Congratulations to Dr Abiy, the Prime Minster of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia!
I must say, your acceptance speech is impressive, you touched on many timely issues during your speech. You outlined the need for inclusion, democracy, rule of law which are the cornerstones for an independent nation. You not only set the tone for the people, and your administration, you called on citizens to fully support you in implementing your agenda that include fighting corruption.
You articulated your mission to take the country to a level that it has never been. Your speech comes from your heart, you displayed your two important sides, your determination to be a dove at times, which can show your humanity and acting like a tiger to fight corruption, and other obstacles that are in your way; when warranted, which is a great quality for a leader of your caliber. You displayed your capacity to grasp the critical issues that Ethiopians have been advancing for the last few years. You assured the Ethiopian people that the best time is yet to come. You appear to be comfortable with yourself and you seem to have the dignity to respect others, I could surmise that you have no place for mediocracy, entitlement, divisive and nepotism.
Your speech also was clear what you stood for, you clearly communicated that your mandate is from 102 million Ethiopians. Such profound statements not only make us proud and happy it motivates us to do more for our country.
You spoke about issues that are in the minds of all Ethiopians and you expressed the support you need to execute your mission, I am sure you will have support from all Ethiopians across the Globe
We all understand that you come at a time when the country is in a serious crisis where swift action is needed, I am hoping that no one could undermine your responsibilities and the urgency of the required quick actions. I am sure you have already outlined your priorities and about to select your cabinets, I suppose you are focusing in appointing the right people for the right job. We are hopeful that your selecting criteria include merit based on rich experience in specific areas and who are committed to bring changes per your agenda. It is clear that your cabinet will be filled with patriots who love their country more than themselves,there is indication that people are willing to support public servants who are qualified, squeaky clean in their past professional or personal life.
You are the Chief Executive Officer of the country and tasked by the people to implement your agenda without any resistance. We clearly understand your mandate, and your vision, it appears Unity is your guiding light for yourself and the citizens of Ethiopia. Ethiopians understand that there is no quick fix for the issues at hand, they appear to be ready to support you all the way provided that you anchor the ship in the directions you outlined in your speech and show us the distance you travel in time.
As you mentioned in your speech “Ethiopians become Ethiopia when they die” nobody could define it better than that, there is nothing that bind every Ethiopians than giving their life the glory of being Ethiopia. It is true that all Ethiopians want to rest in peace in their birth place from where ever they are, Ethiopians possess many qualities, they are patient and magnanimous, they give time for their leaders since they know the magnitude of the enormous challenges that the Prime Minister faces. Magnanimity is the entire mark of all Ethiopians; we focus on the big picture rather than commiserating on misdeeds. We forgive for things that happened in the past and look forward. As you mentioned, it is time for reconciliation and to start building bridges to strengthening our community for a better tomorrow.
It is the desire of the nation to expect the highest ethical conduct and moral compass from their public servants and you will be a role model for the champions who have passion and dedication to support you, serve the country and implement your agenda.
Your goodwill to reach out to all Ethiopians regardless of where they reside is admirable, I am sure they have received it with open arms. Ethiopians who live in other part of the world, (I do not use the word Diaspora, since it is offensive to me), could play a major role in the development of the country. They are patriotic and love their country like all Ethiopians, they can provide significant amount of financial, know how as well as material support. Ethiopians are in all major government institutions, private companies and own business in the countries they live in. The Ethiopians who live abroad not only they will help in development of the country, I am sure they will be happy to participate in economic and political process in addition to bring know how and willing to transfer the knowledge to their fellow citizens in Ethiopia. The capacity of over 3 million Ethiopians who live abroad, could be part of the backbone of Ethiopia in the rebuilding of the nation.
I have seen countries who transformed from a poor nation to a middle income country within less than 20 years. A casing point is the republic of Ireland, which was one of the poorest countries in the early 19th when I visited the country, youth unemployment was the highest in Europe, per capita income was the lowest, and some people considered the state hopeless. Many Irish Americans made a calculated decision to help Ireland to alleviate the youth unemployment problem, they made significant investments in Ireland to help employment, their investment later paid off, they were able to distribute their product to all over Europe taking advantage of the European Union favorable trade law for products that were produced in Ireland, in addition, the government took bold decision in providing incentives to companies who build factories and create jobs. I went back to Ireland 10 years later, the standard of living has improved, per capita income has increased significantly, and finding employees for hire in the country became scarce,the government has to fill the gap by permitting foreign employees from Eastern Europe to work in Ireland. Ireland was able to overcome its problem because of unified mission, focused approach, unparalleled dedication,making a case to the Irish Americans, who are not even first or second generation from Ireland, they were 3rd, 4th, 5th or more Irish Americans who were involved in the development of Ireland. The same with India, Vietnam, China and Korea.
It is time that every Ethiopian participates in the development of the country. It is time to work together, it is time to be honest with ourselves recognize our short comings, aspire to achieve our potentials, demand what is due to us as the same time recognizes our responsibilities as a citizen.
Ethiopia has overcome many challenges in its thousands of years of existence, courage and making decisions with confidence is not new to the Ethiopian people, no matter how isolated the country has been by its enemies, it always have been the winner no matter how difficult the circumstances were. I have confidence that the people of Ethiopia will save the nation from division, confusion and despair. It will not be easy to propel our country to a country of milk and honey, with perseverance, we shall overcome all adversities in due time.
I call for all Ethiopians to support the call of the Prime Minister, it is time for all of us to march together holding hands, climbing the mountain to reach to the top, let us not forget our tradition of coming together when there is a national crisis which has always been our guiding light to move forward. Let us not settle for mediocrity, let us strive for excellence, let us believe in ourselves and determine to do the best we can in whatever we do. Let us rejoice our accomplishments, yet be humble, let us not limit ourselves by comparing our accomplishments to the lower denominator. Let us aspire to be the best, let us dream to transform our country to a land of milk and honey where our children and grandchildren will enjoy. We will be known as prosperous country that will be the bread basket of Africa rather than a land of poverty and starvation. Our country has resources that can be exploited with the right capital, know-how and honest resource management. The Ethiopians who live abroad could be a great resource for this endeavor.
The Ethiopian people understand the complexity of the issues in the country and yet willing to be part of the solution, we should embrace the Prime Minister’s call for citizens to participate fully in determining the future of the country. As the same time, the Ethiopian people will remind the Prime Minister when they see diversion or non-implementation of his agenda outlined in his acceptance speech.
Tesfaye Hailemichael, CPA
Author of Love’s Flight