Sunday, July 31, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Political Appointments On Ethnic And Tribal Line: A Subliminal Meta-Dehumanization
In their scholarly journal article published in the prestigious journal of personality and social psychology, Kteily, N., Hodson. G and Bruneau, E (2016), asserted that dehumanizing an out-group is a pervasive and potent intergroup process that spark-off discrimination and conflict. The researchers therefore defined meta-dehumanization as robotizing or dehumanizing out-group. The purpose of this article is to adumbrate the significance of regional and tribal integration relative to political and national appointments and thereby decreasing a covert meta-dehumanization which is a recipe for conflict, using Ethiopia as a case study.
Just as the Austrian diplomat, Clemens von Metternich (1773-1859), described Italy in the first half of the 19th century as a mere geographical expression due to that country’s dis-unification, the same could be said about the Horn of Africa’s landlocked country of Ethiopia. In his brilliant documentary, “Ethiopia failed state” circulating on youtube.com, the writer, Miller Hansen, described the current government of Ethiopia as ethnocratic, plutocratic and totalitarian. This is because the Tigris people liberation front (TPLF) continue to carryout intimidation, torture, abduction, imprisonment, massacres, ethnic cleansing, assassination and genocide. The press freedom in Ethiopia is now fizzled in a thin air. The arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of journalists have been very rife.
According to the recent World Bank group latest poverty assessment, poverty in Ethiopia fell from 44% in 2000 to 30% in 2011. In spite of economic strides in poverty reduction, about 37 million of Ethiopians continue to wallow in poverty, and from the recent World Bank data, the poorest in Ethiopia have become even poorer in the sense that the high food prices that improves lives of many farmers also make buying of food more challenging for the poorest especially those in the rural areas. Illiteracy is another major reason why Ethiopia wallows in poverty. The government of Ethiopia formed on Tigris ethnic group is heading Ethiopia towards disintegration.
The framers of the 1992 constitution of Ghana envisaged the danger of forming government based on one ethnic group. This partly explains why regional integration and regional balance were captured in the constitution. However, the makers of the constitution forgot about the real danger associated with it and what I call “the tyrant of executive president.” This is because the excessive powers wielded by the executive president could easily sink the idea of regional balance into oblivion. When political appointments are excessively based on ethnic lines like Ethiopia today, the likelihood of corruption, mismanagement, administrative ineptitude is obvious.
Conflicts do not happen by chance. Underneath every conflict in society is a remote factor. In his book: Europe since Napoleon, page 4, David Thomson intimated that revolution may begin, as wars often begin, not because people positively want them. They happen because people want other things that, in a set of circumstances, implicate them in revolution or in War. Leaders must refrain from pursuing politics that could lead into disintegration such meta-dehumanization and ethnocracy.
The former United States Supreme court judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, said that, “If there is any principle of the constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.” As a country we cannot swallow our dangerous cough for the fear of hurting others. Looking at the recent political appointments in all the sensitive positions in Ghana, any objective analyst including NDC stalwarts and aficionados will be surprised and assert: “ebei, Mr. President, the Akan, the Ga-Adangbe and Ewe lives matter.” For example, the governor of the central bank is from the north: Dr. Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku, National Insurance commissioner, Miss Lydia Larriba Bawa, National petroleum authority (NPA), Mr. Moses Asaga all from the north.
Far from doubting the educational qualification of the aforementioned personalities, the concentration of the northern people only could not help the country to develop. They are all highly qualified for the job. However, for the safety of the nation and the welfare of the regional balance and integration, I succinctly suggest to Mr. President to conduct self-introspection on his appointments relative to regional balance and integration. Such self-appraisal will enhance the electoral fortunes of himself as a president and NDC as a party. “The mode by which the inevitable comes to pass is effort” (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr). There are other qualified people from other parts of the country. I respect people of northern Ghana for their hard work and honesty, even so a right thing must be done.
