Items filtered by date: Sunday, 01 July 2018
Sunday, 01 July 2018 17:40

Music for educational development

The writer of this piece still remembers the music class that he had attended in his junior classes. Music and “painting” classes were subjects that used to attract the attention of most students in primary school. Whenever there was music or art class almost all students would be energized. The mood in that particular class will totally be shifted.
Unlike mathematics which was considered as the most complex and boring subject at the time by most students of the classmates, paining and music class had a power to inspire almost all students. That is why the next classes would be full of energy and active participation is common.
Scholars agree that music has a key role for educational development. However, due to the little attention given to it, the schools did not properly tap its potential.
Due to several reasons, music was considered as something insignificant. It was considered as an unprofessional. This is especially true in the past where social stratum was vast and where majority were conservatives. There was even a time where a person who engaged on music was considered as a loser.
However, the truth is different. Only those talented and gifted individuals are legible to be musician. Musicians are the spice of life. They add value to the daily activities of human being. Be it in the form of secular or spiritual, musicians have the power to uplift the mood of music lovers. No matter where they live or who they are, musicians have the power to add value in life. What on earth the type of language they use music and musicians have power to bring people with different background into one ground.
Lately, a half day discussion was held here in Addis Ababa. The workshop was held with the objective of discussing the role of music education for change. In which scholars and participants have stressed the need of music for educational development not as a supplement but as a compliment.
On the event presenters and participants have stressed the need for music education at early age and junior classes.
Music and Talent are much related. They are two sides of a single coin. No one can be a musician without having interest to it. In the same way, no one can be musician if there is no commitment and passion towards the profession.
It is not always possible to train students who do not have interest for it. There might be graduate students from Music College but if those students pursue that particular field of study for the sake of better job or income art and creativity will be in trouble.
Without having passion to music they will not only damaging the profession, but they are also wasting their time. Having the theoretical knowledge about music can't make a person a good musician. There should be a deep rooted interest and commitment.
This commitment and passion will come if there is a chance to attend music classes at the early period. If children are given a chance to enjoy with music at early age they will not be strangers in the latter age when they attend music class in colleges. If not the reverse is true. When students are able to get music education at the early age their creativity will also increase.
Tebebu Woldeyohannes is a music teacher. He believes that all human beings are musicians. “There is no place where there is no musician we give our attention to it. We could hear music almost everywhere. We may not realize it but we all are also musicians. Music is our daily activity. Music is almost everywhere. I think that is why music is called a language.”
Music is beyond entertainment. Music has a great potential to transfer our soul into other dimensions that cannot be touched or seen. The role of music to shift our mood from negative into positive one is tasted and witnessed by technologically advanced nations. This is not only to human kind but also animals as well.
As it was presented by different scholars on the event, music education for children at their early age has several advantages. According to them music has a key role on students to love other subjects which are difficult to understand. For instance students who have a negative perception to mathematics have showed a good feeling towards it when they listen music.
Scholars have also indicated that students who have early musical training will develop a good reasoning skill. Sources indicated that the left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.
What is more is that music has also a strong attachment with good memorization skill, develop coordination and industriousness.
When education is supported by melodies children tend to memorize things easily. For instance, most of us still remember the melodies we used to memorize English alphabet which still has a lasting effect on us.
Therefore, it is not exaggerating if it is said that music is very crucial in the development of all the three domains of knowledge. It assists students’ psychomotor development and enables them to enhance the ability of copying up with various skills. It also empowers them to have cognitive ability to that is required to recall and utilize knowledge. As well, it capacitates them with comprehending ability in that it enhances the development of affective domain.

