር የሚያስፈልገው አልነበረም፡፡ ህዝቡ በውይይት ሁሌ እንደሚያነሳው፣ ዺውሎስ ወረደ፣ ታደሰ ወጣ፣ ወዕሌቦ ገባ ገብረ ክርስቶስ ተተካ፣ ጸደቀ ተቀየረ ሚካኤል ተነሳ፣ ታገሰ ጥግ ቢይዝም ሆነ አቡቶ ካንዴም ሁለቴ ቢመላለስ አገሩን ከመጋጥ ወይ ከማስጋጥ፣ ዘመዶቻቸውን ቦታ ከመቀያየርና አቧራቸውን ከማራገፍ ወዲያ የረባ ስራ ሰርተዋል ለማለት ይከብዳል፡፡ ሌላው ዞን የጠየቀውን ብቻ ሳይሆን ለከምባታ የታቀደውን ጭምር እይተደረበለት ሀገሩን ሲለውጥ የኛዎቹ ሙሽራ ይመስል ህዝቡ የሚከናነበውን አቧራ ተጠይፈው በዚያ በተሸለመ መኪና ከመዘባነን ወዲያ በዓይን የሚታይና የሚዳሰስ ብዙ ነገር አላደረጉም ማለት ይቻላል፡፡

ለዚሁ ይመስላል እንደተለመደው፣ ቃል ተገባ አልተገባ የሚያሸንፈው ፓርቲ እንደሚያሸንፍ “ይጠረጠርና ይገመት” ስለነበረ የስታዲየሙ ቅስቀሳና ዲስኩር ያንን ህዝብ ለሚገዙትም ሆነ ለሚያስገዙት ማዋከቢያ ከመሆን ያለፈ ትርጉም አልነበረውም፡፡ ለሃያ ዓመታት የተለያየ መሃላና ቃል ሲገቡ፣ ሲምሉና ሲቀያየሩ የነበሩት “የሰፈራቸው ምስኪን ህዝብ ላይ አንበሳ፣ ወጣ ሲሉ ግን የማይደመጡ ኮሳሳ ቢጤ ናቸው” እየተባሉ የሚታሙት መሪዎች ብዙም ሲመሰገኑና ሲከበሩ ሳይሆን ሲደበቁና በእርግማን ብዛት ሲቅበዘበዙ መታየታቸውም አይካድም፡፡ ከነዛ ሁሉ ስማቸው ከተዘረዘሩት ሰዎች ውስጥ ከስልጣን ወርደውም በህዝቡ መካከል ቀና ብለው የሚሄዱት ምናልባትም ከግማሽ አይበልጡም ማለት ይቻላል፡፡ እንደ ሚካኤል ጦቢያስ ዓይነቱ በዚህ ረገድ ከኑግ የተገኘህ ሰሊጥ እንዲሉ ዓይነት ነው፡፡ ብቃቱና ተቀባይነቱ አሊያም የህዝብ ወገንተኝነቱና ቅንዓቱ ቢኖራቸውም ብዙም የተለየ ስራ ሰርተዋል ለማለት ይከብዳል፡፡

ከዚያ በቀር በደቡብ ክልል ላሉት ዞኖች ሁሉ ከተዳረሰ በኋላ፣ አልፎ አልፎ የሚሰጠውን እንደ “የገጠር ሆስፒታል” ዓይነትና የጤና ኬላ ግንባታዎችን፣ “በእኛ ጥረት ነው” ብለው የሚመጻደቁ መሪዎች ናቸው የነበሩን ማለት ይቻላል፡፡ ለዚህ ይመስላል፣ “ቴሌ፣ መብራት ሃይልና ንግድ ባንክ የሚመዘብሩትን ብር ያህል እንኳን የሚመጣጠን ቀርቶ የዞን ከተማን ደረጃ የጠበቀ ህንጻ እንዲሰሩ የሞራል ጥያቄ እንኳን የማያቀርቡና በራስ የመተማመን ችግር የነበረባቸው ሰዎች በኢህአዴግ ስም ወደኋላ አስኬዱን ሲባልና ከ20 ዓመታት በላይ ህዝቡ ሲማረር የነበረው፡፡ ምሬት ብቻም አይደለም እርግማንም ማሰማት ጀምሮ ስለነበር ጦሱ ለትልቁ ፓርቲያቸውም ከመትረፉ ቀድሞ መታሰቡና ከሰሞኑ በተወሰነ መልኩ መነቃቃት መታየቱም ተመስገን ነው፡፡ የዛሬው ጽሁፍም እዚህ ጅምር ላይ ያተኩራል፡፡ ________________________________________