In his book, the history of Ghana, page 8, Roger Gocking, asserted that about 44% of Ghana’s population are Akans, who live primarily in the forest regions of the country. The Akans can be further subdivided into 11subgroup, the largest of which are the Asante, Bono, the Fante, the Akyem, the Akwamu, the Akuapem and the Nzimas. Tribalism, nepotism are all forms of corruption. .” In his book entitled: “The Africans, A triple heritages” page 11, Professor, Ali. A. Mazrui, opined that the ancestors of Africa are angry, for those who believe in the powers of the ancestors, the proof of their anger is obvious. For those who do not believe in ancestors, the proof of their anger is given another name. What are they angry about? Things are not just working in Africa. My own adaptation of Professor Mazrui’s statement is that the people and ancestors of Ghana are angry. Things are not properly working in Ghana and it is imperative we change our changeability. For example, I struggle to catch the drift of Ghana’s economics when it comes to import duties. Why must a country put high taxes on goods they don’t produce such as cars while people travel in a moving coffin from Odorkor to Kwame Nkrumah circle via Kaneshie?
In sum, covert meta-dehumanization inherent and pervasively revealed by political appointments base on tribal line is a recipe for conflict. Just as the Eastern African country of Ethiopia is now poverty-stricken frightened economy as a result of forming government on Trigris ethnic stock, the leaders of Ghana must not shelve the idea of regional, ethnic and religious balance in the composition of government. This will bring peace and development into our beloved country. Fellow countrymen, this article is not motivated by political campaign.
I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing (Socrates). I humbly stand for Corrections.
Nana Yaw Osei (Padigo), PhD Candidate, Psychology
College of Doctoral Studies
Grand Canyon University, Arizona, USA
College of Doctoral Studies
Grand Canyon University, Arizona, USA
Friday, July 15, 2016
On July 7, 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held a historic bilateral meeting in Addis Ababa. Following the leaders summit, Desalegn announced that Ethiopia would support Israel’s bid for observer status at the African Union (AU). Netanyahu also urged Desalegn to pressure Hamas to release Avraham Mengistu, an Israeli-Ethiopian who was captured by the Palestinian terror organization for accidently entering the Gaza Strip in September 2014.
Despite these positive developments, Netanyahu refrained from discussing the recent Ethiopia-Eritrea border clashes. These tensions claimed hundreds of lives last month and remain one of Africa’s most intractable frozen conflicts. Due to its close alliance with Ethiopia and destination status for Eritrean refugees, there are three ways Israel can use its leverage over both countries to further the cause of peace.
First, Ethiopia has relied extensively on Israeli military assistance for decades. This gives Israel the leverage to make further arms shipments to Addis Ababa conditional on Ethiopia defusing border tensions with Eritrea. Israel began providing military support to Ethiopia in the early 1960s as Emperor Haile Selassie was attempting to prevent a military coup. Anti-Zionist rhetoric emanating from the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) movement and ELF collaboration with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) strengthened Israel’s military alliance with Ethiopia.
Cooperation continued even though Ethiopia suspended diplomatic ties with Israel during the 1973 war. Israel played a vital role in assisting Ethiopia during its three-decade long war with Eritrea, and remains one of Ethiopia’s most important defense partners. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have provided the Ethiopian air force with surveillance cameras and trained Ethiopian pilots. While Ethiopia did not win the 1961-1991 War with Eritrea, Israeli military assistance played a vital role in building up Ethiopia’s current defense infrastructure.
In addition to attaching conditions to arms sales, Israel can also offer Ethiopia enhanced counter-terrorism assistance against Al-Shabaab if Addis Ababa tones down hostilities with Eritrea. To prevent a spillover of Islamic extremist violence from Somalia to Ethiopia that would deter foreign investment, Desalegn has participated in extensive negotiations with Somalia on combatting Al-Shabaab. In 2014, Ethiopia sent peacekeepers to Somalia.
Israel has proven its commitment to resisting Al-Shabaab by agreeing to help Kenya seal off its border with Somalia to restrict the flow of terrorism. As Netanyahu has previously expressed openness to forming an East African coalition against Islamic extremism, Israel could share counter-insurgency techniques with Addis Ababa that could bolster Ethiopia’s security for years to come.
