Friday, May 30, 2008

A leader with no heart and a nation with no rage

By Ephrem Madebo

“The marriage of of leader with no heart and a nation with no rage is a recipe for disaster” My father

In 1991, Zenawi handed Ethiopia’s port of Assab to Eritrea against the will of the Ethiopian people. In 2002, he obstinately gave Bademe to Eritrea after shading the blood of thousands of brave Ethiopians. In 2008, he gave a large strip of land to Sudan. In 2010, 2012, and in 2014 ... What else, and who knows? Does anyone want to know what is left in Zenawi’s gift bag? Well, it is you; it is me; our children, our legacy, and everything that we’re proud of having. Recently, after he gave a good part of Gondar to Sudan, PM Meles addressed the parliament to explain his action. This is what he said:-“The demarcation of the Ethiopia-Sudan border will not displace anybody on either side”. Surprisingly, the applaud in the comatose parliament sounded as if Omar al-Beshir was addressing the Sudanese parliament. What a same! I don’t blame Meles; the problem is all with us. Meles observed us for 17 years and he saw in us what he eagerly wanted to see. Hey, wake up Habesha! Meless’ next move is to export our wives to Dubai and Abudabi and tell the parliament - Don’t worry they will not sleep with another man. Sorry for the foul language, but this is what is looming and I can’t hold it anymore. After all, the plot is on my country!

Oh! My God! What is wrong with the Ethiopian parliament? What is it composed of? Representatives of the people, or a bunch of nitwits that blindly follow the blind move of Meles Zenawi? I can buy your notion of party loyalty, but there is no party loyalty that defies national responsibility. Your ultimate loyalty is to your country, not to your party. Constitutionally, in Ethiopia, sovereignty resides in the parliament i.e., parliament is the ultimate legislative body in the country. Article 8.3 of the constitution states: “Sovereignty shall be expressed through the peoples' representatives, elected by them in accordance with this Constitution, and through their direct democratic participation”. In 1998, the Ethiopian parliament approved a war bill to liberate Bademe. In 2002, the same parliament approved a bill that handed over liberated Bademe back to Eritrea. Dear honorables and fellow country men, do you know that Meles has no business of defining the Ethiopian border? Territorial and border issues are considered only by you [parliament]. You were supposed to be the last line of defense to Ethiopia's unity and territorial integrity; yet, last week, when Meles Zenawi told you that a land has been awarded to Sudan, you applauded just like a fool that missed the joke, but laughed anyway. As long as a bill comes from Isayas Afewerke [through Meles] to annex Tigray, I have no doubt that our lousy ‘yes only’ parliament will gladly pass the bill. Dear honorables, when you as a legislative branch agree with Meles 100% of the time, our nation needs one of you, not both. At least my readers will agree because it’s less of an evil.

Thanks to our fathers and forefathers, the name Ethiopia was synonymous with national pride and valor. I wonder if this is still true and if we still call ourselves the sons and daughters of Tewdros, Menelik, Abdissa, and Balcha. Each of these heroes died so that we can live valiantly today. Actually, they didn’t die; they gave a new beginning to Ethiopians and continuity to Ethiopia. All of these heroes have one thing in common – They all loved Ethiopia more than themselves! Do we? Tewdros and Menelik created a larger Ethiopia. Balcha and Abdissa maintained the greatness of Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Selassie was a failure in his domestic polices and the one who replaced him was a failure in everything. However, both Haile Selassie and Mengistu fought with unmatched tenacity to make sure that each inch of land that belonged to Ethiopia stayed within Ethiopia.