ላለፉት ብዙ ዓመታት ኢትዮዻያን ማንም ይምራት፣ “ከምባታን ከቁብ የቆጠረና የህዝቡን ብሶት በቅጡ ያደመጠ መሪ ምነው ጠፋ?” ብለው የሚጠይቁ ከምባቶች ብዙ ናቸው፡፡ አፄ ኃይለስላሴ ጥላቻቸው የታወቀ ስለነበር ከህዝቡ ይልቅ ውሻቸውን አድምጠው ከመኪናቸው ሳይወርዱ ነው የሄዱት አሉ፡፡ ሻለቃ መንግስቱ ኃይለማሪያም፣ “በሄሊኮፕተር ይመጣሉ” እየተባለ በመቶ አለቃ ዼጥሮስ ገብሬ ትዕዛዝ ሓምበሪቾ አናቱ ድረስ ችግኝ ሲያስተክሉና መንገድ ሲያስጠርጉ ስለነበሩ ሰዎች ልጅ እያለሁ ሲያወሩ ሰምቼ ነበር፡፡ (ሄሊኮፕተሩ በስንት ጊዜው፣ ዘንድሮ አንድ ካሜሩናዊ ሰባኪ ይዞ መጥቶ ሐምበሪቾ አናቱ ላይ ሊጸልይ፣ ስብከት ሊሰማና “ሊዝናና” የመጣውን ህዝብ ማስደመሙን እኔም አይቻለሁ፡፡) እነ መንጌ ግን ወጣቱን ለብሄራዊ ውትድርና፣ ድሃውን ለሰፈራ፣ ለአዋሽ ተፋሰስ፣ ለወንጂና መተሃራ ጉልበት ስራ ከመላክና ከመቀባበል ውጪ ግን ጠብ ያለ ነገር አልነበረም፡፡ የኢህአዴግ ፕሬዚዳንት የነበሩት ዶክተር ነጋሶም መጥተው ነበር የተባለ ጊዜም ቢጤዎቻቸውን ካድሬዎች ይዘው ዱራሜ ውበት ሆቴል ቡና እንደጠጡ ከሄዱ በኋላ ሲወራ ሰምተናል፡፡

