Ethiopia: Time for a Paradigm Shift (Part 2)

Zelalem Eshete, Ph.D.

It takes two to tango. In part 1 of my article, I focused mostly on the opposition. Now, I present my reflections regarding the call for a paradigm shift targeted primarily to the government. I also touch on a paradigm shift for all, because we all need it.

It is Morning in Ethiopia – Make it Real

The peaceful power transfer from the old generation to the new generation, unlike any time in the past, ushered in our first morning ever in Ethiopia. The architect, late PM Meles Zenawi, has taken his seat in history on this matter without contention. The new PM, Hailemariam Desalegn, has been given unprecedented political capital unlike any other leader of Ethiopia.

Now that it is morning in Ethiopia, what is the new Prime Minister going to do with it? The opportunity presented to you demands a paradigm shift that is fitting to the new game changer event in Ethiopia. To squander the political capital given to you by acting in the same ways as those who had not been given such a gift would be a far more distressing mistake than any of the mistakes of past rulers of Ethiopia from the beginning of time.

You are positioned to start afresh, and your party should take advantage of this instead of wasting the opportunity to unite the country. A new morning demands a new beginning. You have a great opportunity to mobilize the nation as never before. The silent majority that has been waiting four decades for a better day is tired of waiting, but it is still willing to give you a chance if you just make a gesture by treating the peaceful opposition fairly.  You have a great moment to harness the great optimism in the air for the development of Ethiopia, if you just embrace the blessings extended to you.

Bring good news to our land by granting amnesty to all political prisoners with a commitment to non-violent struggle as a breath of fresh air and good will. Limit the prosecution of crimes of treason and terrorism to real offenders and not as an excuse to silence freedom of speech. To this end, make the trial of the crime of treason and terrorism transparent and just; ideally, televise the court proceedings.

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