A Response to Aboy Sibhat Nega’s recent interview
Bekalu Atnafu Taye, PhD
After the death of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a number of discussions were made and TPLF reached consensus on the mode of succession. In view of this, the Deputy Prime Minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn has taken the power. In the mean time, ranges of comments have continued being forwarded by individuals from both within EPRDF and other concerned Ethiopians all over the world. Among the striking features of EPRDF households are the ongoing remarks forwarded on ethnicity. A case in point is Aboy Sibhat’s recent speech. In an interview made with a media named Geza Tegaru paltak room, in September, 2012 in America, Aboy Sibhat Nega stated that ‘’In Ethiopia, political power has been out of the hands of the Amhara and the Orthodox’’ It appears that Aboy Sebahat has continued falling to edit his thoughts, attitudes and tragic misconception to the Amhara people.
Your speech is a clear manifestation of oppression and injustice in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people have never smelt the aroma of justice, democracy and liberation. The Amhara people like the Oromo, the Tigrean, the Gurage and the others have been under injustice, exploitation and poverty for many years. Your belittling remarks are testimony to the present day oppression. With regard to Christianity, I have to break the news for you that the previous three Ethiopian leaders were not Christians if the real sense of Christianity is understood but I do not want to extend my idea in this matter.
With regard to your ethnic-based speech, I learnt that either you have a profound hatred to Amhara people or you have simply developed phobia to Amhara leaders. To be humble, let me assume that you have phobia to Amhara leaders. In any case, the people of Amhara or any other
ethnic groups should not be downgraded or insulted for crimes they have never committed. The previous leaders (if at all they were Amhara) could not represent the Amhara population as you yourself do not represent your ethnic group population. Or not all Tigreans accede to your belittling remarks. Thus, a clear demarcation should be put between the personality of the leaders and the ethnic groups the leaders come from. A leader might have a devilish personality but the ethnic group the leader comes from should not be seen in the light of the leader. I can give you a broad range of scientific explanations that there is no strong relationship between the individual’s personality and his/her ethnic group. Thus, how would you see the person’s
leadership skill in terms of his ethnic group?
Of course, the previous governments were not democrat but yours is not exceptional. What has your regime brought to the ordinary Ethiopians? To mention but few, corruption is rampant among the EPRDF population; opposition movements have been detained in the name of terrorism; the cost of living is sky-rocketing and people are dying of hunger; more than 10 million people are in need of assistance; news media, internet access and foreign radio stations are jammed; people are in a state of harassment. Have not you heard that Ethiopia is the second poorest country in the world after Niger according to the Oxford Poverty and Human
Development Initiative (OPHDI) Multidimensional Poverty Index 2010(formerly annual U.N.D.P. Human Poverty Index)? All these happened during the EPRDF regime. Isn’t it embarrassing? Of course, it is. You are supposed to make the leaders serve the people and bring a change upon the life of the ordinary Ethiopians. The change of the government has brought nothing to the great majority of the Ethiopian population. Apart from the range of problems we face, ethnicity is a new style of exploitation for EPRDF.
I feel that EPRDF leaders develop a sense of invincibility and they puff themselves up. Rather it is better to be humble; as we learn from history, puffing oneself up and the feeling of invincibility could cost much but being humble could cost nothing but creates much. Martin Luther King said: ‘‘Christ showed us the way, and Gandhi in India showed it could work’’.
Thus, I kindly advise you to show courteous speech to the people of Ethiopia. To this end, in giving response to journalists, your EPRDF leaders should not be driven by emotion, anger and pride. You do not have to address a message implying ethnic division and hostility among the
I also advise you to consider the negative effect of your speech. Such remarks create a division among ethnic groups which undermine social solidarity. All the time before the media, it is better to scrutinize your speech. Such ethnic-based speech could not be expected from a political leader
(said to be an older TPLF leader) who is expected to arm himself with the highest standards of ethical and moral principles. Moreover, a government that discriminates against its citizens can never be trustworthy.
Moreover, I kindly request you to look into the contemporary world. Since the contemporary world is governed by pluralistic society (having a number of ethnicities), the fate of our time is characterized by intellectualization. Ethnic politics is an old fashioned style of dancing. Ethnicity
is not a marketable political commodity anymore. I also recommend you to read autobiographies of great leaders. On top of this, ask God for help in this matter; do not be stubborn; please do this; learn from the history of Ethiopia and the world.
Please, value all Ethiopians, respect them and honor them. How would you expect respect from the people with all your irritating thought and speech? Without securing the respect of the fellow citizens, it is nonsense if you become a rock star politician, economist, patriot or any other. Had you been a real patriot or politician, you would not have shown power struggle at this time, at this age; you would not have glorified one ethnic group over the other. These are the quality of glory-seekers, those who have special self-interest. But great leaders (like Mandela, Ghandi and Martin Luther King) have not fought for their own glory; they led successful struggles and left the floor open for democracy. Due to this, they have been nationally and globally respected and they have been inscribed in the hearts of the people. Now, we need a leader who unifiers and inspires the masses. Ethiopians desperately need political leaders who do not tend to favor a certain ethnic group. We look for politicians who do not use ethnicity as a political weapon; politicians who have versatile merits and who do not dehumanize others. We need those politicians who strive for the welfare of all ethnic groups.
Sad to say, Ethiopian leaders have never had such leadership qualities. Even they have never had humanitarian and religious hearts. That is, leaders have to be humane since humanity does not have ethnic, religion, political and national boundaries. Here, I want to borrow the dictions of
Obang Metho ‘We have to value others including those unlike us-putting humanity before ethnicity. By doing so, leaders should not fail to get the respect of the population.
The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org