ምንም እንኳን ለህዝቡ ከጉብኝቱ ትርፍ ባይገኝም አካባቢውን ለማወቅና የህዝቡንም ስነልቦና ለማጥናት ጊዜ በመውሰዳቸው የሟቹን ጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴር የመለስ ዜናዊን ጉብኝት መዘንጋት ተገቢ አይሆንም፡፡ የሀገሪቱ ጠቅላይ የነበሩት መለስ (አፈሩ ይቅለላቸውና ወይም ደግሞ ከምባቶች እንደሚሉት “ያረፉበት ይሸከማቸው!” [Ubeemmabu iiyussa!]) ከምባታን የጎበኙዋት ጊዜ ለከምባታ ጠምባሮ ዞን፣ ይህ ነው የሚባል ባጭር ጊዜ የሚሆንላት ነገር እንደሌለ ከመናገራቸውም በላይ፣ ንክች አድርገው ተስፋ ሲሰጡም እንዳልተደመጡ ሁሉም የሚያስታውሰው ነው፡፡ ከአገሪቱ እቅድ አኳያ “በአምስት ዓመት ውስጥ ምንም ጠብ እንደማይል” አበክረው እንደመግለጻቸው፣ አምስት ብቻ ሳይሆን አስር ዓመትም አልፎ ምንም ባለመታየቱ አልተሳሳቱም ነበር ማለት ይቻላል፡፡ ደግሞም እውነት ነው፣ አስሩ ዓመትም አልፎ ከምባቶች “ጨርሶ ተረስተዋል” በሚያስብል መጠን መዘንጋታቸውን ለመግለጽና መንግስትም ጭምር የዞኑን መኖር ቢያስታውሰው በሚል ባለፈው ዓመት ለመጀመሪያ ጊዜ ጠንከር ያለ ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ አደረጉ፡፡ የካድሬ ንግግር፣ የእበላ ባይ ዲስኩርም ሆነ የአላፊ አግዳሚው የወረት ቃል ኪዳን የሰለቸው ህዝብ፣ ምን ቢማረር በሰለጠነ መንገድ ጥያቄ አቅርቦ እሮሮውን አሰማ፡፡ ዳሩ “የመረጣቸው ያልተማሩ ሰዎች”፣ መልሰው ቢሰድቡትና “ቅናት ነው! አሁን ምን አነሰን?” ብለው ቢያሳጡትም፣ ገና ለገና የሚመረጡትን ጨምሮ ሀገሪቱ አሉኝ የምትላቸው ፊደል የቆጠሩት ልጆቿ ተሰባስበው ያሁኑን ጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴር መጠየቃቸው መፍትሄ እንዳመጣ ሲወራም ሰምተናል፡፡

በዛም ተባለ በዚህ አሁን በዚህ ወር አንዳንድ ተስፋ ሰጪ ጅምሮች እየታዩ ነው ይባላል፡፡ ውጤቱ የብዙዎች ድካምና የረጅም ጊዜ አቤቱታም ጭምር ያስገኘው ቢሆንም ይህንን ተከታትሎ በማስረዳት፣ የሚመለከታቸውን በማሳሰብና ነገሮችን በመልክ በመልኩና በተገቢው ጊዜ እየጠበቁ መስመር እንዲይዝ በማድረጉ ረገድ “ማርሽ እንቀይራለን!” ያሉት ሰዎች ጥረት እንደሆነ ለማንም ግልጽ ሊሆን ይገባል፡፡ ስለዚህም “ብልጥ ልጅ የሰጡትን እየበላ ያለቅሳል” እንዲሉ ጅምሩን ማበረታታቱ መልካም ነው የሚል እምነት አሳድሮብናል፡፡

ይህን መልካሙን ጅምር ለማበረታታትና ለማድነቅ ለሚሹ ብዙ የኔ ቢጤ ሰዎች የዚህ ጽሁፍ መውጣት የሚደገፍ ቢሆንም፣ በእስከዛሬው የተማረሩ ብዙ ወገኖች ደግሞ መቸኮል እንደማይገባና ምስጋናው ስራውን እንዳያደናቅፍ ይመክራሉ፡፡ ተገቢና አስፈላጊ ስለሆነ ሁሉንም ነገር እያየን አስተያየት መስጠት ስለሚገባ ደስታው እያጣጣሙ ጅምሩ የሚጠናከርበትንና የህብረተሰቡ ተሳትፎ ጎልብቶ እቅዱ ከግቡ እንዲደርስ መረባረቡ የተሻለ ነው፡፡ ሐምበሪቾ ብሎግ እና “በሐምበሪቾ ዙሪያ” የፌስቡክ ቡድን በዚህ ረገድ የሚደረገውን የመሰረተ ልማት ግንባታና የተረሳውን ዞን ደረጃውን በጠበቀ መንገድ በማገናኘት ህዝቡ የጥቅሙ ተቋዳሽ እንዲሆን በመንግስትና በአመራሩ በኩል በዚህ ረገድ በቀጥታ እየተሳተፉ ያሉትን ወገኖች ስራቸው የሚበረታታ በመሆኑ እንስማማለን፡፡ ወደፊትም የሚደረጉ መልካም ስራዎችን ከነአስፈጻሚዎቹ እያስተዋወቅን በታሪክ ውስጥ ቦታና ድርሻ እንዲኖራቸው እንደምናግዝ እንገልጻለን፡፡

