Ethiopia: Politics Devoid Of Patriotism
By: Shabait Staff
February 17, 2004

One of the causes of political crisis and all-round failure of Ethiopia has been the policy of its consecutive rulers. This has always been a policy using one particular section of the society for their own benefit, while suppressing other sections forcefully in order to prolong their stay in power. They followed this policy instead of treating all citizens equally and ensuring a stable political situation, which guarantees the dignity and human rights of every Ethiopian. This style of rule, is geared neither to the interests of the people not to the benefit of the nation as a whole.

This policy has been tried and failed not only in Ethiopia but also in many other African countries. Its outcome had been not peace and stability, but only conflict, destruction and civil wars.

Emperors Menelik and Haileselassie viewed the Amhara ethnic group as the instrument and security for their political power. They handed over all political and administrative authority as well as land ownership and all national resources to a few Amhara feudalists while trying to rule the rest of the society through military force and subjugation. No people tolerate tyranny forever. Hence the Ethiopian people, fed up with oppression and ethnic domination, rose up spontaneously and overthrew the Haileselassie regime. The military junta, which filled the political vacuum thus created, i.e. the Derg, was not free either of the paternalistic chauvinism attitude practiced by its predecessors. As a result the peoples’ opposition movements, the spontaneous ones and those organized, short the Derg’s rule.

The appalling and ironical historical fact is that the Haileselassie and Derg regimes, while claiming to represent one section and using it as a fortress, never benefited the masses belonging to that particular ethnic group which they regard as theirs, but only worked to the advantage of a few feudalists. On the contrary, they made the Amhara ethnic group a victim of hatred and a target. Members of the Amhara nationality, themselves denied justice or privileges, were victimized and looked down as the advocates and spies of the oppressive regimes.

The TPLF regime seized political power after the fall of these regimes. It should have been logical for the TPLF to learn from these experiences and establish a broad-based all embracing democratic administration. This would have solved the Tigriyans’ and the whole Ethiopian peoples’ problems. Nevertheless, this regime resorted to the degenerate policy of racial politics devoid of patriotism. The TPLF regime practiced this in an institutionalized manner and in a worse manner than the previous regimes. The struggle initiated by the Tigrayans was usurped by the TPLF to be used for the narrow end of revenge. Using the people of Tigray as a tool, the leaders of the TPLF tried to suppress and sow discord among the other ethnic groups in order to prolong their rule. These attempts by the TPLF, like those of previous regimes, have failed. Its outcome the wounds created which will take a long time to heal. Thus, the Tigrayans will be hated and made victim as far as the other Ethiopians are concerned. Consequently, the racist policy pursued by the TPLF, in order to prolong its rule, has eventually resulted in giving rise to tribal conflicts and instability, which is pushing the regime to the abyss. So, where is Ethiopia heading? This is a question to which all the people and political forces in Ethiopia should ponder on deeply.