Today, we have a leader that gives our land to outsiders and tells us about a GDP growth to keep us passive. I’m afraid, if our land is sold at this rate, I don’t care if our economy booms or explodes, by the time Ethiopia grows in to the group of middle income nations, there will be no more Ethiopia. All of our past national leaders settled or solved territorial problems before they become national emergency. Emperor Yohannis made a one-way journey to Metema, and “Emeye” Menelik traveled all the way to Adwa to stop aggressor. Today, we have a leader afflicted with psychosis that gives our land to a foreign nation and addresses his parliament to justify his wickedness. If a psychotic glib tongue from no where has the heart to justify the breakup of our country, then either we are created with no heart what so ever, or our existence has no justification. An existence that can not be justified has no value and purpose; and when life is so empty and filled with invariable misery, I think it is worth sacrificing if for the good of the next generation. Are we scared of dying? Well, we all died long time ago when we quietly allowed Meles to realize his dream, so why fear the past? By the way, the strength of our enemy emanates from our fear and weakness. If Mandela was scared of dying, apartheid would have still been the norm in his country; and he wouldn’t have lived to be the first black president of South Africa. Are we scared of losing our property or wealth? Forget wealth or property! We are on the verge of losing mother Ethiopia. What more can we loose? No more hallucination! Ethiopia is making her last call from a virtual grave, let’s wake up and answer the call.

There is no human being that snores when his/her life is in jeopardy, and there is no nation that has no will to fight when its sovereignty is endangered. Why should we? It is true that Ethiopia is a country where principle dominates emotion. This has been proved in the 1960 coup d’état, in the 1974 revolution, and in the very dangerous days of 1991 when we virtually had no government for almost a week. It is good to be a nation of principle, but it is also very important to blend principle with emotion when the moment is right. Emotional reactions are not inherently bad, wrong, rude, or immature. They can often add valuable context to our struggle, making the human element impossible to ignore. The TPLF mobs have hurt us, angered us, and belittled us for seventeen straight years. I don’t understand why our anger doesn’t grow in to rage. Rage, especially now, in this most crucial time of our history, is the most important emotion to heal. Yes in deed, range is necessary to heal a nation that suffers from past and present wounds. Mind you, like I said it above, we are not healing rage when we use angry words in scathing articles. When principle fails to work due to lack of reciprocity, rage is the only way that carries our ability to say NO! Rage helps us to rise to the occasion and forces the bad guys to follow principle.

Is it PM Zenawi’s never-ending conspiracy against our country and his disrespect to the people that shapes Ethiopia of the new millennium, or our determination to continue as a nation? Whose will is stronger; his, or ours? This is not about Tigray, Gondar, Sidamo, or Wellga etc, this is about Ethiopia. Our greatness comes from our indivisibility, and our survival as a nation comes from our collective oneness. For many years our response for the treasons of Zenawi has been a little anger, a little cursing, and a little denouncing. Such soft and toothless responses did not and will not stop Meles Zenawi from completing his diabolic mission. Obviously, it is easy to denounce a traitor like Meles, what is not easy is to understand him and to stop him from committing the next harm. Do we understand Meles? If our answer is yes, then we need to stop him from diminishing Ethiopia. Meles can not and must not prevail; all that is necessary for him to prevail is that we keep on acting like a toothless lion.

I wish I had the opportunity to campaign all over Ethiopia and express my emotion by shading my tear like Hilary Clinton. I’ve had many joyous and sad moments in my life, but I have never felt so empty and powerless in my entire life. When you finish reading this article, please don’t just sympathize with me, gnash your teeth, and go back to dormancy. No, please don’t! We all know that the past hasn’t been so easy and there were many wounds that were never allowed to heal. However, you, I, and we as a society have to depart from the past for the sake of a new begging. Forget the past? Absolutely no because the past is a lesson for tomorrow; we just don’t have to dwell on it. When we have a common destination and a common country that we call home, trust is the only relationship of reliance between us. What is trust? Trust is letting others know our feelings, emotions and reactions, and having the confidence in them to respect us and to not take advantage of us. Trust is the ability to let others into our life so that we and they can create a mutual respect, caring, and concern to assist one another in growing, and lifting our nation independently and collectively. Trust is the only way to transform our individual weaknesses into collective strength; therefore, we should trust each other individually and as a group. Ethiopia is much stronger when the Oromos trust the Amharas, and most importantly, our country will be indivisible and her growth shall be guaranteed when all the other nationalities of Ethiopia trust every move of the Amharas and the Oromos.