ለማጠቃለል ያህል፣ “ዱራሜ አዲስ ማርሽ ያስፈልጋታል!” እንደተባለው ምንም እንኳን በመጥፎ ስራቸው የተጠሉና የሚወገዙ ሰዎችን ባለማራገፍ የሚታወቀው የዞኑ አመራር በተካተቱት ጥቂት አስተዋይና በዓላማ የተነሱ ሰዎች ምክንያት ይህን የለውጥ ጅምር እንድናይ በማድረጉ ሊመሰገን ይገባዋል፡፡ ክሾኔ ማዞሪያ ሌሾ ማዞሪያ ድረስ ያለውን የአስፋልት መንገድ ስራ እንዲንቀሳቀስ ከማድረጋቸውም በላይ የዱራሜ የውስጥ ለውስጥ የአስፋልት መንገድን ስራ ከተረሳበት ለማስጀመር ማቀዱና በተግባር መነሳሳቱ የሚደገፍም ነው፡፡ እንደደረሰን መረጃ ከሆነ ከ3.71 እስከ 5 ኪሎ ሜትር መንገድ ለመሸፈን ስራው መጋቢት 2 ቀን የተጀመረ ሲሆን ለጊዜው ከተገኘው 31 ሚሊዮን ብር በተጨማሪ በህብረተሰቡ፣ በመንግስትና በበጎ አድራጊዎች እገዛና ተሳትፎ ከታቀደው በላይ ሊሰራ እንደሚችልም ተስፋ ተጥሎበታል፡፡ ስራውን የአትዮዽያ መንገዶች ባለስልጣን የሚያሰራው እንደመሆኑ የተሻለ ጥራትና አፈጻጸም እንደሚኖረው ይጠበቃል፡፡

ሆኖም ግን አሁንም አብዛኛው ህዝብ እንደሚጠራጠረው "የፕላን ጋጋታና የፎቶ ኤግዚቢሽን" ነገር ከሆነ እጅግ የሚያሳፍር እንደሚሆንም መታወቅ አለበት፡፡ "ጨው ለራስህ ስትል ጣፍጥ!" እንዲሉ ለጊዜው የፖለቲካ ስራ የማምለጫ ነገር አይነት ድራማም እየተሰራ ከሆነም ያው ጊዜው ሲደርስ መጋረጃው መገለጡ ስለማይቀር ትርፉ ትዝብት ነው የሚሆነው፡፡ ዘማሪው ደረጀ ከበደ እንደዘመረውና መጽሃፉም እንደሚለው፣ ይብላኝ ለእናንተ እንጂ በተአምርም ቢሆን "ለእኛስ ከሌላ ስፍራም ቢሆን መዳን ይሆንልናል!" ከምባቶች ይደክማሉ እንጂ በእግዚአብሄር ተስፋ ቆርጠው ስለማያውቁ የማታ ማታ አያሳፍራቸውም፡፡ እናንተ "እንመራዋለን" ብላችሁ ሃላፊነት የወሰዳችሁት ግን ከእርግማኑ በትር አታመልጡም!

ቸር እንሁን! ቀና ለምታስቡና የህዝቡ አደራ ለሚከብዳችሁ በረከቱ ይብዛላችሁ!

