In multi-ethnic Ethiopia, diversity has been a serious obstacle to a stable state building.
In fact, the process of state-building has been paralyzed by ethnic tensions, squabbles and conflicts.
Although ethno-regional identity politics, at least in its most violent manifestation, is a relatively recent phenomenon in the country. Ethiopia’s political entrepreneurs of various communities have pursued divergent ways of dealing with diversity. We have seen assimilationist policy (Amhara), that came about only one ethnic group dominance over the rest, giving the cultural, religious and linguistic superiority over the rest of the population. In those old bad days to be a real Ethiopian one should disguise himself and wear camouflage of amhara. it did not work, rather it caused the rise of more chaos, in fact some opted to prefer secessionist policy since the assimilationists were not accommodating, examples are Eritreans, Oromos and even Somalis.
Then there was the other group, led by the Tigrayans, that have gone for the ‘accommodationist’ option. They used to propagate the ethnic federalism approach to accommodate all different ethnics in Ethiopia. Theoretically one of the best constitutions ever put together, it promises freedoms for individuals as well as for the different ethnic nationalities. If it was implemented as it written we could have a different Ethiopia; peaceful coexistence, economically strong, helping hand for the neighboring countries. However, the experience in the last decades taught us a different lesson; fragile country where human rights are continuously abused, people were displaced, many of them disappeared, people were used against their will to abuse their relatives, the list goes on and on. The “accommodationst” policy was not working either.
The current regime could have done better job than any of the above, they could have put in place a TRUE accomodationist policy that could lead true ethnic federalism, not the corrupted abused system we have seen and experienced before. Nevertheless, the current regime seems to be fighting against freedoms of all kinds, narrowing political space to almost zero, imitating another king living in the era of demand masfin
– Maxamed Sh Cumar
Somali region: Political circus that reducles public suffering.
Recently, Somali region’s corrupt political elites have turned into public entertainers by holding shambolic political rallies in various zones with no political manifest or strategy.
With no credible political opponents to compete with and fully funded with public money and media, the region’s political cartels are on a wasteful political tour that have already resulted accidents and death through reckless driving.
Their campaign is so simple: don on expensive suit and expose your teeth in a sheepish smile. Absurd! As these ruthless, corrupt elites storm zone after zone– driving in expensive, wasteful land cruisers and hiding behind PP political mask– they are greeted by a bewildered public. Remember, manipulating the public is their easiest task.
Like a world cup winning coach, some of them look hysterical and have suddenly developed a weird taste: asking their manipulated, ignorant clan fans to carry them around in victory celebrations. Celebrating with corrupt officials and validating their filthy behavior adds a bizarre twist to the drama. What a ridiculous site to watch.
The level of deception and fraud some of these guys engage is mind boggling. As these incompetent elites indulge in political fanfare and drain millions of taxpayers money into their own pockets, millions in Somali region face widespread food insecurity driven by complex factors including the COVID‑19 pandemic, high food prices, the desert locust outbreak, weather extremes and poor governance, to name but just a few.
Reduced resilience means the negative impacts of any shock is implied with devastating impact on lives and recovery. Nothing is more disasterous than having a state run entirely on clan system– where the rule of law is thrown out of the window; corruption and lack of accountability are institutionalized and rewarded.
In a region where most of the population depend on humanitarian assistance and tormented by rotting basic services, how long will the Machiavellian cartel-clan system continue to ride on the back of dispossessed people.
As I close my eyes the image of corrupt political elite foolishly grinning, tossed up into the air by a mob of hysterical clan members remains perched in my head.
Sadly, when the big Landcruisers leave the remote villages in a hail of dust, the clan hysteria will evaporate and the lack of basic services will remain same. In such messy, primitive clan politics, it’s hard to define victim-villain relationship. “Congratulation” is the “most abused” word in Somali region. Holding public office and all the responsibility that comes with it is dispatched with “one congratulation”.
A nomination letter in the pocket and after few congratulatory words, a person has the license to loot public funds and display an oversized title on a desk. And a gullible public will quickly kiss their hands and address a regional bureau head as a “minister” or “waziir”.
Even more annoying is to see local journalists of SRTV addressing regional bureau heads as ” jaale wasiir”, so stupid and misleading.
A crazy political system indeed.
– Kassim Haji