Ethiopia is a country that fought for the freedom of other countries, but her own people are dispersed around the globe looking for the very thing that they fought for others. Ethiopia had a well-defined border way before the Norman Conquest of England, today; thanks to a thoughtless leader, Ethiopia’s border is being redefined to appease a country created by England at the dawn of the 20th century. Ethiopia is one of the ancient countries that roamed the seas, today, Ethiopia’s 75million people depend on the port of tiny Djibouti while their pig-headed leader tells the world - “the majority of Ethiopians love to be landlocked” Mind you, this is a script from his interview broadcasted to his own people. Yes, you heard me right! Broadcasted to his own people. What a disgrace and what a pathological liar! My fellow Ethiopians, the story goes on and on and on unless we go out of our way to stop it.

As much as we love our adopted culture of outdoor cooking and a journey to the beach, this summer we must hold back ourselves from all summer rituals to redefine our association with our native land. Yes, summer is a time to renew ourselves with the solar power of the sun; but this summer must be a moment of reflection and a time to renew our covenant with our country. This summer we have to choose between “to be” and “not to be”, between respect and disrespect, between Ethiopia and no Ethiopia. If we fail to make the right choice, we will be ridiculed as a human being, humiliated as a nation, and possibly nicknamed - “African Gypsies”. A war has been waged on our identity. My fellow country men/women, this is not just a war; it is a conspiracy to diminish our geo-political importance in Africa. NOT ON OUR WATCH! I repeat, NOT ON OUR WATCH! We are in a promising horizon and in a new millennium. Our nation is in labor, the cramping and the contraction has begun. Let’s induce this unique labor and welcome the birth of a new leader, a leader that loves Ethiopia and restores the pride of Ethipiawinet. A leader that has the wisdom to lead and the loyalty to follow. Fellow Ethiopians, we are confronted with two choices: a choice to die for others, or a choice to see others die. Well, either way we die. When we die for others, we give them hope and a sense of purpose to live. When we choose to see others die, we die, they die, and we all die. Let’s lead by example, let’s make the right choice. True leadership is not the urge to stand above all; it is the urge to stand for all. God bless Ethiopia!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Uncommon Valor, the Life of Kedir Mohammed

On May 8, 2008 the man who devoted his life to the service of his country as a soldier for the aggrieved and the downtrodden finally gave up his valiant battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a scrooge that kept him bedridden for a couple of years. Kedir Mohammed’s death ended his unyielding pursuit and the selfless commitment that he made as freshman at Haile Sellassie I University in the early nineteen sixties.

Kedir was born in 1953 in a place called Mekere at the district of Silti from his father Mr. Edris Abdulwahib and his mother, Mrs. Marima Ahmed. Kedir’s father died when he was very young and he was raised by his uncle Hajji Mohammed Ahmed, a business man who lived at Wolkitie. Kedir’s primary school education was at Wolkitie where he completed 6th grade and moved to Wolliso. After he completed 9th grade, his sister, Rewda Idris took him to Addis Ababa and enrolled him at Kotebe High School. At 11th grade Kedir passed an entrance examination to Beide Mariam, a prestigious School for seniors inside Haile Selassie I University (now Addis Ababa University) at Sidist Kilo. The proximity of Baide Mariam to the University gave Kedir an opportunity to live his dream of joining the progressive forces that challenged the monarchy and the feudal system that dispossessed and abused the Ethiopian peasant.

After Tilahun Gizaw, the iconic student leader and president of the University Students Union of Addis Ababa, was gunned down in 1969, Kedir with five of his fellow students escaped to Sudan to avoid persecution by the government. The monarchy accused Kedir and his friends of crime and attempted to get extradition from Sudan. The students were however granted a refugee status with the aid of UNCHR and Sudanese students. Kedir lived in Sudan for 8 years as a teacher until the monarchy was overthrown in 1974.

