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Remedies and Practical Opportunities in Building our Modern Ethiopia

Google map of Ethiopia and the region

Wes Maru (PhD, CEng)

This apolitical and non-academic piece is intended to provide remedies and practical opportunities in “building our modern (but 3000 years old) Ethiopia” by investing in and invigorating our human and cultural capital to exploit our natural resources, which is passed on to us through the sacrifices of our forefathers and foremothers for millennia.  

However, as I write today, Ethiopia is being defended again by the bloods and lives of our brothers and sisters.  Our gratitude for their sacrifices is limitless and showing reverence must be their first reward.  Even more so, for those who paid the ultimate price, may their soul rest in peace. 

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At the same time, an inexplicable news came out from the government of Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali that one hand declares it won the war, hardly, and while on the other is pardoning prisoner politicians that were accused of inciting violence or being active combatants for the terrorist TPLF.  The reasons given to arrive at these decisions are hardly convincing and may open a political chasm that may have profound consequences.  As Ethiopians flock to say #NoMore to neo-colonialists, they should remind their government too.  This will be addressed in a separate piece, but we stress that the old maxim “No Justice, No Peace” holds true about the pardoning. Ignoring it will prove catastrophic.

Yet, this article will still address a large subject – namely, building and defending a nation concurrently.  To provide better context and readability, the article is organised in two sections. 

In the first section, the scourge of ethnic politics having devastating consequences in the very social fabric of our society particularly at family and neighbourhood level is explored.  How it piled on mistrust among families and neighbourhoods, even within the same ethnic group that it claims to stand for.  It also delves into why ethnic politics, as an imported colonial virus to enslave us turned into an ideology of freedom by bringing our national identity in a denigrating sharp focus. It primarily attacked our Ethiopianess by scapegoating what they call it “the expansionist Amhara”, favouring banana republics instead to keep us divided, weak and poor as the colonialists intended.  Ethnic politics is also part of the weapons for our hidden enemies – namely, Begging and Handouts, which kept our country in a bottomless pit for generations.  Of course, although by design, both ethnicity and begging are partly our own faults. They have become the demons haunting us and the perceptions narrative intertwined with our country Ethiopia (and Africa).  We need to extricate ourselves from these demons but only through smart leadership, public participation and particularly through socially responsible business enterprises.

The second section delves into how the diaspora, who now contribute the highest component of the nation’s forex, could collectively create business-oriented investment and knowledge transfer to alleviate our current predicament.  This is distinct from the usually romantic and short-lived movement for diaspora contributions for “people and country”, which is characterised by small but helpful handouts that we are witnessing today.  What this article suggests is a bold initiative based on a more sustained large-scale collaboration and engagement that can be realised through long-term and meaningful direct diaspora investment (DDI) to create personal wealth and development for our nation.  The sustained transfer of skills and much needed forex investment by the diaspora in a form of IMF alternative bank will bring a new vista in how diaspora wealth can be used at home – but to create more wealth both for the diaspora and to our nation.  Of course, for a DDI of this magnitude to work, it must be met with a corresponding commitment by the government of Ethiopia (GoE) to introduce conducive legislations for investment particularly to get rid of corruption.  In addition, the GoE also should device a strategic lead in strengthening our defence forces and technologies in partnership with business investments in the sector.  For example, the GoE’s ten-year agricultural sector development plan is an encouraging leadership that should be supported.  For a nation with almost 85% of its population engaged in agricultural production, the 36% contribution to the GDP is small. Worse still, the importation of significant agricultural produces is unnecessarily easting up the much-needed forex reserve.  Without a fundamental transformation in the agricultural sector, Ethiopia’s social and economic destiny will remain uncertain, and it will be hard to break free from begging and handouts.

Part I : The Scourge of Ethnic Politics

Ethiopia is currently fighting for its survival from its historical enemies.  While the war is waged from afar, the fighting and blood shedding is among Ethiopia’s own children, where on one side are those who turn mercenaries and are hellbent on their mother’s destruction while on the other are those heroes who are becoming martyrs every day for its preservation.

In 1991, a power vacuum was created by the Soviet styled communist Derg, who brutalised its own people and lost complete popular support particularly once the advancing separatist Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) controlled the port city of Massawa.  For Derg, that defeat made it like a house of cards while it brought the mercenary TPLF, a ruthless Albanian styled communist guerrilla group, a bounty of power.

However, after TPLF took power and for the following 27 years, it become hungrier for more power and started to inflate its contribution in the overthrow of the Derg by cultivating a mythical invincibility, a false belief that now put them in hot waters.

It must be pointed out that in 1991, the people of Ethiopia have sadly lost their fellow Eritreans while happily rid of dictator Mengistu.  However, the TPLF crocodiles that the people of Ethiopia helped to seize power turned out to be the most pernicious of all leaders in the nation’s thousands of years history.  As mercenaries for our historical (neo)colonial enemies and Egypt, they religiously implemented the colonial divide and rule play book to destroy Ethiopia (and all Africa) into banana republics.  To keep the wishes of their neo-colonialist masters and Egypt, who suitably wanted to keep us divided, weak and poor so that they can exploit Africa’s rich resources unchallenged, these mercenary oligarchs die to feast on their masters’ crumbs, which is of course monumentally large. That is how Africa is so rich.

At the centre of TPLF’s ideology is federal governance based on ethnicity, with the TPLF authored constitution serving as the only modern-day apartheid on Earth to ravage Ethiopia.  The constitution from its inception was defective to build a nation by enshrining cessation as a…

Read More : Remedies and Practical Opportunities in Building our Modern Ethiopia

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