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You could have a million ideas; they are worthless if you don’t get them done - Lauren Amarante

The challenges of nation-building & democracy in Ethiopia

Saturday, 23 March 2019 03:26 Written by
Introduction Nations are a basic unit of human political organization and an important element of modern society. Whether it is in the form of a nation-state or a multi-national state, nation-building has remained an important project in the world. Nations are not the mere result of wars or any other historical accidents but a conscious design and statecraft of men and women with good vision and resolve. Nation-building is always a work-in-progress that needs constant nurturing and re-invention as it constantly faces new challenges. A nation-building project, therefore, is a process of creating tangible and intangible threads that hold a political entity together and gives it a sense of purpose. It is a complex process that often takes time and involves (1) building a political entity which corresponds to a given territory, and a common citizenship, (2) building institutions which symbolize the political entity and (3) building a common sense…

What is transitioning in Ethiopia?

Thursday, 11 October 2018 17:27 Written by
"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome” ~ Isaac Asimov Major global media outlets reported about the spectacular transition, at times transformation happening in Ethiopia. CNN described the change as a remarkable political transformation never seen in the country's recent history while BBC rated the pace as so fast that it is almost observing a different country since Abiy Ahmed became the prime minister in April. On a similar note, the Atlantic emphasized the fact that Abiy Ahmed began his tenure with a series of radical, nearly unimaginable reforms starting from ending the state of emergency, freeing political prisoners, and, most notably, extending an invitation of peace to the Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki and in doing so, he has inspired a rare, renewed sense of national hope in Ethiopians—and relief in Eritreans—around the world. The Council for Foreign Relation entitled one of its articles “Ethiopia’s long…

Education Policy & the Politics of Change in Ethiopia

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 06:22 Written by
Introduction Education provides a fundamental base for all further human, social and economic developments. As such, it is a spine of a given nation. It inspires creativity; foster innovation and inculcates principles and morality in generations and move a country forward in multiple ways. Education shapes the best in us and the best in us dies when the best education dies. Educators are people who took the responsibility of leading human and national development by inculcating the best in the next generations and the best in us will be undermined when educators are undermined. As a guideline that leads the process of human and national development by ensuring the availability and quality of human resources, education policy is among the central policies that deserves critical attention. Successive rulers in Ethiopia have abused education policy as a means of imposing their political ideologies on the public. As such, Ethiopian education policy…

Ethiopia needs a politics of citizenship

Monday, 13 August 2018 08:48 Written by
Journey to democracy Ethiopia is on a path to democracy. However, historical injustices and identity questions are still central to the Ethiopian politics. Paving sustainable way for democratic transition in the country requires understanding how different nations and nationalities have been incorporated into, and most importantly how some have been excluded and marginalized within the Ethiopian political structure. This requires a fine-grained ethnography of how people experienced, understood and expresses their experiences in the process of Ethiopian formation. That being said, ‘state” represents the most dominant political structure in the world today. Citizenship identity, which principally reference to the relationship between individuals and the state (state-ness) makes an important and most accepted political identity. Yet in practice people are members of multiple and shifting political communities at different scales. I believe, the politics of citizenship provide both inclusive and feasible alternative in Ethiopian politics. Politics of citizenship: Meaning The politics…

The great political divides in Ethiopia: how easy to bridge?

Sunday, 05 August 2018 13:39 Written by
 The origin of the divides The origin of the political divides in Ethiopia is how people define being and becoming an “Ethiopian”. There are mainly two ways: (1) one way of being and becoming an Ethiopian is by having or being able to get an Ethiopian passport (citizenship), and (2) the other way relates to how people interpret history, heritage, and culture. However, there isn’t universal agreement on what it means to be an Ethiopian based on history, heritage and culture. This is because different ethnic groups claim different history, different heritage, and cultural traditions. Moreover, different ownership attitudes and perceptions are common on few shared histories and traditions. Consequently, groups in power often impose their own history, heritage and culture and equate it with Ethiopian. I believe that makes the seed of the great political divides in the country. But most evidently, the conflict between political elites caused by…

Political reform involves complex bargaining

Saturday, 04 August 2018 17:12 Written by
Introduction Ethiopia is undergoing a substantive reform and political changes moving in a democratic direction. For the reform to bring viable democracy in the country, it needs the “institutions” of democracy. But before all that it is important that we understand reform as a complex bargaining process. There are at least two groups in any political reforms: those who want change (the reformer) and those who want to maintain the status quo (the guardians of the status quo). Over the last three months, we read various comments and advise that urge the reformers to build democratic institutions and speed up the democratic transitions in the country. However, we barely see comments and advise on how the reformers can succeed in their bargaining with the guardians of the status quo. The later is a prerequisite for speeding up both institutional building and democratic transitions in the country. First of all, it…

Collective madness happens only under ulterior motive in Ethiopia

Wednesday, 25 July 2018 09:42 Written by
The ethnic conflict narrative in Ethiopia The Ethiopian government has been using ethnic conflict as a critical threat to grip on power for over two decades. They framed it as a peril to scare the Ethiopian people and the international community alike. Then, they presented themselves as the only savior from this looming danger. I wrote few arguments against this mantra on a conceptual and an empirical ground over the last two years. I argued ethnic conflict (if it makes any sense at all) has a very rare chance to happen in Ethiopia because of the crosscutting nature of various identities. This argument has generated controversy among handful of government supporters mainly because it goes against the dominant narrative in the country. What constitutes Ethnic conflict? A conflict between individuals or groups of individuals become an “ethnic conflict” only when the individuals (groups) in conflict expressly fight for their ethnic…

Inclusive Dialogue, National Reform & Reconciliation in Ethiopia: A Meta-Modeling Approach

Wednesday, 25 July 2018 09:28 Written by
Introduction Ethiopia has suffered a structural as well as human identity crises for over a century. The Ethiopian political structure has been in a dilemma of being an empire, nation state, multinational state and even a complex chiefdom. Similarly, Ethiopian identity (Ethiopiawinet) has suffered from a crisis of being a citizenship or a nationality, as the result of which the question of nationalities has remained unanswered question in the country. Many Ethiopians have sacrificed their life to resolve these dilemmas while not few choose to remain in denial. Finally, it seems that Ethiopia is ready to accept “what it is” and to communicate that to the world through a plain language. National dialogue, consensus & reconciliation are key to open Ethiopia to itself and to the world equally. Inclusive national dialogue Inclusive dialogue, in politics, is a genuine representation and contribution of diverse stakeholder to ensure that a wide cross-section…
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At EAPRI, we believe in the power of critical information in building a brighter future. Our focus is on the opportunities and challenges of attaining the development visions and goals of the nations of East Africa region.