One step forward, three steps backward

One step forward, three steps backward.


By: Ben


This is how EPRDF govt. walks. It makes sure that there is a three step backward move for each forward step achieved. The end result? Our unfortunate mother land suffers more and more. I'm not here to pen all the setbacks it erected for every step it moved forward. I'll just comment on what I observed last week.

Not long ago Ethiopian leadership took a prominent and quite impressive move by discussing different topics with the faculties of Addis Ababa University. Whereas some of the addressed issues weren't timely, Article 39 for example, the decision to discuss matters with these intellectuals was commendable. Due to the magnitude of its severe effect on the nation, the core of the agenda should have been what to do on the HIV/AIDS holocaust and the looming famine cases. However, for the regime in Addis to sit in the same room & talk with these intellectuals candidly is a step forward. The leadership's uncharacteristic approach of accepting its failure for its irresponsible dismissal of over forty academics [a decade ago] was indeed a step forward.

However, the regime had to walk what it accustomed to: Three steps backward for a single step forward! The government's confrontational approach ruined the bridge which was being build. As customary to EPRDF leadership it practiced its usual method: My way or no way. The issue at hand was easily solvable. The overall issue was how to evaluate, "gimgema", the institution's instructors. However, the crux of all the discord is the government's unwillingness to give the institution the academic freedom it badly needs. The Minister of Education should have only engaged in general policy matters, sadly, Woiz. Guenet Zewde's unnecessarily interference complicated the issue at hand. It should have been absolutely left for the university community to do it as they fit is just. Ato Tefera Walwa and other cadres should have left the university alone. For sure those academics know how to govern their institution than a government cadre. However, EPRDF government had to walk the walk it knows best: One forward followed by three backward.

Due to the regime's stubbornness not to listen to other reasons but solely its, the President of the university Professor Eshetu Woncheko, the Academic Vice President, Dr. Tetemke Mehari, and the Business Vice President, Tesfaye Biru presented their resignation letter. To add salt on the open wounds of the university body, the government made public that the infamous Prof. Andreas Eshete will take the presidency. The regime fully knows that Prof. Andreas Eshete is quite at odds with his coworkers and can't unite the university body. As many close to the university body assert, the appointment is purely based on his loyalty to the regime rather than his efficiency to run the institution. What a sad day for this prestigious institution, which at one point in time was regarded as "a glimmer of hope" by our African brothers and sisters, to reduce itself to this level.

Refusing to be bullied by the government cadres and not able to work under ineffectual political appointee, more and more academics are presenting their resignation letters. As Addis Tribune quoted its sources, Prof. Mogessie Ashenafi, the president who preceded Prof. Eshetu Woncheko, had submitted his resignation from his post as the Director of the Institute of Patho biology. Professor Yemane of the Post-graduate Studies has also submitted his resignation. The paper also reported that "some five deans/directors of faculties and schools as well as senior professors have tendered their resignation".

Because they were refused to get the academic freedom they needed to practise their expertise within their country, the exodus will continue. The brain drain will continue to flow with the highest rate. Since our unfortunate land isn't blessed to keep her intellects at home, our people are doomed to live under poverty, AIDS, famine, ...

For EPRDF leadership? For those cadres? It is a habitual walk: For every step forward, three steps back!!