“Right person at the right position,” which Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed vowed to realize, as he delivered speech to residents of Addis in mid April, is the only way to create responsive public sector, as some experts argue. Yet, others say striking a balance between talents, skills, knowledge and individual’s readiness in protecting policy directions from deflection is equally important.
For President of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, Tigistu Awolu, the premier’s statement on the issue should not be taken for granted.
“The people are tired of incompetent officials and the subsequent poor services. Whether one likes it or not the to-dos of the past was surfaced as a result of less concern attached to merit based recruitment in the public sector.
But he is also unequivocal when it comes to the weak spot of career civil service. “It is conventional to use political criteria for selection and appointment.”
The crux of the matter here is to look for a conciliatory ground to merit and political criteria, he argued. “May be the latter has to be limited to top level only.”
Still the measure is a showcase in that change is sure to come shortly in the sector, as he meant it.
On the other hand, good Governance Expert, Million Fikiru, believes assigning wrong person to key public service areas is a perfect ingredient to the eruption of public outrage and more specifically corruption, street violence and losing hope on government are likely to take firm roots.
Needless to state, he says, these discourage the efforts the country has been engaged in building strong economy and economy.
Organizations in the third world are much more affected by individuals within the bureaucracy than other factors, he stress, and explaining incompetent personnel increases friction in the bureaucratic machinery and results in the wearing out of components or grievances grow, to say it in plain terms.
Therefore, the appointment of people particularly in middle and lower level structure has to find a compromise between merit and political selection, he adds.
For Tigistu the government’s periodic evaluations can be one mechanism to overcome the threat but the assignment from the outset should be base on merit and merit only and it has to be intolerant to incompetency.
International and Public Relation Officer at Civil Service University, Wondimu Moges, builds on the argument saying that having clear fathom of the problem, measures are being taken over the last two years.
For instance, university presidency and other academic posts have already been made on the basis of open competition, he cites.
Wondimu goes to say: “Even ministerial positions are taken with consideration to the assignees educational background and work experiences.”
He also enumerates other measures that would further be strengthened.
“Some positions are made utterly free for competition; merit-based political assignment has been put in place and the University is also determined more than ever before to offer capacity building trainings to employees.”
For Ethiopia, well poised to join lower level middle income economies by 2025, any barricade along the path has to be cleared sooner than later. The past to-dos had caused various unfortunate events to unfold—such as destruction to hard-won investment pillars, including foreign ones.
However, the Premier’s clear statements to further reform the public sector, ongoing reform actions, among many other measures, would put a barbed wire around the hard-working people’s premise to keep same events from jumping into.
BY MISEAL LEMMA
ADDIS ABABA - Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s visits to Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan have brought tangible results in further protecting the national interest by promoting joint development and good neighborly relations, says Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In his briefing yesterday, Ministry Spokesperson Meles Alem indicated that the premier's visit, shortly after assuming public office, has once again proved Ethiopians commitment for the socioeconomic and other aspects of development in the region.
Adding, he said: “The most important fruits of the visits are the signing of agreements toward joint ownership and development of ports as part and parcel of the country’s move to diversify its sea outlets aiming at enhancing the import-export business. The other breakthrough of the trip is an agreement reached to ensure the protection of citizens in the neighboring countries, including the release of prisoners.”
According to the Spokesperson, the state visits were also very important in strengthening the already started infrastructural linkages among the region to materialize deep-rooted economic interconnections. Ethiopia entered an agreement with Kenya to make, Moyale, border town of the two countries, an international trade center.
Also, Sudan has expressed solidarity toward the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and reaffirmed its involvement in the dialogue in the trio-talks which marks additional diplomatic success, Meles added.
The Spokesperson also mentioned that the leaders of the neighboring countries have expressed that they have learnt important lessons from Ethiopia's handling of internal affairs independently and from its rejection
of intervention from external entities. Meles also underlined that the premier's visit was made on the right time as the stability, development and democratization of the country cannot be secured only through internal accomplishments. “You can select friends but not neighbors as we are naturally bound by culture, geography and the like.