Even as a refugee, Kedir never ended his activism and the struggle for justice, human rights and equality of citizens of his country. He joined a budding organization that was cultivated by the Ethiopian students’ movement that culminated in the formation of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). It is said that Kedir was one of the delegates that participated in the 1972 founding congress of the EPRP.

The Dergue that deposed the monarchy in 1974 offered amnesty to those who took refuge from the government of Haile Selassie and Kedir took the opportunity to return and continue his activism as an employee of “መሬት ይዞታ”, a state agency that dealt with land tenure. EPRP at this time has openly declared its existence by clandestinely distributing its political program and Kedir as a senior member of this organization was involved in implementing the Party’s program. Working at “መሬት ይዞታ” opened many opportunities to Kedir who was a fervent fighter for Tilahun Gizaw’s and the Ethiopian student’s motto – “land to the tiller”. It granted him unfettered access to the very people he adored and fought for- the rural subsistent farmer that constituted about 90% of the Ethiopian population.

EPRP made an advance of historical proportion by reaching all sectors of the Ethiopian population in very short time. Unfortunately, in due time, the EPRP was weakened by the assault of the military regime in the urban areas and by TPLF and EPLF in the North were its military wing had encamped. The Party also split due to an internal factional fighting, and this exposed influential leaders and party activists that were covertly functioning. Kedir at this time decided to disguise himself and hide in the Northern part of Ethiopia leaving Addis Ababa. Since he remained in the Party’s structure, Kedir was delegated the task of facilitating the departure of EPRP members who were being pursued by the junta to join the military wing of the party. In 1977, a cadre that lived in Kedir’s neighborhood in Addis while visiting the area where Kedir was hiding recognized him and informed the agents of the military government and Kedir was apprehended. He was taken to Addis Ababa and was imprisoned in the Fourth Army Division Headquarters in Addis Ababa and the main prison where he spent five years. Kedir was released from prison in 1982 when the military regime granted a pardon.

Kedir was unemployed for many years after his release from prison because the regime through an internal communiqué had banned the bureaucracy from hiring political detainees after their release. Kedir was however employed in 1985 by the Ethiopian standards (ደረጃ መዳቢዎች) and then at the internal revenue office of excise and Taxes. When TPLF/EPRDF took power in 1991, Kedir was promoted to a position of branch manager at office of excise and Taxes. He fell abruptly out of the TPLF/EPRDF grace when the group within the Southern Ethiopian political block participated in the first Paris Conference that was attended by many exiled organizations. Kedir’s organization, the Guraghe People’s Democratic front (ጉሕዴግ), and other organizations that constituted the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Coalition (SEPDC) were members of the transitional government at that time. However, SEPDC chose to withdraw from government when the party in power demanded the denouncement of the resolution of the Paris conference that criticized the party that usurped power from Mengistu. At this time TPLF/EPRDF falsely accused Kedir of corruption and imprisoned him. The courts however affirmed his innocence and set him free, but Kedir lost his employment.

In 1994 Kedir as SEPDC delegate participated in a meeting sponsored by the Carter Center and returned to Ethiopia after the meeting. But on his return to Ethiopia Kedir was harassed and ill-treated by the agents of the ruling party. His organization (SEPDC) at this time decided to send him outside of the country as the organization’s foreign representative. Kedir had served at this capacity until his illness. Kedir was an ardent voice of Ethiopian unity and an advocate for a united front of Ethiopian opposition against the TPLF/EPRDF regime. He played a selfless role in the realization of the Rockville meeting that formed the Unity of Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF). A representative of an organization that worked with Kedir for a year in organizing the Rockville conference gave the following testimonial: “I have known Kedir since 2001. He was a true Ethiopian and I have observed him exerting untiring effort by sacrificing his resource, time and energy for the unity and prosperity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Kedir was truly very instrumental in bringing together about 15 Ethiopian opposition political parties to a table for a conference in Rockville, MD, USA”. Another veteran of the Ethiopian student movement and a member of UEDF stated that “Kedir was a man who lived to struggle for the cause of all Ethiopians whole-heartedly. We have lost a life-long fighter for equality and a democratic system. We miss him a lot.”