(Note: ከሰሞኑ የሚደረጉትን የልማት እንቅስቃሴዎች በተመለከተ በፎቶግራፍ አስደግፈው ብዙዎች እንዲደርሰን እያደረጉ ነው፡፡ በዚህ ረገድ የዱራሜው አሸናፊ ሀይሉ ከመረጃ ጋር አያይዞ ከላከልን ውስጥ የተወሰኑትን ስለተጠቀምን እናመሰግናለን፡፡)

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ኧረ ምን እንደሚያምረኝ ተመልከቱ!!

(By Befekadu Wondayehu: July, 2016)

እስኪ በ”ፌስ ቡክ” ወጋችንን እንጠርቅ፤ ... የብሶት ወሬያችንን እንሰልቅ! ... የነገር ጦራችንን እንስበቅ !!

በኋላ ላይ “እሄ ነው እንዴ ያማረህ?” አንዳትሉኝ፤ ብዙ ጊዜ የሚያምረኝ ነገር እኔኑ መልሶ ያስገርመኛል - የማይሆን ነገር !! የአምሮቴን ነገር ከመናገሬ አስቀድሜ ልንደርደር እስኪ ...፡፡ ከዚህ በፊት ምን አልባት ትዝ ካላችሁ እንደዚች እንደዛሬዋ ዓይነት ስሜትን መግለጫ ጽሁፍ ሞነጫጭሬ፣ በፌስ ቡክ ግድግዳዬ ላይ ስለጥፍ ስሜቴን የምተጋሩ ጓደኞቼ እንደተጠፋፋን አውቃለሁ፡፡ ... ያው ምን ይደረግ ብላችሁ ነው በየአቅጣጫውም መወጣጠር በዛ እኮ! ደሳሳ ጎጆአችን እንድትሞቅልን ስንንደፋደፍ፤ ... ደግሞ ከአሁን አሁን ወድቃ ጠላትም እንዳይስቅ/እንዳይሳለቅ፣ ወዳጅም እንደይሳቀቅ ማስደገፊያ ፍለጋ ከወዲያ ወዲህ ስንባትል ውሎ ማደር ሆነና ለቁምነገር መብቃትና ለሀገር የመትረፋችን ነገር ከፍተኛ ተግዳሮት ገጠመው፡፡

እውነቴን እኮ ነው በዚህ ጊዜ ሰውን የማይወጥር ምን አለብላችሁ ነው? ተወጠጣጠርን እኮ፤ ...ከስርዓቱ ጀምሮ (ፈርቼ እንዳይመስላችሁ ታውቁታላችሁ ስርዓቱን ብዬ ነው፤ ካልተረዳችሁም መንግስት ለማለት አከባቢ ነው፤) ማህበራዊና ኢኮኖሚያዊ ኑሮአችን፤ የእህል ውሃችን ነገር፣ የእለት ጉርሳችንን ለመግኘት የምንሯሯጠው ሩጫ (ሩጫ ሲሉ ሩጫ መሰላችሁ? የመሰናክል ሩጫ አለ አይደል)፤ ደግሞ የሥራ የንግዱ ነገር ፤ ከሰው ላለማነስ ብለን በያዝናት ላይ ለመጨመር የምንማራት ተጨማሪ ትምህርታችን፤ በቤት ውስጥም (የእናት የአባት፣ የወንድም የእህት ... የልጅ የሚስት፣ አንዳንድ ጊዜም የባል) በውጭም የሚኖረን በሰብኣዊነት፣ ለነፍሳችን፣ ለነጊያችንና ለሰማዩ ቤታችን ነገር ብለን አንዳንድ ጊዜ የውዴታ ግዴታ ሆኖብን የተሸከምነው ሃላፊነትና አደራ፤ ... አረ ምኑ ቅጡ እናንተው ጨምሩበት፤ ብቻ በጣምም ተወጣጥረናል ... ብቻ ጌታ አለ አንፈነዳም ፡፡

