BY KEBOUR GHENNA – Modern day Ethiopia is characterized by ethnic groups concerned about the protection of their rights and interests. This concern is motivated by an actual or perceived inequality of treatment and allegations of both de jure and de facto discrimination. Ethiopia is tearing itself apart over what are essentially anthropological questions, about the nature of cultural identity and the narratives of victimization and threat, linking the present with the past and projecting onto the future.
The appeal of “our people” perceived to be endangered is difficult to resist. It could only be resisted by those with conscious intellectual viewpoints that continually provided reality checks against the claims of grievance. You would assume in a civil society, win-win deals between consenting adults add to the wealth of the country. People say please and thank you, happy to exchange favors with one another. A crude society is a different matter. It is win-lose all the way, offering dreams impossible to realize without massive violence and destruction.
But here, we are just guessing about the future. We are only about few months before the ‘Elections’ heading into rival nationalist causes, and being torn apart by leaders who legitimated their actions by near- unanimous support from ethnic constituencies.
In this rather wobbly scenario, the intransigence of some ethnic based political parties could make dialogue illusory and consensus questionable. A crisis could then come in several ways, ranging from rejecting the results of the election as rigged to the more direct threat of direct violence against local minorities and indirect violence through forced migrations. The repercussions would reach well outside Ethiopia.
So what to do?
Postpone the elections? The political momentum appears for the moment to be with the powerful forces urging that the elections occur on time. They argue that if we don’t do this, we may not have a country in June… I say “Bull Crap”.
On the other side, just leaving aside the logistical problem, a variety of political organizations fear intimidation, harassment, physical attacks, threats, and property damage; they are concerned that elections held without adequate security will further increase accusations of rigged elections and create conditions for violence…I say that’s a serious concern.
But wait… why not get ahead of ourselves and think of holding rolling elections. You know like holding the vote over three or four weeks across the country (like India recently), so limited security forces would ensure people take part in the vote, with polls spread over different dates. Just a thought.
By the way do we know who has the authority to delay the vote?
It’s unclear. The government is organizing the vote under the terms of the current constitution. This government can always find a way to amend the election timetable, we all know it’s cable of doing more for us!
In any case this election looks “stupid.” But it’s not stupid. It’s wicked.
Unless, Dear Readers, you agree with me that the agenda is already set… the strategy already determined… the election’s fate sealed… It’s “Abye or Die.” There’s no other way. And if there is ever any doubt about it, it will be resolved in Washington DC…. like the Renaissance Dam!