Reasserting Ethiopia’s Commitment to Peace

During the past few days, many Ethiopian diplomats have been reasserting the commitment of the reformist government towards attaining full peace in every part of the country, proving the narrative of certain media outlets that try to tarnish the image of the country. It is known that there are numerous attempts of destabilization in the country that try to project images of Ethiopia as a center of instability in the Horn of Africa and undermine its commitment to peace. That in turn will reflect negatively on the image of the country and affect not only investment but also the potential of the country to become a major and attractive destination for tourists even more than previous years.

Ethiopia recognizes that peace is a huge and precious as well as decisive factor to keep up with the momentum of carrying out major development projects since the advent of the current reformist government.

During the past weeks discussions were held in the country on the status of every activity carried out during the past six years and what challenges were encountered and how they were overcome besides discussing what would be needed to continue at full speed in the realization of important and fundamental development projects that we see being completed and implemented. It is clearly visible and acknowledged even by adversaries of this government that it can meet its plans and avail the results to citizens. Suffice it to see how several development projects were achieved and others are being carried out towards completion with the set time frame and the necessary quality.

The construction of several new roads and the repair and maintenance of others, the construction of bridges and resort areas both in Addis as well as even in remote parts of the country that have the potential of attracting tourists present a good image of the country. Among these could be mentioned projects such as the Koyisha project, the Wonchi project, the Gorgora project, the Halala Kela project which all shine as showcases of the accomplishment of this reformist government that no one can deny.

Furthermore, the reconstruction and renovation of the capital city Addis Ababa is becoming a huge topic of discussion because it is changing the face of Addis Ababa in an unequivocal manner. People who return to Addis after a few years of stay elsewhere and have not been witnessing the day to day changes happening in the city would not even recognize the city with many new projects already completed such as the Unity Park, where you can have a good look at the country and its historical chapters of the past, the Friendship Park, where families could pass some time with their loved ones in ease and comfort, Entoto Park with a view to the overall scene of Addis and suitable for a walk and passing some leisure with friends and relatives and the newly inaugurated Adwa Victory Memorial, an architectural gem right at the heart of Addis.

Moreover, the newly launched introduction of the Corridor Development Project in Addis is engaged in changing the city with the total reconstruction of certain central areas in the city across all directions and several neighbourhoods. According to the city municipality more than 5,000 old houses have been demolished and billions of birr have been paid or are in the process of being paid in compensation. The project has availed more than 15,000 jobs and the majority of those who have been affected by this scheme are receiving new plots of land where they can construct their homes or businesses or are receiving new flats which are clean, healthy and comfortable leaving aside the old and dilapidated homes where they were living without the necessary utilities such as toilets with running water, sewerage and drainage system and no roads where during emergencies neither ambulances nor firefighters could access them readily to save lives. Many of such residents have been expressing their happiness of their new way of life thanks to the Corridor Development Project.

All these activities could not have been conceived and planned and carried out if there was instability in the country. Among the most challenging problems the reformist government had to face during the past six years has been the various armed groups which have tried to derail the activities of the government aimed at improving the livelihood of citizens and project the country towards new heights of decent life.

There have been continued negative news against Ethiopia and attempts to subvert the development projects of the country and at times even destabilize the establishment and try to change the government by the use of force.

Nonetheless the country has continued to register good numbers in terms of achievements in the economic, political and diplomatic spheres even by the admission of certain international bodies such as the International Monitory Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group, WB and the UN among others. Ethiopia may have had some ups and downs in its relations with certain of its traditional friends and allies but after some time it has resumed its good relations even with more intense terms.

Admittedly, the conflict in the north was a major challenge during the past few years that risked to totally putting the country in an abyss of doubtful existence as we know it today. The various achievements and developing activities were put at serious risk also because funds had to be earmarked to repulse the existential threats the hostile forces undertook against the state of Ethiopia as a whole.

The civil strife that dominated the headlines of many news outlets was instrumental in disseminating as much bad news as they could to tarnish the historical and perennial reputation of the country and its positive image. However, the government had to mobilize all the means necessary to stop the conflict and maintain the integrity, sovereignty, and independence of the country, resisting all the pressure that had piled up during the couple of years of the hostilities and the interferences and interventions of certain nations and organizations.