BY LEULSEGED WORKU

Published in Society
Sunday, 01 July 2018 17:37

A tragedy turned to synergy

Some months back, Ethiopia was not feeling itself as unrest was surfacing in the left, right and center of the country. It was not feeling up to the mark. The situation of the country was simply falling from the bad to the worse over and over again. It was the talk of the country. It was arguably in the brink of civil war. The situation was getting spiral out of control requiring swift action. Hence, the general public was busy praying to God considering the fate of the future Ethiopia. Most people were pessimistic and frustrated towards their country’s fate at that point in time.
Subsequently, the resignation of the late Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn made public. It was a bombshell. Nobody had expected the Premier would resign almost immediately or would reach into this conclusion. Following the premier’s resignation, people from all walks of life set in motion coming up with different speculations reaching fever pitch. The moment was accompanied with fear of the unknown as the country had faced terrible situations due to same scenarios in the past. The general public had mixed feelings in this regard.
After sometime, Dr. Abiy Ahmed elected as Ethiopian Prime Minster in what could be the most peaceful power transfer in the history of the country. When he made the inaugural address at the very first day before the Ethiopian parliament, he won the hearts and minds of the general public with no trouble. His speech turned out to be the talk of the country. All print and electronic media journalists embarked on praising Dr. Abiy again and again. Wherever he goes he talks untiringly about the greatness of Ethiopia again and again. That was all the Ethiopian people needed most. Everyone seems satisfied with the meesage of synergy, a popular phrase of the prime minister.
The Premier successfully embarked on getting himself involved in a range of diplomatic missions. He left for different countries such as Uganda, Egypt, Kenya, Djibouti, and other countries placing much emphasis on bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern. Following his success stories, people across the length and breadth of the country set in motion expressing their feelings, ideas, and thoughts time and again. But they could not find the right place where they could express their satisfaction following the success stories of the Premier.
As chance would have it, when the general public learnt about a volunteers have formed a committee in charge of organizing mass rally in recognition of the three –month achievements by the prime minister. They did not know how to give color for the ceremony.
When the residents of Addis learnt the news, they set in motion buying t-shirts depicting the pictures of the prime Minster, Dr. Abiy Ahmed. They were buying banners carrying a number of slogans revolving around the Premier. They were getting themselves ready in various ways with the aim of celebrating the day colorfully. Parents were buying the same tee-shirts for their children irrespective of age and sex. People were looking for the day to come time and again.
On the day of expressing support to Prime Minister’s success story registered in less than three months time, everybody got up early in the morning and started flowing to the Meskel Square. All roads were to the Meskel Square.
That day, this writer got up early in the morning for the same purpose. But he could not believe his eyes when encountered people irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, religious affiliation and the rest inundating from every corner of the capital and its environs. In fact, there were people who came from different parts of the country for the same purpose.
At Meskel Square, several people were decorating themselves head to foot with the Ethiopian tri colors flag. Some of them were carrying posters conveying messages of harmony, love, reconciliation, and other related aspects. They were expressing their joy in a range of attention-grabbing ways.
The writer on his way to the Meskel Square came across an old man ululating happily. He asked him why he was acting that ways.
He said, “Words fail me to express my happiness. The premier is lifting up Ethiopia again and again. Since the premier took office, he has been doing quite a lot of praiseworthy jobs. He is making the whole lot in my mind a reality. If things keep going in this way, we can make Ethiopia great again. I am speechless. He has rescued Ethiopia from civil war and distengration. I am now heading to the Meskel Square for the love of forwarding my deep respect and appreciation particularly for everything the premier has done to this point.
Similarly, every nook and cranny of the Meseqel Square were bedecked with the tri colored Ethiopian flag. Everybody is emotional. The moment was tear-jerking and heart-rending. Anybody could easily read the infinite happiness of the crowds.
When the premier embarked on addressing the crowd, people failed to control their feelings. His speech was an amazing one. Some of them were crying their eyes out as a consequence of happiness.