Therefore, domestic works and international relations are not something separable but are complementary,” Meles Concluded.
BY MISAEL LEMMA
• Domestic investors to get supports when Park’s 2nd phase takes shape
ADDIS ABABA-Foreign anchor investors from US, Italy, South Korea and China that joined Kombolcha Industrial Park (KIP) are on final preparations to enter production phase, said Industrial Parks Corporation.
Corporation Operations &Industrial Parks Management Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Shiferaw Solomon, indicated as the investors have injected a total of 78.5 million USD to make their factors operational with a high possibility for the figure to go up shortly.
Noting that most of the investors have already hired employees, Shiferaw furthered as the firms are offering employees with skills trainings.
Textile and apparel manufacturers have occupied six of the factory sheds out of the nine built inside the Park, he added.
Also, Italian investors take some 23.5 Ha land in the Park to engage in textile production, according to him.
Lying on a 75-hectare of land in a strategic town, equidistant to most Ethiopian cities with reasonable proximity to Port Djibouti, Kombolcha Industrial Park is expected to create 20, 000 jobs when goes fully operational in about three years.
Meanwhile, domestic investors would be encouraged to partake when the planned second phase of construction is realized.
Most local investors prefers service and export-export sectors to manufacturing for such areas demand little expertise while becoming source of reliable and lavish profits, he remarked.
To him, limitations such as financial and technological know-how are inhibiting domestic investors from engaging in industrial parks. “The government will step up efforts to embolden and help local investors to seize opportunities in the second phase.”
The supports may range from financial to creating exposures for potential investors to help them draw experiences from foreign manufactures, according to him.
BY MISGANAW ASNAKE
ADDIS ABABA- The government has procured 1, 350, 000 MT of fertilizer spending over 585. 677 million USD for upcoming farming season, said Ministry of Agriculture.
Ministry’s Public Relations Deputy Head Daniel Dentamo told The Ethiopian Herald 676,337 MT of which entered hinterland and the remaining amount would be transported soon.
The ministry has been distributing the stated amount to agricultural cooperatives, he added
“This is one of our efforts in supplying agricultural inputs crucial to increase product and productivity. The national plan is to harvest 370 million quintals of cereal crops next year.”
About 300 million quintals of cereal crops has been harvested as a result of the preceding farming season, according to him.
Fertilizer use trend of farmers is showing a marked increase year in and year out, he said, adding that the government has been working ardently to meet the demands.
The deputy director further said unlike previous times the distribution of fertilizer is being carried out as per the soil type of each locality, he added. “Nitrogen, zinc, sulfur and boron fertilizer types are purchased and the distribution is taking place accordingly.”
These fertilizers will be distributed to Amhara, Oromia, Tigrai, Benishangul Gumuz and SNNP States, it was learnt.
BY MISGANAW ASNAKE
ADDIS ABABA –Riverside development projects in Addis Ababa are nearing finalization while one of them will be open to public soon, The Ethiopian Herald learnt.
The projects that have been running at a cost of 63 million Birr would have facilities such as public library, children playground, café and public park, according to Addis Ababa Rivers, Riversides Development and Climate Change Adaptation Project Office.
To him, Gelagile riverside project to the north of the capital, that rests on 9,687 sq.m is 100 percent complete while Shekla Afer and Kebena riversides which lie on 2,300 and 16, 350 sq.m respectively are 95 percent complete.
Office Public Relations Expert, Weredekal G/kirstos, said the projects are part and parcel of the city administration’s program in making Addis safe and livable. “In addition, the projects are expected to create jobs to hundreds of citizens.”
The others, Maryam Wengelawit, Amanuel and Jemmo river development projects are also well in progress.
BY SEID MEHAMMED
Key among Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s speech addressed to residents of Addis Ababa, in mid April, has been his promise to better promote merit criteria a remedy to the ills of the public sector—a much-sought-after reform agenda.
At the heart of the past to-dos in some parts of Oromia and Amhara States was bad governance and misuse of public authority as the government itself has rightly admitted. The unrest had taken so many lives. Also, hard-won investment pillars cannot help but reduced to ashes.
