24 March 2018

Ethiopia: Optimistic Expectations From the New Prime Minister

Photo: Wikipedia
Abiy Ahmed.

After Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn requested to resign from his post, people have laid optimistic expectations on the next Prime Minister to materialize the process of widening democratic space and building a national consensus.

In this regard, The Ethiopian Herald has recently met scholars and politicians from Addis Ababa and Mekele Universities to discuss the possible key assignments to the coming new Prime Minister.

Yemane Zeray, Assistant Professor at Mekele University says since the position has no guarantee to freely decide without the framework of the party, the next Prime Minister (PM) must be a leader who can bring an everlasting solution to the problems and ensure peace and security in all parts of the country.

"In the remaining two and half year's term, the new PM must focus on calming down turbulent situations and clearing political confusions. In order to build the image of the country, the new PM has to pave a ground for ending to live under the state of emergency that may restrict democratic rights," he believes.

Similarly, Tigistu Awolu, Chairperson of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party also agrees the new PM needs to have a sense of Ethiopianism and a capability to build effective democratic institutions. He must be capable enough to pave ways for the democratization process and carry out public burdens.

Yemane also noted that due to some socio-political instability that occurred in the last couple of years, various economic sectors were inconsiderately damaged by some internal forces.

"If this continues any longer, the country may fall into an irreparable situation. Thus, the new PM has to take the responsibility to cure public anger and sustain peace and stability till the next national election."

Although the government is making dialogue with the oppositions since last year, it looks like less active and not as expected. Indeed, the negotiations are helpful to prepare common regulations, and crucial to better widen the political landscape.

"The position definitely requires strong shoulder and commitment to work day and night. The new PM needs to work on originating a new political reform which can move the country one step forward," Yemane stressed.

According to Tigistu, it is critical if the new PM comes with the goal and mission of his appointing party alone.The new PM must be able to establish a foundation for overcoming challenges and standing successful in nation building.

The new PM must be willing to sit down with the opposition and engage in good-faith negotiations on the country's future.

Dr. Tarekegn Adebo, Associate Professor and Senior Advisor for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Addis Ababa University and abroad, says for his part that ensuring good governance, protecting the peace and stability of the country, strengthening social cohesion and resolving conflicts through open dialogues are top priorities for the new Prime Minister.

"Peace that comes from justice, democracy and development is important and fruitful than that gained by force. Democracy which is in progress might not fulfill the whole thing, but it has moved a long journey if compared with the previous regimes."

As most of the scholars agreed, the new PM has to instigate policies and strategies that could mobilize peaceful co-existence, ensure unshakable economic growth and develop the habit of resolving conflicts in peace.

Although the selection is set to the EPRDF council, the country needs a capable leader who can unite the country through democratic reform. It's not about the need for a Prime Minister to be a doctor or a professor, but a Premier who is willing to properly implement the constitution.

And there is much work to be done by the new PM. The opinions of dissidents and opponents need to be respected and brought for discussions. It is also important to take action based on the rule of law in many different areas.

As to them, the economic, political and social issues require due consideration of the next Prime Minister. Listen to the people and create national consensus, build trust between the opposition and the ruling party, promote the unity and the diversity of people in history and culture, create job opportunities for citizens are key assignments for the next prime minister.

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