BY ADDISALEM MUALT 

Published in Society

Ethiopia has been marching in a rapid economic growth before the political unrest which was broken out three years ago. Incredible change has been witnessed in agriculture, health, education, service, industry, trade and investment sectors. As a result millions of Ethiopians have been lifted out of abject poverty. However, the remarkable economic growth was hampered by sever foreign currency earnings. Consequently, the fastest economy is facing challenges related with lack of hard currency. In this case, construction projects have been halted; the price of imported goods increased and negatively impacted the economy.
Dawit Asres is an importer of spare parts of motor vehicles. He admitted that hard currency constraint has affected the economy.
‘‘My business was going smoothly one year ago. But after the political unrest which was broke out in different parts of the country, the economy severely affected and my business was among the victims. The National Bank of Ethiopia is not providing us sufficient forex which help us to do our business properly.’’
Now, there are optimistic incidents and I am hopeful that the shortage of hard currency will be solved soon, he said.
After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power replacing Hailemariam Desalegn, huge reforms have been witnessed. But the economic reform is yet to be undertaken. Experts are optimistic that the new administration would find solutions for the chronic forex shorted that have slowed the economy. The nation’s currency, the Birr has been weakened following devaluation. But how this problem could be addressed? What measures should be taken?
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicated that Ethiopia’s foreign currency reserve was 3.2 billion USD at the end of the 2016/17 fiscal year. The insufficient forex would have negative impact in the economic growth for 2017/10 that the growth is forecasted at 8.5 percent. That means the double digit economic growth which has been registering over the last two decades will be slowed to one digit.
Addis Ababa University, Economics Lecturer, Samuel Tefera told The Ethiopian Herald that the government should strive to alleviate its hard currency shortage using various mechanisms. He believes that the partial privatization would have vital contribution in luring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that would pave way for collecting forex.
‘‘It is becoming apparent that hard currency constraint has created economic slowdown. It has have been affecting the economy severely. To solve this problem, the government is allowing selling some stakes of profitable companies to private investors. This would stabilize the economy for the long as foreign investors would be expected to come with their hard currency reserves,’’ he states.
Ethiopia has been endeavoring in developing the manufacturing industry. Industrial parks were constructed in various parts of the country. Hawassa, Kombolcha, Bole Lemi, Mekelle and Eastern Industry zone are among the major industrial parks which were built in the country. Samuel insists that Ethiopia could solve its forex shortage through enhancing industrialization.
‘‘Ethiopia is diverting its agrarian economy into industrializ ation. It has the aim of becoming middle income nation by 2025. By then the export items will be value added industrial products. This would resolve the shortage of foreign currency in a sustainable manner,’’ he notes. Regarding this, the partial privatization would have huge contribution in enhancing industrializ ation. World companies with massive capital would involve in the privatization process.
According to Global Finance 2011 report, China and Japan stood first and second in their foreign exchange reserve holdings which accounts to 3,236,000,000,000 and 1,259,000,000,000 USD respectively. Ethiopia stood in 109 holding 2,665,000,000 USD. This figure shows us that Ethiopia needs to improve its foreign currency earnings. Thus, to sustain its rapid economic growth which was witnessed over the last two decades, the nation should implement feasible financial policies and strategies.
‘‘With regard to monetary policy, Ethiopia should be flexible on amending policies. The market should liberalize so as to attract foreign investors. Private actors could mange and run the business activities efficiently and success fully,’’ the lecturer underscores.
It has become clear that the devaluation of Birr (Ethiopian currency) has encouraged foreign trade and it would have significant contribution in generating hard currency earnings. But also it caused inflation in some consumer goods. The government is tirelessly working to address the issue once and for all. The economic reforms which are expected to be applied will alleviate it.

BY TSEGAY HAGOS 

Published in Development

 