Another person who has spent time with Kedir in prison from 1977 to 1982, and later worked with him as SEPDC representative gave the following testimony:
Kedir was respectful and loyal to his comrades. His most visible qualities that are in short supply among members of today’s generation are commitment to peoples’ cause and willingness to help others. Kedir celebrated successes of others as if they were his own and his heart rejoiced when good things happen to others. His world has always been that of collaboration rather than competition and his friends have always been from the ranks of the ordinary people. He provided service to his people at no cost to them and he taught his friends through his modest life style and giving heart. Kedir lived and died loved, respected and honored. May his soul rest in peace!

Kedir was a man who had a strong spirit and vibrant personality that was never diminished by complaint or negative attitude. Those of us who knew him as a friend and colleague will not forget him. We will celebrate his life and will continue to demonstrate gratitude for his service. He will be sorely missed by a host of friends, family, and those who fought and suffered with him to bring good governance and justice for the Ethiopian masses.

May 24, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Economic Growth & Misery, Ethiopia’s paradox

By Ephrem Madebo

Three years have passed since Sufian Ahmed hastily and injudiciously predicted Ethiopia’s economic wonder and its high-speed transition into a middle–income nation in 20 years. I have no problem with the prediction itself; I love to see the prosperity of Ethiopians no matter which party is in power and regardless of my personal economic and social achievement. As the top executive officer of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance & Economic Development, Sufian Ahmed has all the necessary information to estimate future economic growth in Ethiopia. I wonder what kind of objective data (other than his subjective judgment) he used to make one of the most preposterous predictions of all time. Unfortunately, three years after his optimistic predication, Ethiopia is yet heading to another phase of drought and starvation.

The term "economic growth" refers to the increase of a specific measure such as real national income (NI), gross domestic product (GDP), or per capita income (PCI). GDP is the measure of the goods and services produced by an economy in a specified time usually a year commonly expressed in terms of a measure of the aggregate value-added output of the domestic economy. When the GDP of a nation rises economists refer to it as economic growth. The real progress of nations is not measured by a single measure of growth such as GDP, it is also measured by the degree of access its citizens have to economic institutions and to the political process.

Recently, statistical indicators have been used as a powerful tool in promoting human rights by effectively quantifying conditions under which people live. The UN is one of the vanguard organizations that uses statistical indicators to measure the well-being of people in member nations. In fact, the UN is not just an organization that measures the well-being of people; it is also an organization that injects capital into the economies of poor countries to help them fight poverty and build participatory political institutions.

The World Bank has been in Ethiopia since 1945 with a primary objective of tackling poverty bad-governance. In Ethiopia, and in many other developing countries, the World Bank supports governments in the development and implementation of programs geared towards accelerated pro-poor growth. Despite its constant pumping of capital, for the last 63 years, the World Bank could not shield Ethiopia from being the symbol of poverty and bad-governance in the world, i.e. the World Bank did not meet its dual objective in Ethiopia for 63 years. What went wrong? Before answering this question let me introduce you to the key idea of this article.

Evidently, the injection of a large dose of aid fund, loan, transfer capital, and domestic capital formation has induced uninterrupted GDP growth in Ethiopia between 2001 and 2007. In the last five years, the government of Meles Zenawi, the World Bank, and the IMF have produced voluminous documents that highlight the growth of the Ethiopian economy. As poor as Ethiopians are, such a claim would have been valid only if the heralded growth had a positive impact on the daily life of poor Ethiopians. Economic growth has no meaning to the majority of Ethiopians unless its benefit trickles down to them. So if the economy is booming why do many Ethiopians suffer in poverty? Why does the UN Misery Index report show Ethiopia at the bottom of its list three years after Sufian Ahemed’s optimistic prediction? By the way what is Misery Index?

