3 May 2018

Ethiopia: Incorporating Indigenous Power Transfer With Formal Democratic System


Free, peaceful and democratic power transfer is a cornerstone of democracy. It really represents in the starkest way, the peaceful transfer of power from a high level political leader to the other successor: a system that helps establish a political framework that mitigates the crisis propensity of power transition. Such an approach focuses on power transition in which rising powers approach a declining hegemony that often escalates into conflict or war. Peaceful, free, fair and democratic and voluntary transfer of power such as the one currently observed is unprecedented in our nation's political landscape.

However, this was conducted you guessed it here in Ethiopia for the first time. This is a moment of history that everyone is witnessing and our people are very delighted to see this unprecedented phenomenon during their life time. Further, it is important to note that the current transfer of power from our previous Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to our new Prime Minister Abyi Ahmed has been conducted democratic, transparent.

After a thorough discussion and rigorous and open evaluation, all members cast their votes confidentially in a free, fair, transparent and democratic manner.. Then, the governing party elected Dr. Abiy Ahmed: The new Prime Minister being the Fourth Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

The Governing Party's i.e. EPRDF's decision to bring Dr. Abiy to the front was the right decision considering his leadership and intellectual caliber as well as his educational, professional and ethical background. The public at large has been happy with such a decision. Further, the United States commended Ethiopia's open, free and transparent power transfer as follows "The Us Embassy in Ethiopia has welcomed Ethiopian parliament's conformation of Dr. Abyi Ahmed as the next Prime Minister of Ethiopia The Embassy of the United States is ready to support the Ethiopian Government 's rapid implementation of democratic and economic reforms". Such a phenomenon is so extraordinary that it can be a glaring example of decency, commitment and love for a motherland can also be seen as a progress in democracy and good governance that Africa has often than not been questioned for.

Therefore, this unique experience can be seen as an excellent example and a way forward to enriching transparency, good governance and the overall democratic process not only to Ethiopia or the Region but indeed to the continent of Africa as well.

Our nation and our people should be very proud of such an accomplishment and more importantly, we should also give the due respect and admiration to our previous Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for his selfless commitment and bold initiative in taking such a courageous decision. I believe he deserves the highest honor of the land.

This reminds me of the Canadian experience that rewards people who made unique, respectable and honorable accomplishment and rendered exceptional service to the nation and their people. It is called the Order of Canada. This highest award is given to outstanding people with outstanding performances and/or services of the highest caliber every year. The Canadian Governor General who is the representative of the Queen of England: the queen herself being the Queen of Canada as well awards the honor to those nominated for the award after a rigorous selection. We can learn a lesson or two in that regard and use it here at home as well because such an experience can have a very positive effect and can encourage and motivate the society for yet another noble and honorable service towards the nation and the public at large. Here at home, we were lucky enough to possess a remarkable peaceful and democratic indigenous peaceful power transfer. The Geda system is a very proud culture and tradition of the Oromo People.

This rich Oromo tradition has been going on for generations with the exception of some interruption during the former regimes especially during the Derg regime. However, even then, the Oromia people kept this noble tradition and were able to preserve and pass this enriched and noble tradition to the next generation with dignity and pride.

The Geda System is a true democratic system where the leadership passes to the next in eight years with no exception and with no interruption what so ever. It is also a time of joy and jubilation, thanksgiving day, a day of compassion and kindness and a good wish to all humanity and towards fellow citizens irrespective who they are.

It is also a day to reflect dignity and pride of the Oromo people and to preserve and safeguard this rich culture and tradition as is without missing it to the next generation. The Oromia people knew about the importance of peace, sharing and caring for generations and they passed this noble tradition to the young generation's perusal.

The benefits of this rich Oromia tradition go beyond the normal and traditional belief. It enhances among others the economy of the region, increase the flow of tourist and investment thereby increasing hard currency to the Region and the Country and promotes the Region's and the Nation's good image to the rest of the world.

The Geda system's overall contribution on these and other important endeavors such as the teaching of peace, tolerance, democratic process and caring and sharing is therefore extremely significant contri bution especially towards the young generation.

Therefore, this envied and enriched tradition must continue with no interruption what so ever and must pass from generation to generation with dignity and respect because it benefits the society at large.. Such a remarkable, excellent and rich Oromo culture and tradition has been there for generations before the so called formal electoral processes used elsewhere and it has been a trade mark of a true democratic process and a unique example of a free, fair and democratic electoral power transfer system and has been going on strong to date.

Unfortunately such rich, democratic, transparent indigenous practice has not been incorporated to our formal political system although it has been practiced by the indigenous Oromo culture. It is time therefore that our political system looks back to such a rich indigenous culture such as the Geda system and other similar indigenous cultures practiced elsewhere in the country and learn a lesson or two from them and incorporate them within our formal political electoral and power transfer processes.

That can reinforce our democracy and create cohesiveness and inclusiveness amongst our people. We have to come together and find a common ground; only by recognizing and respecting the important contributions that all of us make to our country's success can we build an inclusive and stronger future for our country.

Peaceful transfer of power is the whole mark of democracy. Peaceful transfer of power overlooks the possibility of ruling the system by consensus rather than by coercion: It is time therefore that such archaic and uncivilized practice: a system that has dominated the political landscape of African countries for generations be gone with the wind once and for all. Ethiopia is on the rise and there is no turning back.

Democratic rights, due process of justice and good governance is well and sound in Ethiopia and is here to stay because that is why the Ethiopian people fought and paid a lot of scarifies for. An excellent example of such a phenomenon is the decision taken by the nation's Prime Minister to voluntarily and without any pressure from any one, group or government to resign from the highest post of the land i.e. from the post of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and from the leadership of his own party. Such a bold, courageous and wise decision is simply unprecedented unheard of and truly historic. It is indeed exemplary not only to the democratic process underway in Ethiopia but also to the whole continent of Africa as well.


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