Today’s exclusive guest is Taye Bogale, an author and history teacher. These days, Taye is at the forefront in advocating the virtues of Ethiopiawinet, unity and accountability. He passionately speaks for Ethiopian unity, fraternity, liberty, identity, dignity, nationality and authenticity.
The Ethiopian Herald made a short stay with him. Excerpts:
Herald: Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has come to office a number of changes have been evident. Several people have also appreciated those changes witnessed as the result of the reform while a few people say the reform is not producing any fruits. Which opinion do you support? Or how do you view the reform?
Taye: Actually the reform has exhibited a very profound change in the political scenario, in the economic arena, in the social facades as well as in the cultural fabric of the lives of the Ethiopian society and eastern part of Africa at large.
As you already know, in the past 27 years in the so-called Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) regime, Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) led period, there were different sources of exploitation, marginalization and domination of a certain group. It was really a sort of monocracy during the period of late Meles Zenawi.
Monocracy refers to the rule of one person against others. All the others were amenable, submissive, and adaptable. In terms of economy, it was a sort of oligarchy. That means rule by few, few individuals. Actually, I can explicitly say a few individuals from Adwa, a town in Tigray State dominate not only the Ethiopian people as a whole but also ultimately the Tigrians themselves.
Secondly, there was a divide and rule way of administration particularly focusing on the people of Amhara and Oromo on one hand and dividing the Oromos themselves on the other. To cite a classic example, I was born and grown up in Negelle Borena, in the Guji zone. I am well aware that they deliberately divided the Borena and Guji on one part and Guji and Borena on the other part. One part is known as Borena – Guji zone and the other part is Guji – Borena zone.
In terms of federal administration, the Borenas ought to come under the same umbrella; likewise, the Gujis had to have their own sort of administration because both people have their own democratic Gadaa system. But the rulers deliberately split the people into two and that led to a sort of not only discrimination but also bloodshed between the two brothers who speak the same language and who share the same identity over the years.
Similarly, they divided Amhara people among Shewa, Gojam, Gondar and the like. And ultimately TPLF system cultivated hostility and animosity among the Ethiopian people. But since Megabit 2010 E.C., after the inauguration of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as a prime minister, there were significant changes. The first one was, during the Weyane period, the Oromia, the Amhara and different regions were administered by TPLF clique. The leaders in different regions were only nominal and puppets. They were made and unmade on the interest of TPLF.
Currently, however, the legislative, executive and judiciary organs in all regions function by their own merits without interference from the TPLF thugs.
The Somali, Afar, and different pastoralist peoples were labeled as people who were unable to shoulder revolutionary democracy and they were totally segregated, marginalized as well as outcast in the last 27 years. But currently, they become part and parcel of the system and were integrated as an integral part of EPRDF. This is a very significant change.
In addition, different media outlets were mushroomed to unearth their opinion without any limit until the recent political upheaval and turmoil that created the spilling of blood of innocent civilians and destruction of different towns. So in terms of economy, in terms of politics, in terms of culture and in all aspects, there is a very significant change. That is why, in my opinion, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed had obtained a Nobel Peace Prize.
And there was mutual suspicion between Eritrea and Ethiopia. For 20 years, it was a total shutter no war and no peace situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea. This was totally alleviated by the active role of the prime minister in particular and prosperity party in general.
So, in short, in my opinion, there are changes but I have to underline that democracy is not a revolutionary process, it rather is evolution. So, it is very difficult and cumbersome to bring about democracy within a matter of two years because the Ethiopian politics for over a longer period of time was a subject of controversy among different politicians and scholars. Regardless of this, there is a very profound change since the introduction of the reform with all its limitations.