እናም ምን ልላችሁ ፈልጌ መሰላችሁ? እኔም ሰው ነኝና እንደሰው ሀሳብ ብቻ አበዛሁና አንዳንድ ነገሮችን አስረሳኝ፡፡ ይገርማል ከፍ እያልን ስንሄድ ሀሳብና የምንረሳው ነገር ይበዛል፡፡ - ምንልላችሁ እንደፈለኩ እንደምትረዱኝ አውቃለሁ ... አ-ው የእኔን ትርኪምርኪዎች በናፍቆት ትጠብቃለችሁ ብዬ ሳይሆን፣ ከዚህም በፊት ለሥራም ሆነ ለማህበራዊ ጉዳዮች ወደ ተለያዩ ሥፍራዎች ስዞርና ስንቀዋለል (እውነቴን ነው አንዳንድ ጊዜ ሁኔታዬን እና የብዙዎቹን ባልንጀሮቼን ሁኔታ ሳስተውል የምናደርገው ነገር፣ የምናስበው ሀሳብ ሀላፊነትና ሥራ ብሎ ከማካበድ “መንቀዋለል” ብሎ እውነቱን መቀበል ምንም ሚያሳፍር ነገር የለውም ... ግን ለኔ ብጤዎች ብቻ ነው እሺ?) ከተለያዩ ምንጮች ይጥቀሙ አይጥቀሙ ሳላውቅ ከምቃርማቸው መረጃዎች፣ ከማነባቸው ነገሮች እና በአከባቢዬ በየዕለቱ ከማስተውላቸውና ከማያቸው የሰው ልጆች እንቅስቃሴዎች እና በተለያየ አጋጣሚ ከፈራኋቸው ወደጆቼ ጋራ ጊዜዬን ሳሳልፍ በውስጤ ከሚፈጠረው ስሜት በመነሳት አንዳንድ ጊዜ በል ሲለኝ ለራሴ ማስታወሻዎችን እጽፋለሁ፡፡ ታዲያ ይሄን ልምዴን ባለፈው ዓመት እኔ ተወልጄ ባደኩበት አከባቢ ያሉ ወጣች፣ “የኢሕዓዴግ መንግስት ከልማት አገለለን... የብሔረሰቡን መብት እና የዞኑን ሕዝብ መብት አልጠበቀም” ብለው ቀላል ግምት የማይሰጠው ተቃውሞ ያደርጉ በነበረበት ወቅት፤ እኔም ከወጣቶቹ ጋር ተመሳሳይ አቋም ስለነበረኝ የሚሰማኝን ስሜት (ሰሚ ይኑረውም አይኑረውም) ለመግለጽ ያልኳችሁን አንዳንድ ማስታወሻዎች የመጻፍ ልምድ ለማዳበር ሞክሬ ነበር፡፡

... ታዲያ በዚህ ጊዜ ብዙ የማስታውሳቸው እህቶችና ወንድሞች አበረታተውኛል፡፡ ከዚያ በኋላም በተለያየ አጋጣሚ የማገኛቸው እና በማህበራዊ መገናኛ መንገዶች የሚያጋጥሙኝ ሰዎች ያልጠበኩት ዓይነት አስተያየት ሰጥተውኛል፡፡ ለማንኛውም በዚያ ወቅት እንዳልኳችሁ የምጽፋቸውን ለማለት ቢከብድም ሞነጫጭሬ የፌስ ቡክ ግድግዳዬ ላይ የምለጥፋቸውን ስሜቶቼን በመውደድ (ላይክ በማድረግ) ለሌሎች በማካፈልና ጠቃሚ አስተያየቶችን በመጨመር አንዳንድ አመለካከቶቼን ደግሞ እንዳስተካክል/እንዳርም በሳጥኔ ውስጥ ከውድ ጊዜያችሁ አካፍላችሁ ምክሮችን በማስቀመጥ ያበረታታችሁኝ ሁሉ ነገ እኔ እግዚ/ር ፈቅዶ ልሆን የምችለውን ነገር እንድሆን ያበረከታችሁት አስተዋጽኦ ለኔ በምንም የማይተመንና ውድ ነው፡፡ አሁንም ቢሆን ለናንተ አይመጥኑም ብዬ ለማስታወሻዎቼ ብቻ ያደረኳቸውን አንዳንድ ስሜቶቼን በድፍረት በምችለው ጊዜ ልዩነት ላካፍላችሁ ልጀምር ነውና ያስለመዳችሁኝን አንደማታጎድሉብኝ አምናለሁ፡፡