Ethiopia is highly integrating to be one of the middle income countries. There are a lot of plans the country has been set to achieve this goal.
Agriculture is the back bone of the nation’s economy. More than 80 percent of the population lead their lives depending on agriculture. Enhancing and modernizing the agricultural sector is no different from developing the country’s economy. As a result, adopting better seeds through research has become one of the nation’s plans to obtain the set goal.
In order to acquire the achievements, the nation is facing and will also be faced with different positive and negative opportunities in the future.
According to the report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, addressing the agricultural research efforts for the beneficiaries is needed. Inadequate accessing of these efforts in time and low coverage is among the major challenges of the sector.
Reviewing the change gained from the research and assessment, considering the past experiences and forecasting for the future is a better way to development.
State Minister of Livestock and Fishery Dr. Eyasu Abrha noted that there are researches and efforts but it is not addressing enough. Agricultural research will take a big part to attain the country’s goal.
To get the plan accomplished, changing the angle of working system and readiness is needed. The ministry has done its best in the past years and should strengthen the effort for the future, he stressed.
But as the Deputy Director of Oromia Agricultural Institute Dr. Assefa Ta’a told in interview with Addis Zemen Amharic Daily, there are gaps in the sector.
It is only focusing on addressing technology for the farmers but not conducted analyses of the changes which come on fertility. The farmers’ awareness will increase every day when they have active relationship with extension workers.
As to Dr. Assefa, there is no much knowledge deference between the extension experts and the beneficiaries. He also noted that the work integrated between research and extension experts is also weak.
Implementing new technology is a big challenge to communities. And peoples want to stay on what they practice every day. As a matter of fact, they always act using the available products which got through research and there will be not a better try to have new researched products.
The country needs to focus on multi directional angles to get in the middle economic countries.
In the same way, Economics Lecturer at Jigjiga University Habitamu Girima on an interview with the same news letter told that it is not a recommendable way to develop from exporting and importing agricultural products. But, it is better to produce products which are supportive for the agriculture sector.
Supportive products which will make the agricultural sector modern should be produced in quality and should be addressed for the beneficiary, as to him. Export products also need to be cost minimizing by using small lands and more effective in their earnings.
For country's economic growth and failure, the management system also matters, as to the lecturer. Managers’ skills and role has high impact on the sector's development. In the nation, it is difficult to get enough skilled human power on the agriculture research centers, as to Habtamu.
To timely address the new effects for the beneficiary, it should be supported by technological system.
According to Executive Director of the Federal Institute of Agricultural Research, Mandefiro Nigusse, to become one of the middle economic countries, it is facing a lot of challenges. And there is a gap of using technology and cooperative works as well as in implementing research efforts.
According to the Central Statics Agency, the annual product rate of Ethiopia before 20 years was 80 million quintals but now the average annual agricultural products have reached about 305 million quintals, Mandefro elaborates.
Before years, citizen’s agricultural outcome had been very low, however, the current gross annual income of each person is more than 800 dollar. But still, about 22 million of the public are under poverty level. Therefore, he says, it requests the nation to focus on researches.
The country will achieve the goal if researches are conducted which can solve the problem. Moreover, if every concerned organization plays its roles, it will as well help the nation obtain its goal as the experts said.


BY GENET FEKADE

Published in Development

 

Ethiopia is highly integrating to be one of the middle income countries. There are a lot of plans the country has been set to achieve this goal.
Agriculture is the back bone of the nation’s economy. More than 80 percent of the population lead their lives depending on agriculture. Enhancing and modernizing the agricultural sector is no different from developing the country’s economy. As a result, adopting better seeds through research has become one of the nation’s plans to obtain the set goal.
In order to acquire the achievements, the nation is facing and will also be faced with different positive and negative opportunities in the future.
According to the report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, addressing the agricultural research efforts for the beneficiaries is needed. Inadequate accessing of these efforts in time and low coverage is among the major challenges of the sector.
Reviewing the change gained from the research and assessment, considering the past experiences and forecasting for the future is a better way to development.
State Minister of Livestock and Fishery Dr. Eyasu Abrha noted that there are researches and efforts but it is not addressing enough. Agricultural research will take a big part to attain the country’s goal.
To get the plan accomplished, changing the angle of working system and readiness is needed. The ministry has done its best in the past years and should strengthen the effort for the future, he stressed.
But as the Deputy Director of Oromia Agricultural Institute Dr. Assefa Ta’a told in interview with Addis Zemen Amharic Daily, there are gaps in the sector.
It is only focusing on addressing technology for the farmers but not conducted analyses of the changes which come on fertility. The farmers’ awareness will increase every day when they have active relationship with extension workers.
As to Dr. Assefa, there is no much knowledge deference between the extension experts and the beneficiaries. He also noted that the work integrated between research and extension experts is also weak.
Implementing new technology is a big challenge to communities. And peoples want to stay on what they practice every day. As a matter of fact, they always act using the available products which got through research and there will be not a better try to have new researched products.
The country needs to focus on multi directional angles to get in the middle economic countries.
In the same way, Economics Lecturer at Jigjiga University Habitamu Girima on an interview with the same news letter told that it is not a recommendable way to develop from exporting and importing agricultural products. But, it is better to produce products which are supportive for the agriculture sector.
Supportive products which will make the agricultural sector modern should be produced in quality and should be addressed for the beneficiary, as to him. Export products also need to be cost minimizing by using small lands and more effective in their earnings.
For country's economic growth and failure, the management system also matters, as to the lecturer. Managers’ skills and role has high impact on the sector's development. In the nation, it is difficult to get enough skilled human power on the agriculture research centers, as to Habtamu.
To timely address the new effects for the beneficiary, it should be supported by technological system.
According to Executive Director of the Federal Institute of Agricultural Research, Mandefiro Nigusse, to become one of the middle economic countries, it is facing a lot of challenges. And there is a gap of using technology and cooperative works as well as in implementing research efforts.
According to the Central Statics Agency, the annual product rate of Ethiopia before 20 years was 80 million quintals but now the average annual agricultural products have reached about 305 million quintals, Mandefro elaborates.
Before years, citizen’s agricultural outcome had been very low, however, the current gross annual income of each person is more than 800 dollar. But still, about 22 million of the public are under poverty level. Therefore, he says, it requests the nation to focus on researches.
The country will achieve the goal if researches are conducted which can solve the problem. Moreover, if every concerned organization plays its roles, it will as well help the nation obtain its goal as the experts said.