For few, the line of argument that connects the scuffles with the public service is just a scant look to other deep-seated problems. But, for any rational individual, both the deep-seated problems and the immediate causes have causal relations with the public sector.
With all due considerations to the series of reform efforts of the public sector, which also meaningfully bring about improvements, but services rendered in most administrative units were far less enough in meeting growing and emerging demands of the public.
Inefficient officials also get busier in cooking reports at the backyard of public institutions than toiling to match services with expectations.
The premier’s promises are, therefore, to put the right person on the right position and eventually doing away with the problem.
The right person in this context could have sharpness on two sides. In one side, he/she has to fulfill the government’s huge demand for personnel that have a proper fathom of policies. Even that could not be enough. The government needs a workforce that is committed to the execution of the policies. In all areas and in every administrative unit, the government needs people equipped with pertinent knowledge, talent and the required professional ethos, on the other.
To be fair, so many activities were taken place to wed the two. Still, to the converse of the saying, the end is justifying the means—i.e., the to-dos of the past have sent clear messages in that few government appointees had not been trekking on the right path. Or, they had been pursuing their clandestine ambitions.
So, the question one must ask here should be: How would the government implement merit criteria to revert the situation, which entities should buttress the effort and how long will it take to materialize it?
The premier unequivocally put it that the trend must see the day’s light to sustainably fend off the menace. As Rome was not built over night, it would cost time and effort to utterly do away with the problem. Though, translating the statement into practice is surly in his and his cabinet’s tables, it should not be left only for the top decision making entity alone.
As it is usually termed as: ‘the forth chamber of government,’ the media has all the responsibilities to bring the backgrounds of appointees to light. In addition, it is the media that should probe into whether or not the right person is kept on the right position. It has to invest its resources to make sure that the components of the bureaucracy are functioning better.
Civic organizations, religious leaders and other concerned bodies have to contribute their shares in their advocacies for merit based appointment being exemplary in doing so.
But to sustainably counter the problem, universities have to keep on further producing competent personnel that prioritize common good than short-lived personal gains.
All Ethiopian universities including, the Ethiopian Civil Service University, have the lion’s share of the responsibility in producing all-round personnel. It should work more than ever before in building the capacity of the civil service by supplying the sector with the right personnel.
Water resources development is both political and economic in its nature. They are two sides of the same coin, in dealing with the point you will have no fineline among the two. You can see its value and importance within the same and parallel dimension.
One of the major things in human activities and life is water. It is a necessity to humankind at all levels and domains that no individual exists without the resource. Here, my focus is the importance of water resource development in nations’ who have plans and programs to develop it. Thus, I am trying to explore the major area of concerns of states in utilizing the resource.
In certain cases, water is political and has many features and characters in approach to surface water. It is ambient and exists everywhere but when we come to development scenario, it is disputing and contentious. This is so due to its very nature- scarcity of the resource and its the transboundaries flow of such resource can best explain the reason. Likewise, it has ramification in its use and application.
It is economical in that water has costs you can’t get it freely. Due to humans’ consciousness, it has got its own price to use and apportion. Thus, it assumes economic value. In both cases its significance is immense and valuable.
Similarly, we can consider how complex and tiresome development endeavors are to nations that strive to exploit it. Its utilization is one of the tough businesses that are engaged in it and requires meticulous plans and rigorous study to make feasible to their people and community alike.
I am pro Tony Allan, in that water system operates vertically, globally and regionally over both land and water. Water vapor condenses in the atmosphere until gravity can get its ever-greedy paws on it then it falls but gravity doesn’t stop there. And on land, it pulls the water through the soil and-it pulls the water –down into the subsoil, adding to the reserves of fresh groundwater deep underground.
The case of water is a little mysterious and its value is also great. In actual cases, it is the most precious asset of this world. In the pre-historic period civilization was centered on this resource. In those days, this stuff, next to fire had a great place but due to its abundance people didn’t recognize the role of the matter.