Ethiopia had to mount a massive campaign of resistance using every means, political and diplomatic and the contribution of its diaspora, its intellectual class, including academics and researchers, to explain to the world using whatever means were available, including writing articles in newspapers, giving interviews on electronic media, and carrying on intense activities on social media that were aimed at the entire world, explaining how Ethiopia was in fact a victim of crude aggression and had no option but to mount a huge resistance and counter offensive not to disappoint its citizens, damaging their psyche, and that Ethiopia in fact never lost a war of aggression on its territory.

Eventually after a few years of hostilities, the Pretoria Peace Deal was signed putting in black and white the cessation of hostilities, and the end of the conflict was heralded. Today, peace is registered, and Ethiopia has shown the world that it was right and did not do any wrong to anyone except its responsibility to preserve its existence, just as any other country would do. Now that peace has been restored in the areas involved in the hostilities, significant rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts are being undertaken, and people are returning to their normal peaceful lives. But some challenges still persist in certain pockets of territory in the Oromia region and Amhara, as well as in Benishangul Gumuz regional states, where certain groups still insist on their attempt to seek to depose the current government and install their own by the use of force.

However, the government has been stretching its arms wide open to embrace them and persuade them to come to a negotiating table where their voice would be heeded as long as they agreed to act peacefully. The government has several times asserted that Ethiopia cannot afford to be involved in any armed challenge with anyone, particularly within its own borders and against its own citizens, who may feel that they have not been treated as they would have liked or hoped by this government. The repercussions of such hostilities and violence would only aggravate the condition of the economy, which is trying to implement its homegrown policy aimed at addressing some macroeconomic issues and continuing with its current development trajectory.

In fact, according to the prime minister and the high government authorities, Ethiopia has been registering consistent growth during the past several years, deserving to have the testimony of many international bodies such as the IMF, the World Bank Group, the UN and others who have appreciated the efforts of the country in moving towards achieving the various development goals as prescribed by the UN.

Meanwhile, the government has established a commission that is ready to summon every group in Ethiopia to discuss any number of issues that have an impact on the government. According to the Commissioner of the National Dialogue Commission, it is ready to entertain everyone because it is an all-encompassing body constituted of well-knowledged academics and researchers who have passion for peace in Ethiopia and its growth to join shortly the category of middle-income countries.

This National Dialogue Commission has been carrying out its activities for the past two years and has made tremendous progress in terms of choosing those who are ready to take part in the discussions, despite the challenges it has been facing in the process. One of these is the non-ideal situation of certain woredas to engage in fruitful talks and discussions.

There are, however, persistent attempts by the government to bring all violent forces together to receive them with stretched arms. The response does not seem to be very fruitful due to the rigid views of these groups, who in many cases are also encouraged and even supported by some direct or indirect means to oppose the government and create instability in the country, a means to achieve their hidden strategic geopolitical interests at the expense of Ethiopia. There have been recent instances of attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Ethiopia. Naturally, Ethiopia has used all the relevant offices to foil such endeavors.

The flurry of diplomatic activities of Ethiopian diplomats and other high-ranking officials has been motivated by Ethiopia’s anxiety to make it clear that it is engaged more than ever before in trying to achieve full peace with all forces that try to present a military or diplomatic challenge to the current reformist government. It has been emphasized to all statesmen and envoys who have been visiting Ethiopia that the government is seriously committed to peace with all the forces and groups that may have issues or dissent with it.

The government has been stating again and again that any development venture would be of little use if there is no peace in every part of the country and that, in adherence to the terms and provisions of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopian constitution, elections are due within a couple of years, and all those who oppose the government’s policies will have the opportunity to take part in them and peacefully access power. But this could be achieved only through peaceful means in an atmosphere of complete stability and order, with everyone being obedient to the laws of the nation. All other means cannot be accepted and would only lead to an unwanted crisis at a time when Ethiopians are really fed up with conflicts and the rhetoric of war mongering. Ethiopia needs absolute peace in order to maintain its momentum of development and progress.


The Ethiopian Herald April 28/2014

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