BY GENET FEKADE

Published in Development

Until the 17th century, a range of conflict management systems had been brought into play across the length and breadth of the country. They were in the habit of making use of various effective techniques with the purpose of burying the hatchet. Among the traditional conflict management systems in ancient Wolaita, the customary conflict management systems take the lion’s share. At that specific point, there were wide arrays of successful predicament solving techniques with no trouble.
To be quite honest, nobody knows when and how the customary conflict management systems embarked on Ethiopia yet. But according to different sources, the traditional conflict management systems in ancient Wolaita put into effect in various regimes. More often than not, whenever conflict in any issue arises between different parties elderly people get to the bottom of the problem in next to no time.
In the 12th century, the dominant conflict management system was customary one. A range of cases were entertained making use of customary laws as well as traditional administration in Ethiopia.
The people of Wolaita occupy part of southern regional state which is divided into different administrative districts. It is bordered in the South by Gamo Gofa, in the East by Sidama, in the Southwest by Dawuro and in the North by Hadiya, Kembatta and Tambaro.
The people of Wolaita resolve conflict through elderly people and structural conflict managing systems. In the past, a range of conflict management systems had been brought into play. However, most of the systems are not used to resolve conflicts at this point in time. In actual fact, the people of Wolaita avail themselves of the resolution of conflict involving the elderly.
The resolution of conflict involving the elderly
To this point, the people of Wolaita have been using the resolution of conflict involving the elderly over and over again. Whenever conflict arises, quite a lot of elderly people living in the area solve the problem without problems. In this fashion, the elderly people of the area fully get themselves engaged in solving conflicts time and again. Cases which are handled through the resolution of conflict involving the elderly include border conflict, setting fire to a house, committing adultery, not paying back a loan, false witness, stealing, insulting, committing murder and what have you.
Whenever the aforementioned crimes take place, they are entertained by the elderly people chosen by the community. The elderly people look into the case in various ways. After they investigate the case, they pass verdict anchored in the weight of the crime. To mention just a few, if somebody commits a murder, the elderly people make an effort to solve the problem in a little while for the most part before the situation go from the frying pan into the fire between two parties: the murderer’s family and the deceased family.
In the same way, whenever problem arises, the murderer’s family sends the elderly people to the deceased one for finding the middle ground. They give their words to pay blood money and other related aspects. In the process of peacemaking, mothers who have reached menopause will be assigned on behalf of the deceased sisters with the intention of following the case. It means as of today let us stop seeking revenge. Moreover, a sheep and a cow which have reached menopause will be slaughtered by the head of a clan. Subsequently, the clan leader smears blood on both parties. But both parties are not allowed to dine the meat.
The major conflict resolution starts when the murderer’s family brought an ox and made to be slaughtered by the clan leader. After that, the meat is served for participants in the peacemaking process. Sooner or later, the elderly people make the two parties to dine together. In due course, the whole thing will be on the right track.
Blood money
Blood money is paid if the murderer’s and the deceased family are related by marriage and blood. But if the required amount of money is beyond the capacity of the murderer’s family, the murderer is made to beg passersby in different market places and pay the required amount of money. Otherwise, the case will last for many years unsolved leading to unnecessary sacrifice.
Verdicts for robbers
When thieves or pickpockets are caught red-handed over and over again, they will be dressed down by the elderly people. If they fail to do so, the criminals will be taken to the elderly people in next to no time. After the elderly people investigates the case once again, the thieves or pick pockets will be tied to a certain stem and made to stay for some days. This kind of penalty is commonly known as “Duteta”. The intended target of this type of penalty is making others to learn from their mistakes and not to get themselves involved in this kind of illegal acts.