“Mother Nature is-like all good mothers - a bit extravagant and overindulgent to us children. When it comes to water, we have superabundance. 70 percent of the world’s surface is covered with the stuff. But 97.5 percent is salty, very limited use to us. Of the remaining 2.5 percent, only a small fraction is actually of sufficient quality to be used the world plants and animals. So much for mother’s love, you might think.” as used in Tony Allan.
The early negligence and ignorance brought colossal and disastrous outcome. This is also clearly seen and exhibited that needs to be remembered in sorrow in supporting Tony Allan. This is not only the crisis of early times but we are experiencing the same failure as humans ridicule the modern world.
Similarly, I share the view of Tony Allan in that water resource is a common property of the nations’ sharing the resource and they have to work together for their common benefit. As well, its development is has two faces- political and economic dimensions. It requires huge investment and trans-boundary tact to utilize it in harmony and sustainable way.
And the point lies on how to tap the Nile River in a sustainable way. In these states agriculture plays a predominant role. Huge investment in one place doesn’t alleviate the poverty in the other Nile River sharing state. Consequently, it still waits solution to eradicate these states’ underdevelopment and impoverishment.
The choice is in their hand either to continue the unbalanced water resource apportionment system or to undergo change in the management of the water resources that prevail in the basin states.
Currently, the river states exhibited divergent views in utilizing the shared water resource that they possesses. Unless harmony is reached, there will be no more development and poverty will reign in the time to come. The issue is very serious and needs special treatment. Particularly, Egypt should examine its policy and stand with the Nile basin states in the current realities and make adjustment in its monopolistic water share to entertain whatit is actually exhibiting on the ground.
Furthermore, water resource development is little bit complex and disputing due to the absence of one and unified universal rules to adjudicate the upper and downstream states’ shared resource in utilizing in co-ordinated and sustainable manner ensuring parity and detent. The Blue Nile River is an important shared resource of Ethiopia and Sudan, and also because it is the major contributor of water to the main Nile River – Egypt, however, tensions over the basin’s water resources remain unresolved as Cascão and Sileshi used.
I further support them that although the riparian countries have agreed to collaborate in principle, formal mechanisms to cooperatively develop the basin’s water resources are limited. Currently, a Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) is being negotiated, but this process has been under way for more than a decade and no final agreement has yet been achieved. Five of the riparian countries, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ugand, Brundi and South Sudan signed the agreement, but both Egypt and Sudan remain opposed to the version.
The discontent is Egypt old obsession to use the Nile water in monopoly, and unwillingness to agree for co-operation which the water Nile entails in harmony to use it for mutual benefit in an equal and reasonable way. It has been long time in hampering and undermining the states’ benefits instigating sabotage and enmity that condemn the people of the states.
Egypt’s strategy and incorrect water policy does not yield the expected results and outcome to cherish prosperity to its people because the huge investment besides other political and economic endeavors are not sustainably designed.
Both Ethiopia and Sudan have plans to unilaterally develop the water resources of the Blue Nile for hydropower and irrigation this implies that Ethiopia and Sudan are doing good to upgrade the Nile water resources in taping for common benefit and maximize the value that the river generate by adopting sustainable development and mutual trust.
The Egyptian obduracy and rigid policy regarding the Nile river water brings strong challenges to the water development of other Nile riparian states to tap the water resource of the region in sustainable way which common and shared resource of 11 sovereign states. The reason is something groundless and greediness in the side of one upstream state age long and unfounded reality thus, which is cruel and defiant behavior worth blame by the world community for the stringent and harsh political and economic policy that the government of Egypt advance in the region.
BY ESKINDER YESHEWALUL
Over 30 percent of Ethiopia’s land had dense forest cover back in late 19th C which slowly shrunken to as little as four percent by end of the subsequent centuries.
The massive national reforestation program of the late 80’s and the successive activities since the turn of the new Ethiopian millennium has pushed the coverage to a little higher than 13 percent, as documents prove.