ቅድም ትንሽ ጠቀስ እድርጌ ስላለፍኳት፣ ስለተቃውሞ ጉዳይ ትንሽ ብላችሁ ምን ይላችኋል? እኔ በእርግጥ ፖለቲከኛ አይደለሁም፤ ወደፊትም ቢሆን ፖለቲከኛ ለመሆን ጉጉት አድሮብኝ አያውቅም፡፡ ነገር ግን በማላውቀው ምክንያት በፖለቲካው ዓለም የሚደረጉ ጨዋታዎች ስለሚገርሙኝ አሳባለሁ፡፡ ... ደሞም በዚህ ሀገር ምን አይቼ ፖለቲከኛ ለመሆን ልመኝ? ሰው መቼስ ጭራቅ አውሬ ለመሆን አይመኝም (በነገራችን ላይ በኛ ሀር ፖለቲከኛ ስትሆን ጭራቅ እና አውሬ የምትሆነው እድለኛ ከሆንክ ነው፤ ያላደለህ ኢትዮዽያዊ ፖለቲከኛ ከሆንክ - በጭራቆቹ ዝም ብለህ የምትነዳ በግና ዓላማቸውን የምትሸከም “አህያ” ነው የምትሆነው!! ) ... ስለዚህ ሕዝብን የሚጎረብጥና ለሕዝብ የማይመች ነገር እስካልጠፋ አይባልም በተቻለ መጠን ካልቀነሰ ተቃውሞ መቼም የማይቋረጥ ነገር ነው ...ዝም ብለህ “ያለበት ሁኔታ ነው ያለው” እያልክ ውሸት ስትግተው ሕዝብ ዝም የሚለው የሚያደርገው ቢያጣ ነው እንጂ የወደደህ፣ የተቀበለህ እንዳይመስልህ፡፡ ... ምቹ ጊዜ ምቹ ቦታ እየጠበቀ ይሆናል፡፡ በኛ ሀገር በተላይ አዲስ ካድሬ፣ አዲስ ካቢኔ፣ አዲስ ተሿሚ እንጂ የሚታይ አዲስ ነገር ስለማይመጣ፣ ቢመጣም ቶሎ ስለማይመጣ እና ትግስት ስለሚያስጨርስ ተቃውሞ የሚባለው ነገር በጣም የሚቀንስበትን ጊዜ ምጻቱ ሳይቀድመው ይቀራል?