False witness
If a false witness is testified against someone, the elderly people make the suspects to swear different life-threatening things pertaining to his life. How does it take place? First and foremost, the judge makes attendees to be seated. After that a spear will be left on the floor. This time, the eyes of the wrongdoer will be tied and made to step on the spear swearing in the following ways, “let God shorten my child’s life,” “let God make me a worthless person” and other life threatening things. But if the criminal steps on the spear swearing the aforementioned things, he will be freed in a little while. There was structural conflict management systems used by the community at this point in time. But they are not being brought into play at this point in time.
Structural conflict management systems
When a serious crime surfaces, structural conflict management system was brought into play within the shortest time possible. There are fifty-four people drawn from different clans and assigned for resolving a range of conflicts. Moreover, there are twelve king’s advisors getting themselves engaged in the structural conflict management systems. If a death penalty is imposed, the case will be directly taken to the king for approval. After the king has thoroughly investigated the case, he approves the death penalty without rubbing his eyes. Revealing war secret, conspiring on the king, committing a cruel act of killing, setting fire to a house, stealing, beating somebody seriously and so forth will result in capital punishment.
What are the stages of a death penalty case?
First and foremost, the selected fifty four elderly people deal with the case. But if the case is beyond their capacity, they take the case straight to the king’s advisors. If they believe in the death sentence, the king’s advisors take the case straight to the king. After the king has investigated the case, he approves the decision.
Execution takes place in the form of cutting off one’s head, burying somebody’s below the waist and letting a horse step on the criminal’s head, beating with a big stick, pinching with a chunky clippers and the like. How does the execution take place?
Cutting off one’s head
The case of a person committing a serious crime will be taken to the fifty-four committee members for investigation. If the crime is punishable by the death penalty, they take the case to the king. After that the king approves the capital punishment. The next step before execution will be making the decision public. In the fullness of time, the criminal’s neck is cut off. After the whole process is over, the family of the criminal takes the body of the dead to the king and asks for forgiveness. At the end of the day, the king gives them the go ahead to bury the body of the criminal.
Burying a criminal
The body of a criminal sentenced to death will be buried below the neck. After that, horses would be made to step on the neck of the criminal time after time. When the criminal departs this life, the cadaver will not be given to the family. He will be made to be buried right there. When adultery, theft and property damage, stealing, insults and other related aspects take place, different types of verdicts pass down by the elderly people.
Committing Adultery
Adultery is completely forbidden. It is not tolerated in the area. If somebody committees adultery, all and sundry gives him the cold shoulder. He will as well be disliked by the community. The man who commits adultery will be made to give one to three cows to the woman’s husband and a calf to the judges investigating the case.
Theft and property damage
Stealing somebody’s property is entirely forbidden. It is very unusual to steal property of the same clan as this would mean a crime against a ‘brother’. If somebody is caught stealing the property of somebody, the thief would be made to return the item taken. The thief as well will be ostracized by the entire community of the area. The person will be forced to pay a fine. A person found stealing would be stoned until a policeman come and through him into prison.
Throwing Insults
If friction arises between a husband and a wife, they will not take the case to the elderly people. Instead they get to the bottom of the problem on their own. If insults are thrown outside the clan, the elderly people solve the case on their own. In most cases, a clan plays a fundamental role in customary dispute resolution. The elderly people are respected and not questioned once they come to mutual agreement. They stand for an ancestral spirit. They bless the people at wedding or in other ceremonies.