For a country whose population heavily depends on forest to both cooking and construction, the increment of forest coverage would have layers of socio-economic advantage besides the resources contribution to the environment.
Yet, comprehensive study that show the real demand for woods, be it for fuel, construction or furniture or what have you, are far from being adequate, Ethiopian Forestry Society President, Dr. Alemu Gezahegn says.
About 24 million cubic meters of wood is produced annually, of which 10 percent is used for industrial and building purposes and the rest for fuel wood and charcoal. However, considerable quantities of wood are also used for construction purposes (poles and posts, as well as lumber). Plywood, fiberboard, particleboard, sliced veneer, pulp and paper manufacturing units also consume industrial round wood, says Environment and Forest Minister Dr. Gemedo Dalle.
The low level of production and consumption reflects the fact that the country has limited forest resource base. The current demand for industrial wood is estimated at about 200,000 cubic meters per year.
To meet the demand for industrial purposes, the country suffers from the outflow of hard currency to import wood and wood products annually, according to Dr. Alemu.
“An estimated that 200,000 USD worth wood and wood product gets hinterland on a yearly basis,” he adds.
To reverse this reality, the country has been implementing a ten-year strategy to substitute the imports with local wood products, according to him.
And one of the ways and means is modifying the awareness of farmers, he said, adding that most farmers have now understood that they can harvest more produce by intercropping trees as it increases soil fertility.
Dr. Mulugeta Limenh, forest expert, builds on this saying that farmers are so close both to utilize and conserve forest.
And the strategy have put much emphasis on participatory forest development plan which has been in effect over the past years, he stressed.
Farmers can also earn additional income when the forest cover increases, he said, citing the possibility of producing forest products like incense and spices.
The country is known for its natural resource endowment and diversity. Until recently the various natural resource base potentials of the country had not been identified and inventoried, and the inter-dependence and inter-relationships of the resources have not been studied nor their characteristic defined, Forest Expert Dr. Mulugeta Limeneh.
For a country like Ethiopia where sustainable forest management is a priority for the overall development, availability of relevant forest information at all levels is very crucial. Access to information is also a prerequisite for formulating effective policies and strategies at both the federal and regional levels. It promotes the efforts towards sustainable forest management, he notes.
At present, organized forest product data is not available or the available data is not properly managed and not easily accessible to users. Several forest product data are confined in certain institutions and not properly shared. The collection of reliable, comprehensive and timely statistical information on forest products is very essential for planning purposes and formulation of policy.
In view of this, quite a lot of works are ahead of every stakeholder in availing information, collaborating in reforestation activities as well as luring private investors to engage in forestry sector.
BY MISGANAW ASNAKE
Many people look for a place where they can peacefully and thoughtlessly observe animals living in their natural habitat. They need to refresh and imagine worriless life wishing they had been a wild animal.
Watching animals of different kinds in a field without boundaries entertains a lot. They move in flocks. Fight with each other to check their strengths. Mammals make different sounds in praise of their creator for letting them to live mindlessly just to breed and eat their determined daily diets. Or, they scream uniquely to inform one another that something strange or an enemy has approached.
In the same way, birds croon in praise of their creator or shriek to indicate that something like a killer has approached.
Therefore, if you are searching for such a place, the Land of Origin, Ethiopia is one of the best and safest countries in the world. The nation has got many spectacular wildlife reservations.
Among these, Awash National Park, Sanqalle Wildlife Reserve and Borana National Park are some of the natural reservations in the country that are found in Oromiya State, the most gifted land of nature. And, this article shows their location and constituents as an alternative to a visiting reader.
Awash National Park (ANP) is believed to be the first officially reserved wildlife reserve in the country in 1966. It is situated at a distance of 225 kilometers on the south-east of the capital Addis Ababa on about 756 kilometers.
ANP is entirely established on the plain of the Eastern Rift Valley. With the exception of the 2600 meters high Fantalle Mountain, its area is predominantly covered with shrubs, bushes, acacia and open grasslands.
It includes a variety of tourist attracting mammals and bird species. There are 46 major mammals and 456 bird species. From these birds six are endemic to the nation.
