Lately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has held discussion with diplomatic communities in Ethiopia on the recent clashes in Gondar and some parts of Oromia. According to the Ministry, the facts on the ground have ignited discontent and they are taken over by the subjective views and agendas of a group of people living inside and outside of the country.
According to the Ministry, some extremist groups from inside and outside have tried to divert and utilize the genuine questions of the public to their own advantages via social media. State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie said that the presence of unemployed youth in rural and urban areas have created opportunity for destructive elements to utilize the situation and the unemployed youth for their own agendas. This situation has resulted in public demonstrations which did not have recognition in some towns of Oromia and Amhara states.
“As it was evidenced in the recent demonstrations, some destructive elements have done all they could to frame the already existing legitimate concerns of the people regarding good governance and the question of self-administration along the line of very much insular thoughts. Though objective reasons [which let the people to raise their concerns] were legitimate, they were taken over by destructive political elements,” according to the State Minister. In this regard, the need for good governance, demand for improved facilities, fair distribution of resources and unemployment were some of the objective reasons behind the protests.
According to him, this objective reasons have awakened the government to evaluate itself and to take measures instantly. Unemployment, particularly, the problem of filling the gaps between expectations of the youth and the capability to deliver what they expect is one of the reasons behind the discontent.
According to the State Minister, growth and development come up with their own challenges. The presence of a demanding society is one of the manifestation of development. In this regard, the emergence of a demanding society that expects more and more from the growing economy has exacerbated the situation. What is more, the problem associated with lack of job opportunities for graduate students have also added another challenge.
Lack of good governance and the failure to address the concerns of the public within a short period of time have also further exacerbated the discontent. The government’s response to public’s concern was also very sluggish.
As a means to address the concerns of the people, the government is discussing with different sections of the society. According to Ambassador Taye, in the process of settling unrest, a clash occurred between the law enforcing bodies and the demonstrators. In due course, people have lost their lives including passersby who were not part of the demonstration.
The issue of unemployment is one of the objective causes for the public’s discontent. Similar to other African countries, youth unemployment is one of the major challenges for Ethiopia. According to him, in response to youth unemployment, the government is doing its level best to create job opportunities. The expansion of industries and other projects is expected to address the problem. In this regard, massive job creation is one of the priority areas of GTP II.
Regarding land administration, the State Minister told the diplomatic community that the problem would be resolved based on constitutional arrangement.
Regarding involvement of independent bodies to investigate the issues, the State Minister said that using the Constitution as well as international human right standards investigation would be conducted by an independent organ. However, as to the Ministry, the government does not need any external intervention on internal affairs. In doing so, the government will facilitate the ground for stakeholders and legal measures will be taken on those who violate human rights during the demonstration. He also mentioned that the Ethiopia Human Right Council is making moves to identify the amount of injury during the demonstration.
Responding to the ambassador’s reflection on why the government ban Internet during the demonstration, Ambassador Taye said, that was “a hard choice” made as an immediate solution to protect youth from communicating with those extremist groups.
The ambassador also stressed that the government is engaged in various discussions with community leaders, youth associations, and public figures to listen to the public and resolve the issue the issue once forever.
He added that the violence had become issue of concern for the government as the nation is in a transformation stage. And this progress of development should not be interrupted and that is why the government is set to use democratic solutions to stabilize the country, according to the ambassador.
Following the recent clashes in different parts of the country the government has accepted most of the issues of concerns that broke out in different parts of the country as consequences of bad governance, unemployment and the likes.
Like most African countries, the issue of bad governance and unemployment have become serious issues of concern in Ethiopia. And it is the failure to respond quickly to the public’s demand that has caused the recent clashes in some parts of the country. It has become the cause for loss of human life and property. In a country like Ethiopia where its rapid economic growth has impressed the world, the recent clashes have negative implication to the achievements made. In this regard, the government has to be more active and responsive to respond to the public’s demand. It should not let outsider forces interfere in the internal matters of the country. In other words, the facts on the ground which resulted in public discontent should not be taken over by subjective agendas of outside forces.
What is more, government’s ears have to be closer to listen to the public’s cries. Addressing the issues of good governance may not be an overnight process. It may take time. But, this should not be used as an excuse for not addressing the public’s concerns. Individual concerns must also be considered and taken into consideration while addressing the question of the public. All forms of malpractices in the political system should not be left unresolved. Any individual who pose a challenge for the progress of the political system the political procedures has to be detached from the system. Any excuses should not be left unchecked that would hinder the democratization process.
(Source: The Ethiopian Herald)