Published in Art-Culture

Ever since the idea of self determination and the rights of peoples of the same stock, language, culture as well as history have been admitted and appreciated; ever since there have been attempts to constitute themselves as independent entities and have succeeded in certain cases and legitimately so, the right to self-determination has been consecrated as a natural right and was enshrined in the UN charters.
The right to constitute an independent nation, and the rejection of any form of continuation as part of bigger nations, have been claimed by many and there have been successful cases in history for various reasons. But this does not necessarily imply that wherever it is fancied there can be automatic gratification. The issue is complex and has infinite ramifications that need to be studied on a case by case basis.
Some examples of success could be those that came out of the famous USSR when disintegration was a direct result of the Gorbachev era; the former Yugoslavia followed suit with the creation of Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. But here the cost was high.
In some fortunate instances, the self determination issue was settled peacefully. No clashes, no victims, no displacements of peoples. But in others it was the contrary: prolonged, widespread, fierce and bloody violence; thousands of deaths and immense destruction.
While this idea has spread it has reached also our continent. In Africa, cases of self determination have been raised in several instances with various consequences which in most cases have been really devastating. Nigeria with the idea of an independent Biafra conceived, raised and propagated by the likes of Odumegwu Ojukwu was one. The oil rich Igbo population wanted to detach itself from the large masses of Nigerians. The central government led by Col. Yakubu Gowon had to avoid such breakup with utter determination. The three year civil war had disastrous consequences. In fact, one of the first challenges that Africa had to face after decolonization was the cases of self determination of various entities and the cases of border demarcation as fabricated artificially by the colonizers.
Eritrea was another case with a struggle that lasted thirty years against Ethiopia, again with immense losses. And yet negotiations could have spared all that devastation and misery.
In the former Belgian Congo, the case of the copper rich Katanga was on, and the UN had to intervene to stop the violence and destruction along with the disintegration of the country.
An example that observers often cite in Europe is the case of the Kurd nationals. The quest for self determination of the Kurds present in various countries including Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria is unanswered or unheeded and yet the issue is very much alive and hot.
The issue of the self determination of the people of Palestine is yet another case crying for solution, a thorny issue that has lasted ever since the state of Israel was born in 1948, in disregard of the wishes of the Palestinians and other Arab peoples who still argue on the legitimacy of the Israeli state where it is. This issue has been a source of multiple wars with lots of damages both in human life as well as destruction besides displacement of millions for generations. What is sad is that several attempts of peace talks have not been able to deliver a lasting solution.
What is more, all these social and political problems have been at one time or another crucial peace and security issues even for countries and regions beyond their area. The problems that have followed these crises have been felt by other nations also because millions of refugees escaping the actual violence, particularly women, children, and the elderly, have been on the agenda of the world bodies such as the UN with its specialized agencies such as UNHCR, UNICEF and others.
Unfortunately, the issue of peace and security became the prime agenda rather than one of growth and the crusade against poverty or ignorance out of the face of earth. Resources were diverted to build armies and ammunitions rather than tractors to plough the earth and feed the population or technology to teach the youth new ideas and sciences.
In countries such as Ethiopia which entertains a plethora of ethnicities, the issue of self determination has been contrasted with the issue of unity and hence strength. Is it better to be a small independent nation or one of a big country with a form of autonomy or federation? This is a big question because the case varies from place to place and from nationality to nationality. If the situation is determined democratically in a free and transparent manner the case may be easy to fix. But if force is preferred to assert such rights or maintain the status quo, lots of damage and casualty could materialize; and this is the famous zero sum game.
Ethiopia’s 1994 Federal Constitution has structured the country into 9 regional states and two federal cities named Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The federal structure is mainly based on ethnicity, language and geographic location. The criteria have been criticized by many scholars as procreating the risks of manipulation to spread seeds of narrow nationalism and chauvinism. The results of such ideas are imaginable. The idea that people from certain regions are not allowed to live or work elsewhere begins to be perceived. This could lead to a dangerous tendency: belief that any one who finds themselves outside their native region could hardly lead a peaceful life.
One of the basic principles of the constitution provides that every one has the freedom to move from one place to another and hence can live and work anywhere they prefer. The only precondition is that they abide by the law. But the fact that they are citizens is enough to allow them to compete for any vacant position or employment. If this is a constitutional right and if it is only the people who should be eligible to elect their government and administration themselves, there can be no space for the idea that one cannot live outside one’s native region.
The recent violence that erupted in the South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples regional state and some of the unrest that used to erupt two, three years ago have something to do with such erroneous conception of the laws, or they have been willfully and deliberately violated by certain people in authority or influence for their own personal or group interests.
The dangerous escalation of violence and unrest in Hawassa and environs targeting the people of Welayita to leave the city and the demand for a new Sidama Regional State could be put in this context. Similarly, the various other nations and nationalities that live in the country might be tempted to constitute a new independent regional state of their own. The Gurage in Welkite town were heard fancying it.
The constitution has provided that there are legal arrangements and procedures to be followed for the realization of any such idea. There are conditions to be fulfilled and what the prime minister said to these people was to follow the rules of the constitution and there will not be any issue that could not be settled democratically. The prime minister advised the need to avoid hate and violence, instead indulging in extensive and sober discussions. Emotions should not be given the upper hand over reason.
What are the priorities of a country such as Ethiopia? Which issue must be settled first and which one next? That is where leadership is needed, leadership that actually inspires people and help them reach lofty goals and work hard to attain their aspirations.
In the question and answer sessions in which the prime minister took part after the recent violence in the South region, there were demands of autonomy and self determination in succession. Divisions seemed to transpire among the South nations. What the prime minister aptly responded was ‘how can we think of further divisions when our long term goals are unity and integration of the entire African continent by breaking up the artificial barriers created by the ill intentions of colonialists? How could we be fooled by dividing ourselves into bits and pieces and be insignificant victims of a powerful world that continues to exploit our resources without our voice not loud enough to be heard?
The message was clear. There is nothing to obtain by further dividing ourselves other than submitting to the agenda of certain politicians or groups who are bent to create their own empire at the public’s interest. Dividing ourselves into little pieces would only weaken our potential and expose us to dangers from outside. What we need is instead to gather all our forces and resources and become a big nation and later on a big powerful sub-region capable of producing and exporting a lot with sustained growth. Only then can we beat the degrading poverty we are in and restore our name and prestige in the world at large.
There is little to expect from unrealistic promises of richness and growth if division of our forces becomes an option and unity is considered a liability. Only unity in equality and unity in diversity can realize the redemption of the people of Ethiopia and lead them to success and greatness.