Misery Index is a measure of economic well-being for a specified economy, computed by taking the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate for a given period. An increasing index means a worsening economic climate for the economy in question, and vice versa. With a visible high inflation and unemployment rates, one shouldn’t be a Princeton economist to estimate Ethiopia’s misery index.

A recent United Nations Human Development survey indicates that besides war, AIDS, and natural disaster, Ethiopia and many Sub-Saharan countries suffer from the broadest range of social & economic disadvantages. The survey examines the availability of schools, clean water, medical care, and whether people can play a role in politics. Moreover, the experimental survey measures a nation's growth not by economic figures but by statistical profiles of its people and by what they can expect from life. Apart from Sierra Leone, which is ranked last, the UN survey indicates that the other most disadvantaged nations from the bottom up are: Niger, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Chad, and the Central African Republic. Out of 195 countries, Ethiopia is 192nd, better than only three nations.

What happened to billions of dollar that the World Bank has been transferring to Ethiopia for over half a century? As I clearly indicated above, the World Bank sets objectives to every aid recipient before dispersing aid fund. Since the beginning of the World Bank's presence in Ethiopia, its support has been directed towards assisting the country to achieve sustainable economic growth while reducing poverty. Currently, the Bank's Interim Country Assistance Strategy (ICAS) focuses on both good- governance and economic growth as the central pillars of the Bank’s support to Ethiopia.

In spite of the recent economic growth that benefitted a handful of élites, the World Bank’s overarching objective of poverty reduction has been a complete fiasco in Ethiopia. In addition; the quality of governance has been deteriorating in direct proportion to the number of years the World Bank has been in Ethiopia. Here any rational person can draw the following three conclusions: The World Bank does not enforce its objectives, or the bank does not have a monitoring arm. Aid funds are not properly used in Ethiopia. Despite the constant flow of bilateral and multilateral capital, bad-governance has stifled economic growth in Ethiopia.
The information that comes from government sources definitely polishes Ethiopia as a peaceful place where people live in harmony. However, the political landscape in Ethiopia remains tainted by the aftermath of the May 2005 parliamentary elections and by the recent hard to believe and depressing story of territorial sale to Sudan. Yes, leading opposition leaders have been released from jail, but the number of political prisoners is increasing with the passing of every single day. To make things worse, the recent exclusive intra-TPLF party election has deepened the rift created by the 2005 election.

Ethiopia is one of those nations that can not survive without foreign aid, therefore, I don’t have the heart to tell the World Bank to stop helping Ethiopia, but I do have the moral and national obligation to advise, or notify the World Bank to at least make sure that the capital it transfers to Ethiopia is meeting the bank’s fundamental objectives. I am confident that the Ethiopian government will efficiently use aid funds if the stakes for not doing so are high, or if there is a consequence for misusing funds transferred from the World Bank. I am not saying the World Bank should be a watchdog over the government of Ethiopia. I have many relatives that live in rural Ethiopia who need clean water, healthcare facilities, schools, roads, and better farming methods. I just want the World Bank to make sure that the Ethiopian government is using the bank's capital to change the life of my relatives and millions of other rural Ethiopians. I do believe the World Bank must establish and follow strict monitoring & enforcement polices to pressure governments in poor countries to change their behavior. Otherwise, the very capital destined to change the lives of poor Ethiopians, will end up disenfranchising millions of people from the political and economic establishments of the country.

