Ethiopia: Citizens' Expectations From the New Prime Minister

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Some may think that Ethiopia had very famous leaders of global caliber. This is true in the sense that most of them have been able to maintain the territorial integrity and independence of this historical country. Despite their global feats, Ethiopian leaders, as charismatic as they are have hardly benefited from the patrimonial leaders of the country.

The leader of the imperial regime, the late emperor Haile Selassie who claimed to be a descendant of the Solomonic Dynasty and elect of God remained indifferent to the most unprecedented period of famine in the history of the country in 1976 while the Derge was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Ethiopian Workers Party in 1984. In a relatively traditional society like Ethiopia where a leader is adored only next to God, the caliber and style of leadership is critically decisive for the development of the country.

Since 1991, democracy has at least been instituted in this country through the promulgation of one of the best constitutions in Africa. The Ethiopian federal system of which a lot has been written and professed has been implemented but with a lot of challenges in and out of the country. It is also quite obvious that a demanding society has been created to ascertain its constitutionally guaranteed rights that would take the people of the nation to better livelihood and peace.

Circumstances behind the unrest over the last three years have put the government and the country into a cross roads with an irreversible shift towards more meaningful democratic order. The decision by the ruling party to rectify its rank and file has enabled it to use new strategies to swiftly respond to public needs and demands that need to be addressed immediately, in mid terms and through a longer period of time. This certainly is not easy at all.

The resignation of the former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has led to the peaceful transition of power which in most cases in not common in Africa. This had resulted in several repercussions. Far beyond the hitherto unaddressed demands of the public, more demands are already being felt.

In his speech during the inaugural ceremony of his premiership at the House of Peoples Representatives (HROs), Prime Minister Dr Abiye Ahmed ignited a spirit of hope and optimism in the mind of the public. This has been fair and fine but there is a lot to be desired and avalanches of challenges are to be crossed.

What then is expected from the new prime minister in cleaning up the multi-faceted mess created over the last three years? Among other things, the restoration of sustained peace is one of the top priority issues the prime minister and his cabinet should address.

Furthermore and in conjunction with the assurance of sustained peace, the prime minister and the government at large need to enforce the rule of law to curtail any level of hooliganism. The law and regulation needs to be enforced particularly in the areas of public peace and trade transactions on commodities and services that are daily required by the public.

The new prime minister and his cabinet are also expected to effectively blend the principle of public accountability in all sectors of public duties and responsibilities.

Lack of transparency and accountability in the utilization of public funds has been a chronic problem in this country. During the session allotted to the approval of public budget at the HPR, the Ministry of Finance has warned that public sectors that are not properly using their allocated budget will be accountable before the court of law but to date public fund is being misused even in the higher institutes of learning in this country. The utilization of public fund for the intended activities is one of the focal area in which swift corrective measures are to be taken.

Programs that have been instituted to provide employment opportunities for the youth are exceptionally critical. Any level of foot dragging or sluggish operation in youth empowerment programs could result in a wave of unrests.

The prevailing ethnocentric mentality in the public particularly among the youth is a huge cause of concern for the unity of the entire country. A sprit of democratic nationalism needs to be promoted in the context of commitment to national values to be cherished among citizens in their commitment to the unity of their country.

Our new prime minister and his cabinet need to work in promoting good governance and strict accountability in the educational sector, particularly in promoting education quality. "We speak of quality education because a highly qualified work force is urgently required at all levels."

Leading the decisive battle against corruption, contraband, rent seeking, nepotism, parochialism are all areas of public dissatisfaction that need to be addressed through institutional capacity building programs to ensure good governance at all levels.

One of the most important aspects of any political system is the separation of party and government duties and responsibilities. The jurisprudence of party and state relations need to be governed by the legal technical separation of powers and mutual and reciprocal relations between part and government functions. Some of the duties and responsibilities of a party and government are already mixed up in a haphazard manner requiring urgent corrective measures in the nation.

Promotion in public service and the reward system in this country seem to be conducted through clandestine internal networking among public officials who also occupy key positions in party nomenclature. A meritocratic promotion and reward system needs to be in place to encourage scrupulous workers to strive for more outputs in their areas of service.

Although decades have elapsed since the establishment of Ethiopia's media outlets, their outputs and organizational structures are still far below public expectations. Of course we have witnessed some level of capacity enhancement both in terms of the number of media outlets and their audiences. However, public and private media outlets are still far from being proactive. They have still not reached the levels in which they could be able to shape up positive public outlook on the overall development of the country. We all hope our new prime minister would consider such critical issues.

Ethiopia's export sector is still entangled with a lot of problems that need to be addressed. Increase in quantity and quality of exports was one of the assumptions that were considered during the fiscal measures taken to devaluate the Birr. Despite the opening of various infrastructural facilities like trans-boundary rail services, then, the country's export sector performance is still far below expectations. The new government is also expected to address such Marco Economic deficiencies.

The resurgence of the HIV and AIDS in Ethiopia has already become not only a health issue but a socio-economic challenge that the country is currently facing. Diseases that was not common in Ethiopia including diabetes, complications in kidneys, all forms of cancer diseases, upper respiratory infections, TB and other communicable diseases need the attention of the new prime minister and his cabinet.

Despite the efforts currently made to increase public awareness on the issues of gender violence, drug addiction, illegal migration there is still far more to be done to curb these social problems. The new PM and his cabinet need to pay attention to these and related problems.

Although the new prime minister and his cabinet are expected to carry out their duties entrusted to them by the peoples of Ethiopia, this does not however mean that the government alone could accomplish these duties. The entire public, government and private institutions, civil society organizations need to rally behind and world in close collaboration with the new prime minster.


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Publish date : 2018-04-04 08:50:52
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