Second, close economic cooperation between Ethiopia and Israel could make Ethiopia’s intransigent policymakers receptive to Israeli pressure to resolve the Eritrea conflict. As Ethiopia has been beset with food shortages stemming from the worst drought since the 1983-1985 famine, Israel could urge the Ethiopian government to consider the severe humanitarian consequences of militarization.
Israel has provided food aid to Ethiopia that could save the lives of 5,000 malnourished children and has offered Ethiopia training in irrigation techniques. Promising to escalate that assistance could appeal to the Ethiopian government, as food shortages have fuelled Oromo unrest in Ethiopia that destabilizes Desalegn’s grip on power.
The ongoing Egypt-Ethiopia Nile River water dispute also increases the likelihood of Ethiopian policymakers acquiescing to Israeli demands for peace. Tawfik Okasha, an Egyptian parliamentarian, controversially called for Israeli mediation in the Egypt-Ethiopia water dispute. Many Egyptian politicians have insinuated that Israel has covertly supported Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam.
While offering water to Israel in exchange for mediation has proven to be an unpopular view in the Egyptian parliament, closer Egypt-Israel cooperation under General Sisi’s rule makes Israeli involvement on Egypt’s behalf a plausible scenario. This is an outcome Ethiopia would be keen to avoid. As the symbolic power of Ethiopia triumphing over Egypt on Nile River access far exceeds that of Ethiopia winning skirmishes against Eritrea, Desalegn could be tempted to cool tensions with Asmara to guarantee Israel’s support on the dam dispute.
Third, Israel can convince Eritrea to desist from aggression because it is a major destination for Eritrean refugees fleeing from poverty and President Isaias Afewerki’s highly authoritarian regime. An estimated 34,000 Eritrean asylum seekers live in Israel. This immigration influx has caused considerable social tensions in Israel. It has also posed a challenge for Israeli police officers who do not speak Eritrea’s Tigrayan language.
Eritrean immigration to Israel gives Netanyahu a unique ability to exert leverage over Afewerki’s isolated regime. As Eritrean diaspora communities are often fiercely opposed to the Afewerki regime and reveal human rights violations that deter the international community from providing Eritrea with financial assistance, Eritrea is keen to restrict the outflow of refugees.
Even though Eritrea has publicly taken steps to restrict emigration, Afewerki fears diaspora Eritreans being deported from Israel and returning home with anti-regime sentiments. Eritrea has expelled foreign journalists and according to Reporters without Borders has imposed even stricter state control over the media than North Korea Therefore an influx of Eritreans exposed to foreign media outlets increases the risk of pro-democracy protests.
Current Israeli immigration policy towards Eritreans seeking asylum is restrictive. Many Eritrean illegal immigrants are transported to the Holot detention center deep in the Negev Desert. Once they arrive in Holot, they are faced with the unenviable choice of returning to Eritrea, facing possible incarceration in Israel or being transported to a third country.
Credibly threatening an increase in deportations to Eritrea could convince Afewerki to suspend aggression towards Ethiopia. It could also encourage Afewerki to redistribute scarce resources to improving Eritrea’s dire humanitarian situation. Israel’s naval base presence on Eritrea’s Dahlak Island gives it considerable enforcement capacity should it wish to crack down on Eritrean illegal immigration.
While Netanyahu’s visit to Ethiopia did not address the recently reheated conflict with Eritrea, Israel is uniquely positioned to act as a mediator, and implement an enforceable peace agreement between the two countries. Should Netanyahu make efforts to resolve this seemingly intractable conflict, he would greatly increase Israel’s soft power in Africa and build significantly on the progress generated by his recent four-country trip.
Samuel Ramani is a DPhil candidate in International Relations at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is also a journalist who contributes regularly to the Washington Post, Huffington Post and Diplomat amongst other publications. He can be followed on Facebook at Samuel Ramani and on Twitter at samramani2.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Shootings had been going on day and night in Gondar, the tourist capital of Ethiopia, since around July 8. Dead bodies on the street & mass protests. The Ethiopian government is trying to prevent this information coming out, by blocking social media such as Viber and Facebook.