Ethiopia: Let the Benefit of Reform Outweigh Its Costs

Kenya: Chief Justice Maraga Launches Bench Book for Criminal Cases


It will not surprise any reformist camp that propagating and putting on the ground the kind of change needed will be met with resistance. That pushback will come from the very nature of human beings, who instinctively resist abrupt change, and losers of the new dynamics.

But there exists no precise formula of how to capture in advance the magnitude and timing of resistance in order to have full control of the situation. And when the challenges become too adverse, there is a reasonable temptation to double back to a state of affairs that may in retrospect seem better than what we currently have on our hands.

The significance of the benefits the nation can garner from the ongoing reforms under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) should be what gives the country hope and determination. Indeed, the positive force created in the hearts of many toward attaining the goals of the reform should not be overshadowed by the unfortunate and unjustifiable attacks by mobs.

Although the nation is currently enjoying the refreshing wind of hope and appears to be poised for an unprecedented era of unity and prosperity, painful events of conflict and mass internal displacement have surfaced across the country.

Long-enduring shortcomings of government, on the political as well as economic front, which were previously kept under wraps are also being pronounced louder than ever, rendering the reform short of time and space. The list of circumstances in need of urgent actions is seemingly endless.

Amidst all of this, however, one crucial factor that should not be overlooked is that the adverse issues the nation faced for years will not vanish overnight. It will not matter how significant the reforms will be or how overwhelming an acceptance the reformists will recieve from the public.

Along with the legitimate demands for political, social and economic adjustments by the new leadership, the public ought to allow a reasonable amount of time and space for the reformists to deal with the issues.

As eager as we are to reap the harvests of the reform, we should similarly contribute our part in terms of playing positive roles. There is an implicit call from the reformists at the top and from the public at large for determination and commitment of leaders at all levels to live up to the expectations of the time and shoulder a fair share of the burden.

Their proximity to the general public makes their roles highly instrumental in giving confidence and manifesting the core values of the reform. This is an opportunity any local leader or opposition figure can grasp to emulate the prime reformer, Abiy, beyond just giving standing ovations at meetings with him.

Attributing the recent loss of innocent lives to some group orchestrating the attacks does not spare the government from criticism of its inadequacy to contain such problems. But the glamour of the new era of cooperation with regional players in the Horn, the rapprochement with opposition parties and the outflow of public merriment has somewhat deluded many into believing the rarity of political mishaps anymore.

It is essential for the government to put most of its resources in bringing peace and stability to the country, even if it means compromising on the country's track record of economic growth. Curbing the escalating social cost by the conflicts should be an agenda at the top of the list. The situation at hand demands undivided attention and a holistic approach in a manner that should have strong connotations to pre-empting whatever ill this lawlessness will bring.

While calling for stringent attitudes by the government toward violent conflicts, in order to realise genuine democracy and shared prosperity, the hearts of the expectant people must also be brave. We need to be smart enough to reject any tantalising offer to create more polarization in politics, since it will not only be short-lived, but will also backfire in our faces.

The benefits we could get from the reforms are so wide-ranging and valuable that our patience, exercise of restraint and constructive criticism of the events on the ground should outweigh our instinct to be angry and end this reform before it has traveled any meaningful length.


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Publish date : 2018-10-08 10:14:21
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