Ethiopia: Twenty Six Years – Building Ethiopia With Change and Challenge

“All sovereign power resides in the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. This Constitution is an expression of their sovereignty. Their sovereignty shall be expressed through their representatives elected in accordance with this Constitution and through their direct democratic participation.” This is the fundamental principle of Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopian Constitution.

According to the consistory of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, FDRE, the sovereignty of the people is not subject for compromise. Sovereignty is not something that is given to the people. It rather is their democratic right.

A free, fair and timely election is one of the way via which people express their sovereignty. Until the coming of the ruling EPRDF, Ethiopians had never stood exposure to the true meaning of democratic election. This was specially true for commoners.

With the downfall of Derg dictatorial regime, people have come to understand the true meaning of election and democratization. This does not mean that true and pure democracy was exercised by the people as such things are not yet fully practised even in countries that considered themselves founders of democracy.

As a toddler of democratization, the country has witnessed several ebbs and surges. But, threats of democratization were taken as opportunities to fill political vacuums .

Using their constitutional rights, the people of Ethiopia have been practising their democratic rights in various forms. Using all constitutional rights guaranteed by the constitution, the people in unison with the ruling party, have been fixing their political puzzle.

A 26 years time has elapsed since the country embarked on the path of democracy. Had it not been the active participation of people the country would not have achieved what it achieved now. It would be one of the disintegrated nation like the other African Horn countries.

Active participation of the people in all forms of the government structure has contributed to fix the social economic and political challenges of Ethiopians. Their active participation in the election process has contributed a great share in this regard.

The zeal of the the people in building the democratization process has contributed a great role in speeding up the ongoing economic progress. For the past two and half decades the people had been in the forefront to fix the political economy of the country.

Though the nation was not new for the concept of constitution, it was the 1995 constitution that guaranteed sovereignty of power. The previous constitutions were meant to protect the interest of the rulers instead of the majority. Both the imperial and the dictatorial regime had used the constitution to sustain their grip on the rein of power.

Fighting all forms of bad governance and its attendant ills are the ways people practice their democratic rights and show their sovereign authority. There were several instances that bad leadership had almost crippled the economic and political progress of the country. Due to the greed of some corrupt officials the true image of country was some what tainted. However, people did not sit idle when such a situation erupted.

The past 26 years were years of change and challenge in Ethiopia. Both the change and challenges that call for a remedial solution are conspicuous. Lacking good governance and a rent-seeking mind set among some corrupt officials are singled out the major challenges.

Corruption, be it grand or petty, is still a serious challenge in Ethiopia. Most of those who are trusted to power, small or big, manipulate and use the law to suit their personal ends, using their leadership power as a short cut to amass wealth. However, citizens along with the government are still fighting them.

Despite several ups and downs, the country is able to keep its pace towards economic development and democratization. This economic and political change is not a wind fall one or an over night process. It has costed the nation a lot. Committed and good leadership that prioritize people’s interest and responsiveness towards their concerns has played a significant role in this regard. Good leadership has played a key role in building the new Ethiopia.

Leadership differs greatly from country to country and from situation to situation. Likewise, the leadership style of a particular country is a result of that country’s background, the principles on which it was established, and the way it adheres to those principles.

When a given administrator comes to power, the motives of the administrator and those he leads, determines the definition and the outcome of his leadership. Only those who come to leadership, not by might, nor by power, but humbled by the spirit of serving others, meet the original goal of leadership.

The past five democratic elections had witnessed that active involvement of citizen. It as well had played a significant role for good governance and leadership. The recent deep renewal has also added value to it.

Ethiopia is on the march to join the ranks of middle level income countries. In the exigency of attaining this goal, the role of good leadership has a significant role. In this regard, active involvement of the people has a vital role.

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