The World Bank has operated in Ethiopia for a little over six decades and has helped the regimes of Emperor Haile Selassie and Colonel Mengistu fight poverty and bad- governance. Today, the WB is still pumping a large amount of capital to the government of Meles Zenawi; yet in the WB list of poor countries, Ethiopia is still a leader from the bottom up as it was six decades ago. Currently, the Zenawi regime is re-writing the relationship between "human rights" and "economic development" in its own terms. Sadly, it seems that the WB is treating Ethiopia on the terms of Meles Zenawi. This ugly reality should not be allowed to continue. Either the policy of the WB towards Ethiopia, or the behavior of Zenawi's regime must change. Major donors and international financial institutions are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that recipient nations undertake reforms that ensure good-governance. Why not the World Bank?

The recent shifts in the conceptualization of development and the emphasis of the international community on human rights have re-defined the relationship between development and human rights. As a result, today, human right is not anymore seen as the by-products of development; rather, human right is a critical factor to achieving economic and social development. In another departure, globalization has created the need for a rapid global development. For the sake of poor countries, this rapid global development must not be viewed independently; it should be contrasted with localized ideas of “rights”, “development”, and “civil society”. Here readers ought to understand that “rights”, “development”, and “civil society” may vary between societies and countries. Meles Zenawi and his advisors assume a unidirectional cause and effect relationship between "human rights" and "economic development". According to their assumption, People are not "ready" for democracy until some hypothetical level of economic development has been achieved.

Today, based on the above hazy assumption of their masters, many vocal proponents of the TPLF regime argue that human rights are rewards of development; hence they postpone the fundamental issues of liberty until economic development is achieved. According to this unsubstantiated assumption, to enjoy American type of liberty, Ethiopians must be at the level where Americas are now. These barefaced muggers are telling the Ethiopian people to shut their mouth and expect material comfort and their God given liberty from them. The WB and the government of Ethiopia must understand that no nation can see economic prosperity and no people can genuinely take advantage of economic freedoms without political freedom and without the right for all citizens to participate equally in all aspects of society. Human rights and political freedom are fundamental prerequisites to build a prosperous nation. In the 21st century, human rights and political freedom are no longer separated from economic and social conditions.

I think by now it must be clear why the WB failed to reduce poverty in Ethiopia, and it must also be clear why the majority of Ethiopians live in dismal living conditions despite the billions of dollars directed to them for the last six decades. Ethiopia as a nation lost its battle against poverty due to lack of good-governance and the unwillingness of its elite to stand together for a sweeping system change.

Contemporary development literature frequently contrasts "good-governance" with "bad-governance". In this contrast, “bad-governance” is regarded by many scholars as one of the root causes of vicious circle of poverty in poor countries. Today, lack of money is not the main reason why Ethiopia hasn't been able to pull itself out of poverty; if it was, the UN, EU, the World Bank, and a number of Western governments have thrown a large sum of money at poverty reduction programs Ethiopia. However, a very large number of Ethiopians still live below the threshold of poverty. Ethiopia and other poor nations must concede that the critical building block for poverty reduction is not money, it is governance; a factor that they fully control.

In a concise plain language, "governance" is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented. There are many actors involved in governance and one of them is government. Other actors include influential land lords, trade unions, cooperatives, NGOs, research institutes, religious leaders, financial institutions, political parties, and the military.

What is good-governance? Well, if governance is a decision-making process, then good-governance is a decision making process that follows the rule of law, is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, equitable, and inclusive. Good-governance assures that the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. Good-governance is responsive to the present and future needs of society, and it also assures that corruption is minimized.

As much as we love our country, we should also be very cautious not to be fully taken by the above characteristics of good-governance. It should be clear that good- governance is an ideal state which is difficult to achieve in its totality. However, to break the vicious circle of poverty and to ensure sustainable economic development, we must take actions towards this ideal with the aim of eradicating bad-governance from our land. We should never be preoccupied with eminence, political power, or with building personal economic conglomerates. Our sole objective must be an oath of personal commitment to the vision of united, prosperous, and powerful Ethiopia. If we have the determination, “the God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build our land” [our land added by me] Nehemiah 2:20- Amen!