HornOfAfricaObserver- Somali government must remain vigilant of the changes taking place in Ethiopia. The Oromo student protest against a government proposed Addis Ababa master plan has now spread in all over the Oromo region. Under the master plan, the government wants to evict Oromo farmers in order to expand the capital city. The Oromo who make up the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and have been marginalized by successive Ethiopian governments view the master plan as a prelude to take their land away without any due process of law. As a result of this illegal take over, the Oromo students have begun to peacefully protest in their university dormitories. The Ethiopian government who does not tolerate any opposition has unleashed their forces against students, killing over two hundred and placing thousands in jail. The Oromo leadership affiliated with the government and those who are in the opposition camp have both condemned the killings of their innocent students. Nevertheless, the students have vowed to continue their protest until the government abandons their plan. The students have the backing of their people in the Oromia region who have joined in the protest too. The latest reports indicate that some of the roads leading to Oromia have been closed by the protestors. The Oromo regional police have also started to show their reluctance to harm their own people. The government has brought federal police forces from other regions to safeguard their interest. There is no doubt that the situation can get out of hand momentary if the situation does not change.

Unlike Somalia, Ethiopia is multi ethnic empire that was brought together by force. Ethiopia’s history has a significant bearing on Ethiopia’s future. The issue of who belongs where is something that has never been addressed. If not addressed now, the ethnic strife that exists in Ethiopia could have a potential devastation for the country. Ethiopia’s unity is safeguarded by the military with force and at this rate, cannot be maintained by force only to keep the country together. The future of this country depends on how Ethiopia addresses its contested history. Ethiopia needs to open up a genuine reconciliation process that is based on dialogue. It should seek retribution for any historical misgivings that exist today within its diverse ethnic groups that make up Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a population of 88 million that consists of more than eighty ethnic groups. Almost 43 percent of the population is below age 15. According to USAID, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest country in the world, with one in four Ethiopians are living on less than $1 a day. According to Human Development Index (HDI) it is at the very bottom. Ethiopia is listed in the top 10 countries for the worst human development index worldwide. Five million or 16% of all children in Ethiopia are orphans. One in every 13 children dies before his/her first birthday. One in 14 women will die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. More than 1/3 of children under age 5 are malnourished. In rural areas, less than 1 in 3 families have access to a clean water source. This is what foreign visitors to Addis Ababa will not see. The transformation taking place in Addis Ababa, cannot hide the fact that only a genuine reconciliation can safeguard Ethiopia’s future.

image                                Culture and Political Psychology

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