The Ethiopia We Need

Exiled Ethiopian lecturer of Journalism Wodajo writes an appeal for the country he'd like to see

We need Ethiopia to be a country where every individual is treated equally, regardless of their ethnic background, sex, age, medical condition, political or religious views; a country that does not favor or neglect one group more than other groups. We need a country where people are recruited for jobs based on their merits, hard work, competence and experiences instead of nepotism, favoritism, or loyalty to a political party.

We need a country that cares for its citizens by providing education, housing, job opportunities, health services; a fair and equitable infrastructure for  all its citizens instead of only for a very few privileged groups. A country where there are no first citizens and second citizens. A country that bleeds for its citizens who die in the deserts while migrating to the other part of the world to achieve a life they should have been provided in their home country. A country that weeps for its people who are abused, bullied, intimidated and harassed by their employers in the Middle East.

We need a country where the media does not tells us that “everything is perfect” while social and economic problems are happening right in front of us.

We need a country where the media does not tells us that “everything is perfect” while social and economic problems are happening right in front of us.  We need a country which has independent and vibrant media organizations that work to present accurate, true, objective and unbiased news to the public, enabling them to make informed decisions about important matters affecting their lives. Media organizations should not be PR organizations. We need media that is not under the grip of the ruling party – because what we do not need, is a media that present mere propaganda, fictitious news stories and ridiculous, senseless, tasteless documentary films to build the image of the government! Media organizations should be managed by qualified and experienced people instead of cadres of the government who do not know the ABC’s of journalism and media management. We need Ethiopia to be a country where the media does not praise the government 24/7, for their small political, social and economic achievements. Instead, we need a media that critically pinpoints the weaknesses of the government so that they can improve and direct their strategies, plans and policies in the best interest of the people they are ruling.

We need a country where laws are enacted to protect and defend the public welfare, instead of laws that protect the interests or benefits of a particular ethnic group or political party. We need Ethiopia to be a country where the constitution is practically applied to promote development, democracy and equality. We need government officials to do their job in accordance with the laws and we need a country where our governors are held responsible for their actions, because no one should be above the law. We need a country where there is a truly independent judicial system; a system that is not controlled, operated or influenced by the ruling party. Our judicial system should treat the governors and the governed equally – because every person is equal before the law.

We need a country which makes sure all of its citizens are benefitting from the economic development, if any, that has been achieved. The government claims that we have had a registered double digit economic growth over the last eight years. But, if so, we should be able to see its manifestation at least in the form of salary. We need a country that pays us adequate salary to support our families, a country where three meals a day is not a luxury but a necessity. It is hilarious that Ethiopians, particularly those in the rural areas, are sitting in the darkness while other countries enjoy the electric power made in Ethiopia. We need a country that makes sure  its citizens get enough electricity before making decisions to sell it off to the neighboring countries.

We need a country where human rights are respected and protected, where journalists are not jailed, not intimidated, not tortured, not threatened and not made to flee their country simply because they are writing the truth.

We need a country where human rights are respected and protected, where journalists are not jailed, not intimidated, not tortured, not threatened and not made to flee their country simply because they are writing the truth. We need Ethiopia to be a country where people are not jailed or threatened because they have different political or religious views. A country where press freedom, political freedom, religious freedom and academic freedom are upheld as fundamental values to create a free and open society. We need an Ethiopia where there is no fear; where people peacefully demonstrate and challenge their governments to demand their rights. We need real freedom, not lip services!

We need a country where public institutions are managed and administered by competent, qualified, experienced and visionary individuals instead of inexperienced, incompetent and unqualified party men or women. Universities are expected to be a centre of excellence where innovative and creative minds that can change the world are made.

We need a country where differences and diversities are seen as blessings and not as threats. Differences in political and religious views are normal; our diversities should not be seen as a curse. We need a country that fully respects and recognizes the identities, languages and cultures of its different ethnic groups; where a single minority group does not dominate, segregate and marginalize others either politically or economically.

We need a country that is free of financially corrupt politicians, moral corruption, political corruption, corruptions caused by greed, and from all corruption. We need a country where land that is claimed to be public property is not to be sold or leased by the government, who displace local people without proper compensation.

We need a country where truth prevails instead of lies, deceits and hypocrisies; a country that is truly democratic and where power is only gained or lost through the votes of the public. We need a country where free, fair, democratic and genuine elections are held as per the constitution. We need a country where the citizens choose our leaders and officials without having to fear harassment and intimidation. We do not need elections for the sake of elections. We do not need election results that are manipulated or rigged. We do not need superficial elections designed to appear as democratic in order to please the western powers, so that they and other international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF will provide aid money. In most cases, half of their aid money goes straight into the pockets of corrupt public officials.

Ethiopia is a country with multifaceted and complicated political, economic and social problems. Above all, we need Ethiopia to be a country that reconciles itself with its historical pasts, embraces diversity and upholds our common values; a country that moves forward. We need Ethiopia to be a country where there is not a political and economic domination by a minority ethnic group. Ethiopia is a country with diverse languages, cultures and traditions. This diversity needs to be embraced. An Ethiopia that is forced to be a country of one language, one religion and one culture cannot have a bright future. It is indeed difficult to suggest a cure for all the problems we are facing in Ethiopia today, but if we work together, we can have an Ethiopia that accommodates all of us.

Original Article was posted by our partners at Untold Stories 

The Ethiopia We Need
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Human Rights
Milkiisaa Cimdeessaa Wodajo

Milkiisaa graduated with BA degree in Foreign language &Literature from Hawassa University in 2006 and MA degree in Journalism & Communication from Addis Abeba University in 2010. Former Lecturer of English & Journalism at Hawassa University in Ethiopia, blogs at Yerooblog and is currently living in exile.
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