... ኡኡኡ ሰዎች እኔ ምን እንደናፈቀኝና እንዳማረኝ ታውቃላችሁ? የመሪዎቻችንን ፎቶዎች ይዘን፣ ባነር አሰርተንላቸው “ሞቶአቸውን” በሕብረቀለማት ባሸበረቁ ፖስተሮች አጽፈን በአደባባይ ድጋፍ የምንሰጥበት፤ የምንደግፋቸው እና የማንደግፋቸው በመድረክ ቀርበው ደስ በሚል ፈገግታ ታጅበው ሲከራከሩ እያየን የምንደግፍበት፤ ፖለቲከኞቻችን በሀገራችን በተለያዩ አከባቢዎች እዬሄዱ “ምረጡኝ” እያሉ ሲቀሰቅሱ... እየጨበጡን በቲሸርታችን፣ በማስታዎሻዎቻችን ላይ እየፈረሙልን በመካከላችን የሚያልፉበት ... ተሸናፊው ለአሸናፊው በአደባባይ መሸነፉን ተቀብሎ መልካም የሥራ ዘመን ተመኝቶለት የሚሄድበት፤ ... የሀገሬም ሕዝብ እንደልጆቹ እና እንደ ቤተሰዎቹ እየራራለት ሲራብና አደጋ ሲደርስበት በአደባባይ እንባውን እያፈሰሰ አብሮ እያዘነ የሚመራው መሪ የሚያገኝበት ጊዜ ናፈቀኝ፡፡ ኧረ ኡኡኡኡ ጌታዬ ሳልሞት በምድሬ በሰው ሀገር ሲሆን ዓይቼ፣ ሰምቼ የናፈቀኝን በሀገሬ በምድሬ አሳየኝ!!

“እያማረህ ይቀራል” አትሉኝም? መቼስ ማን እደዛ እንዳሚለኝ ታውቃላችሁ … የአውሬውን ሀሳብና መንፈስ የተሸከሙ እንትኖች ለማለት ይከብዳል፡፡ እኔ ከዚያም ከዚህም በሚሰማው ወሬ ( ሶስት ሰው ሞት ፣ አራት ሰው ሞተ፣ 7 የከተማ ፖሊስ ሞተ፣ 11 ፌዴራል ፖሊስ ሞተ …ተማሪዎች ተደበደቡ፣ መፍትሄ አፈላላጊዎች ታፈሱ፣ ታፈኑ፤ አማራ ተሸበረ፣ ኦሮሞ ተሸበረ ፤ ጎፋና ወለይታ ተጋጩ፤ ከምባቶችና ሀዲዮች ተናጩ፤ ወላይታና ሲዳማ ተጣላ፣ ቤቶች ፈረሱ፤ ኢትዮጵያውያን ስደተኞች በኮንቴይነር ታሽገው ሞቱ፣ በበረሃ ታረዱ፣ በእሳት ተቃጠሉ፤ ... እህታችን ከፎቅ ላይ ተወረወረች ... ሲባል፣ ሲባል፣ ሲባል... ) ነግ በኔ ነው እያልኩ፣ እየደነበርኩ ሰላሜን እና የስነልቦና ነጻነቴን አጥቼ የምኖር ሰው ብሆንም፤ ለመናገርና ሀሳቤን እንደ እኔ ከጨነቀው ጋራ “ቢያንስ ቢያንስ ለማውራት ነጻነት ማጣት የለብኝም” ብዬ የማምንና ያምንኩትንም የምናገር ሰው ነኝ፡፡ ያው ቢበዛ አንድ ቀን እናቴ እንደፈረደባት፣ “እሱ ያመጣውን እሱ እስኪመልስ...” የወንድም እህቶቼ እጣ ለኔም ከወጣልኝ ከነሱ ጎን ጉድጓድ ምሳ ትቀብረኛለች፡፡ ... ያው ሰው ሄዶ ሄዶ እዚያው አይደል መጨረሻው፡፡

ልቤ በአንዳንድ ነገሮች ስለተሰበረ እንጂ በሀሳቤ እሄን ላወራ አላቀድኩም ነበር፡፡ ... ለጉድ የተፈጠርን ትውልዶች እስክንመስል ጉዳችን እጅግ ብዙ ነውና “እንዲያና እንዲህ” እያልን በፌስ ቡክ ወጋችንን እንጠርቃለን፡፡ አትጥፉ!

ከንፈራችሁ እየተንቀተቀጠም ቢሆን ጎሮሮአችሁን ሳግ እየደፈነው የእውነት ቃላችሁን አላስወጣ እያለ ቢታገላችሁም ... እንደምንም ብላችሁ እውነቱን ከመናገር ወደኋላ ላለማለት ሞክሩ! ሠላም!