Ethiopia: The Politics of Envy and Bad Discipline
By Tibebe Abera
As our beloved nation is approaching to a democratic election, there are enormous challenges facing all participants including organized political parties and common citizens. The under developed communications, technology, educational level, literacy, freedom of economy, freedom of speech, political envy and discipline will stubbornly continue to challenge the democratization of Ethiopia and furthers its maturity to a decade or two.
All citizens of the country have to work out for solutions along with EPDRF to bring about these democracy essentials facing the country. There will be no one stop solution to our democracy challenges as the country economic and political levels require more time for progress. Nonetheless, a steady progress towards mature democracy day by day, moth by month and year by year will for sure move us towards a better country. Again, for this year round, the obstacles of democracy will prevail throughout the election time.
As the nature of the essentials of democracy are intertwined, some of them will linger through many more years to come complicating our democracy. Some other essentials however can be improved and become things of the past in at a couple of election years.
In the cities and towns where democracy ingredients are relatively better, and the countries opportunities are more enjoyed, the politics of envy and bad discipline are greatly affecting the mood of elections. These negative behavioral traits in the minds of political leaders and their followers should be dealt to improve and smoothen the democratization process to the next maturity level.
The politics of envy as one of the components of democracy is the lack of acknowledgment of the sacrifices and progresses that have already been done to better our country by leaders of the past. Considerable number of citizens are observed to blindly forfeit the appreciation for the deeds of our great leaders to extent of offering no value to their accomplishments. The politics of envy makes strong arguments by focusing on mistakes and shortcomings of leaders of our people.
As the world knows, very recent governments have failed to move Ethiopia forward in the social, political and economic sectors that consequently scattered citizens throughout the globe. War, famine, illiteracy, poverty have remained to be the characteristics of these failed governments.
Since the birth of TPLF and the establishment of EPDRF, political and economic philosophies have been fought on. Some of them in a democratic manner and some of them in dictatorships. Women of the highlands have fought with their babies on their back. Many citizens have passed away with no one to lift their left behind families. Ethiopians from all walks of life have participated, contributed in the establishment and struggle of the parties.
Politicians and some citizens however try to diminish the sacrifice or the victory brought about as a result of the bones, blood and death of our fellow freedom fighters that eventually defeated DERG forever.
EPDRF and its politicians are relentlessly making more and more progress on every sun set both in in the democratization process and in the economy sectors of the country. In their time of leadership war, famine, illiteracy, poverty are being diminished impressively.
Recognizing this effort of many years and its victory should never be as hard as swallowing a bad taste food for parties and party members as well as for the common citizens. All participants of Ethiopian democracy should first whole heatedly recognize the efforts accomplished so far. Doing so will pave the way for better and smoother democratization. When we appreciate and affirm the efforts made, leaders will work even harder.
Considerable competitors of the EPDRF show dominantly antagonistic than progressive and affirming politics. As much as they want to show the weak sides of EPDRF, they also should recognize its strong parts. As much as they want to overthrow them from power in the democratic manner, they should also be seen working with them for the only country. Trivializing the progress made so far, could be categorized under the politics of envy when acknowledgements are skipped for the job well done. All participants in this paramount process should be progressive and reaffirming based on the principle of adding more on what we already have. That will boost the democratization process to reach its maturity in the shortest time possible.
The politics of bad discipline is the inability of accepting a gracious loss. As our 1997 and 2002 elections were democratic, there were many aftermath challenges faced. After both elections, competing parties could not dare to admit their loss. Instead, they spread rumors of the ruling party forgery and deceits when they could have respected the votes they won and strategize a win for future elections.
Of course it is painful to loose especially on very close competition. Do you remember? Starting controversy was what we used to do when we played with friends on the football field during childhood. If there was any means, we tried to deny the obvious goal when we lost the game ending with “Chewata ferese. Dabo tekores.”
In the unethical, unprofessional, inconsiderate arguments followed in the past election years, the democracy Ethiopia gained in the years have been smeared and made its progress look like very little. Such arguments will only elongate the maturity period of our democracy and is only tripping the walking man. This time of the year, however, all participating parties should equip themselves with political discipline to admit a loss and congratulate the winner. Otherwise, any other pretext will diminish to the politics of bad discipline and again elongates the maturity period of our democracy.
As democratization of Ethiopia is an effort being made amidst poor freedom of speech, poor freedom of economy, illiteracy, poor economy, its maturity will take some more election years. Despite the challenges our democracy faces for extended times, we can improve on the politics of envy and bad disciplines for this year election as democratization of our beloved country is not only the responsibility of the ruling party but also the responsibility of competing parties and all citizens. Remember, we will not reach on the matured democracy in this year’s election. We will however for sure progress forward towards maturity.
Good luck Ethiopia on the coming election!
SAMRA from San Diego.