All the mammals are east African plain animals in origin. Some of these are greater and lesser kudus, Oryx, bush buck, dik-dik, gazelle, fox, klipspringer, cheetah and lions.
The bird species includesecretary birds, Abyssinian ground hornbill, carmine beater, Abyssinian roller and birds of riverine forest such as coucal, turaco and go away birds.
The Awash River also adds a marvelous attraction to the ANP. Its gentle flowing course on the relatively plain surface attracts mind. After a little, it drops into a gorge where the water hits the bottom basaltic rocks that form smoky waterfalls which offer delightful sensation.
The Fantalle Mountain’s view is the other entertaining observable constituent of the ANP. It rises majestically over the surrounding lowland. It has a fascinating feature of volcanic depression origin on its top. This forms a rugged surface with clouds of volcanic stream which rise from every direction.
ANP also has Palm Springs on the northern part under the many palm trees. Hot water springs from the wall of the hills flow down making a stream and a natural swimming pool amidst the palm trees.
Furthermore, the museum in the ANP headquarter also entertains in that it displays trophies of animals living in the park and other areas to be visited. Its bar in the open air also assists one to forget the exhaustive life in the cities.
Sanqalle Wildlife Sanctuaryis the other unique wildlife reserve center in the country. It is found along the main asphalt road from Shashamanne to Arba Minch town of the GamoGofa Zone in South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State.
The reservation is found on 304 kilometers on the south of the capital Addis Ababa. It hosts around 20 mammals with 110 bird species.
From these, Swayne’s Hartebeest is one of the Ethiopia’s endemic mammals. It is the main inhabiting mammal species in the sanctuary. Oribi, Warthog, bohor reed buck, cheetah, civet cat spotted hyena and golden jackal can be observed in abundance in the reserve center. And the area is covered by sparse acacia trees, bushes and grasses.
There is also a good infrastructure in the sanctuary. As well, the way to the center of the reservation is only 9 kilometers to the south-east from the high way.
Besides its wildlife resources, the reserve has the majestic scenic beauty of the mountains and hills around it providing the best view of Lake Hawasa.
Borana National Park is the other best natural sanctuary to be visited. It is located in Borana Zone which is the most southern part of Oromia State. It is 17 kilometers far on the east from the nearby town, Yabelo, the Borana Zone’s commercial center and government center. As well, it is 205 kilometers from the Ethio-Kenyan boarder town Moyale to Addis Ababa.
Though it was originally established as a sanctuary for the protection of the Swayne’s hartebeest, currently it has become the habitat of burchell’s zebra. In addition to this, the park is the home of the endemic bird Prince Ruspoli’sTuracoof the Arero Forest, Abyssinian Bushcrow and the Liben Lark among others.
This savannah or acacia habitat is also the home of greater and lesser kudu, gerenuk and other mammals. Above and beyond this, the reserve harbors more than 194 species of birds. And most of the mammals can be seen most frequently on the acacia bush lands and savannah grasslands.
The other sections of the park those are concentrated with wildlife are the Sarite Plain and Forole Depression. These parts also offer visitors incredible spectacles of Oryx, zebra, hartebeest, ostrich, gerenuk, gazelle, lion and other mammals. In the same way, the lowlands of Borana and the thick natural forests of the Guji Zone of the state are also wonderful places to wonder the different birds the nature gave the land of the Origin.
In summing up, to refresh oneself by observing various endemic mammals and birds, Awash National Park, Sanqalle Wildlife Reserve and Borana National Park are several of the best places to visit in Ethiopia. The story was adapted creatively from different documents of Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau.
BY DIRRIBA TESHOME
Disability friendly infrastructure, services in the making
Over the last decade, various measures have been taken to improve the lives of People with Disabilities (PWDs), particularly in promoting accessibility that eventually ensure their socio-economic benefits.
Previously, pedestrians had been so unfriendly to this segment of the society and thus it was so tough for them to work and prosper. In addition, the transportation system gave far less attention to this segment of the society.
