By Fikru Helebo
Modern Ethiopian history is full of government policy decisions which had an unintended consequences. Prime among such unintended consequences is the separation of Eritrea in 1991 as a direct result of a decision taken by the Haile Selassie regime in 1962 to dissolve Eritrea's federation with Ethiopia. The current regime has also made a decision, namely the invasion of Somalia a few months ago, that has the potential to produce unintended consequence(s) that could rival Eritrea's separation.
Emperor Haile Selassie's regime did not believe its decision to revoke Eritrea's autonomous status in 1962 would ignite one of the longest civil wars of the 20th century and result in Eritrea's eventual separation. Similarly, Meles Zenawi's regime did not believe that its decision to send troops into Somalia would trigger another round of civil war in the Somali inhabited parts of the country, which could then lead to the separation of the Ogaden region from Ethiopia a few years or decades down the line. Only time will tell if this will come to pass.
Decisions made by parties or groups of individuals in the Ethiopian political scene, which are not often as far-reaching as decisions made by a government, like the ones I mentioned above, may also have unintended consequence(s). Take, for example, the decision by MEISON in the mid-70s to work with the Derg regime, which left the EPRP, the main opposition group of the time, out in the cold. The unintended consequence of this decision by MEISON was the Red Terror the Derg unleashed on the EPRP and, later on, on MEISON itself.
Are there decisions being made in the Ethiopian political scene these days that have the potential to produce unintended consequences of immense proportions like the examples I cited above? I hope not! Decisions that will have to be made by members of Kinijit regarding the apparent division within their party have the potential to produce unintended consequences. So does the muted response by the Ethiopian opposition to the plight of Ogadenis! I hope the politicians of today have learned something from the mistakes of the past.