Human Rights Violations in Polarized Ethiopia: Time for a shift in paradigm of thinking
December 15, 2014
Part II of presentation at the Shengo Forum, Washington, DC, November 30, 2014
by Aklog Birara (DR)
For members and supporters of the TPLF/EPRDF within and outside Ethiopia, and equally for the donor and diplomatic community that continues to shore-up one of the most repressive and oppressive governments on the planet, the last two weeks must have sent shivers. UNCTAD disclosed that Ethiopia’s famed growth that I had disputed in terms of social efficacy, has not changed the fundamentals impediments that would lift millions from abject poverty and destitution. The vast majority of Ethiopians including the hardworking middle class are poor and getting poorer; and the poorest of the poor are trapped in a cycle of destitution. This condition emanated directly from poor and exclusionary governance and a regulatory framework that is not pro-poor and pro-Ethiopian. The condition of food insecurity and dependency on food aid says it all. Experts tell us that Ethiopia is the first country in Africa that pioneered settled agriculture and food production. In ancient times, this was considered a technological breakthrough. There is no innovation, change and technological advancement without food. But this noble tradition has been stalled by lack of empowering policies and technological inputs that would boost smallholder food and other related productivity. Unlike countries such as India where the government and the donor community revolutionized agriculture, the Ethiopian government controls the peasantry and owns the land. Smallholders and farmlands are hostages to single party and ethnic elite monopoly.
The past two weeks after our forum on human rights on November 30, 2014 showed four events that suggest the urgent needs for radical political, social and economic reforms and the vital role of solidarity in Ethiopia. The only way that these reforms in politics, social systems and economics can occur is if millions of Ethiopians rise up in unison and claim their rights. It critical to note, despite enormous hurdles, opposition leaders, members and supporters are showing fierce and genuine determination to bring the TPLF/EPRDF to the conference table. Recurring protests are most likely to make the country ungovernable. They must occur without let up and peacefully. Those of us who live in the Diaspora and wish for a better alternative must welcome this determination and persistence. Those in the forefront of the peaceful struggle for justice, the rule of law, genuine equality and representative governance must be admires. They are today’s agents of change. The Diaspora must support them in earnest. We have a responsibility to do our part by approaching and urging the donor and diplomatic community to reconsider its stand. We must persuade these groups and more important skeptical Ethiopians the struggle for good governance is theirs too. The pains must be shared by all stakeholders. Read more…
posted by Daniel tesfaye