Nowadays, infrastructural designs are made more inclusive to help PWDs live independently and participate equally in all spheres of life.
Tessema Sebsebe [he uses crutches], Executive Board Chairperson of Ethiopian National Association of the Physically Handicapped (ENAPH), agreed with the claim above.
He said: “As most newly constructed roads have wider walkways with integrated pathway in the middle to make walking easier for people with visual impairment (PVI). To him, the pedestrians are also convenient for wheelchair users, for people who use crutches and the likes.”
As anyone could prove it most walkways in the downtown of the city are paved with standard tiles or are being paved with tiles. This makes the city safer to all people who use the sidewalks with more benefits to PWDs, older people and the like.
Tesfaye Tekle was working as a foreman in a road construction project underway around Lion’s Zoo in Addis Ababa. To him, road constructions in most places are up to standards. “The sidewalk we’re building now is nine meters wide, and integrated a 90-cm pathway for PVIs and many standard ramps for wheelchair users.”
The government’s commitment to an inclusive development is appreciable, he said, noting that concerned bodies have to make sure that the infrastructure serves the intended purposes only.
The other important improvement is in the transportation sector. “Modern city buses, both public and private ones, have taken PWDs into consideration. The buses are accessible and have spaces for wheelchairs,” as Tessema said.
The installation of audible traffic signals in major streets of Addis Ababa and other cities of the country are also worth mentioning. Due to this, PVI pedestrians can safely cross roads and make their day to day activities on their own.
Such improvements, particularly in Addis Ababa and other major cities, show the government’s commitment for rights of people with disabilities. Still, more measures are expected from municipal bodies and every resident in ensuring the durability of the facilities.
To Tessema, among the measures that need a quick fix is the issue of transportation.
For instance, the PWD friendly transportation service discussed here is the initiative of the mass transport companies. “There is no regulation, standard or code of practice enforceable to benefit PWD from the country’s [road] transportation service.”
Federal Transport Authority (FTA) Communication Director Yigzaw Dagnew admitted the absence of both laws and standards pertaining to PWD friendly service. “We will look into the matter in-depth and set guidelines and standards,” he vowed.
Also, Addis Ababa City Administration Drivers and Vehicles License and Control Authority Director, Admasu Assefa, reaffirmed that guidelines and standards would be drawn soon and become operational not later than next year.
Still the walkways built with huge public expenditure are seen misused by various bodies. “PVI who may use the pathways are not immune from accidents. You find utility poles, dust-bins, construction materials, bus stations or other infrastructure cramming the pathways. And this would lead PVIs to face multiple disabilities,” Tesemma underlined.
Hailu Tilahun is member of ENAPH executive board. He walks with a support of crutches. Public and private buildings as well as the transportation facilities keep PWD issues at bay, he indicated. “Once, my friends and I went to a nearby bank to submit sample signature and run the Association’s transaction. To the surprise of all, one of my friends was not able to get into the bank using his wheelchair. It was due to the absence of standard ramp. Thus, he entered the bank with the help of people.”
Inadequate coordination among utility service providers also makes mobility more complex, he added. Unfriendly roads and walkways with full of potholes, manholes left uncovered and the like will not only put mobility barricade to the community under discussion, such poor infrastructure also exposes most to multiple disabilities, he noted.
The country has attractive laws, and guidelines that ensure PWD to live independently and participate in all aspects of life. However, government and private bodies that carry out the designing and construction buildings seem to lack awareness on the issue, he argued.
Pertinent government bodies as well have a lot of tasks ahead of them in leveling the playfield so that more PWD can come to the decision making table, Hailu added.
Destruction on the pathways, audio traffic lights, ramps…becomes source of other string of problems such as multiple disability and additional cost to fix or reinstall the facilities, among others.
Thus, concerned municipal bodies like road construction, road transport and road traffic bureaus should aware the public as well as other service providers on the proper care that should be given to PWD friendly infrastructural facilities. In addition, media people have to attach greater attention to the case at hand.
BY WORKU BELACHEW