Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ethiopia - Alternate View of Governance and public engagement!

The one thing a visitor observes when visiting the US house of representative and the Independence Hall (where the fore-fathers signed the declaration of independence) is a phrase “...we the people...” It is reminder of a couple of essential facts; first the real leader of the nation is the citizens of the country and second the leaders are elected to serve the people. These two facts are the very core foundations to a real democracy.

Our nation Ethiopia has its fair share of political upheaval that has left us a sour taste in the mouth at the mention politics. It is understandable why our society has a confused perception of politics. Our political exposure is either biased or at best delusional. Some are scared of politics recall a saying with sarcasm, “... politics and electric is from distance...” Others think it has to be “...their way or the highway...” and they randomly paint any individual with different view than theirs with the paint of animosity.

The significant numbers of our citizen are political nomads and passive participants. Their concern doesn’t surpass from a simple and idle chatter over coffee. And the depth of the conversation is as deep as he say, she say current affair. It is equally pertinent that the government needs to create conducive environment that the majority of the people it claims to serve. All inclusive governance has transparency and accountability written all over its front page. Hence, the government’s primary responsibility should include educating and explaining what it is doing to benefit, protect, and empower the public. In return the public have a responsibility to work with the government for the betterment of the country’s overall health.

Accountability and responsibility is a two way transaction. We Ethiopians should abandon our passive observant political position and work towards building the confidence of the statement “we the people”. Yes, many have given up hope and some even contemplated if it is ever possible to have a governance that closely emulates the western political reality. Call me naïve, but I strongly believe it is quite possible.

To be continued...!