 

Fitsum Getachew

Published in Editorial-View-Point

Ethiopian prisoners have been treated wrongly in some Federal and State Prisons. This has been against the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. All the part takers of prison administration and legal bodies must play their roles.
The government must issue official orders to the Federal Prison Administration, the federal police and other law enforcement organs to immediately and without condition stop ill treatments, torture, and all other abuses in the custody of their respective units as it did to the Maekelawi prison.
It also has to order an impartial and transparent investigation into all reports of ill treatment, and ensure that all personnel implicated in the abuse are brought to justice.
It needs to ensure that all confessions, statements, and other information extracted through coercion are discarded and are not used as evidence and release more ill treated prisoners immediately.
It has to further release all detainees arrested for exercising their constitutional rights without any condition and guarantee that all detainees have access to medical care, legal counsel, and family visits without restriction; as well.
And appropriately compensate all detainees that have been subjected to different kinds of ill treatment, including torture. It also has to appropriately compensate families of detainees that have lost their lives in prison or due to poor prison conditions and/or ill treatments.
Significantly improve the conditions and facilities of the prisons in Ethiopia. Allow independent oversight of all prisons and detention centers in Ethiopia.
And it has to implement Resolution 356 adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ which calls on Ethiopia’s government to “ensure due process of law for persons arrested and detained in connection with protests, in accordance with regional and international standards, and release persons arrested and detained without charge”
The Ethiopian Judiciary also has a number of responsibilities in the ill treatments of the prisoners. It must make sure that an independent body promptly investigates all reports of ill treatments.
It has to guarantee that all confessions, statements, and other information obtained through ill treatment and torture are completely discarded, and are not used as evidence.
Similarly, it has to make certain that the reports produced by Ethiopian Human Rights Commission are impartial and ensure that further investigation is made by an independent body, and not by federal police.
Likewise, it should have to identify that all detainees have access to medical care and family visits as per the prisons’ policies and procedures, without restriction of time and number of visitors.
The Federal Prison Administration and Federal Police are also responsible for the ill treatments. They must immediately and without condition stop ill treatments and all forms of abuse including torture on detainees.
As well, they have to bring to justice all prison officials and members that have committed violations and abuse against the detainees.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission also must do its legal responsibilities. It should keep on investigating all reports of violence in prisons and all other detention centers in the country and follow up on recommendations and proposals made. It is required to ensure all investigations are impartial, transparent, and independent.
And it has to publish result to all concerned bodies including to the government, the parliament, the judiciary, and human right groups.
It should issue further investigation request to independent organs, such as human rights organizations on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
Therefore, all these legal bodies must work cooperatively and separately to fight the prisoners ill treatments which is against the constitutional obligation, human right.

Published in Editorial-View-Point

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