In so many ways Ethiopia has been African pride and this symbolism was manifested in our Adwa victory, our calendar, alphabets, food, athletes and national carrier wings. Ethiopia is not new to pioneering in various sectors by representing Africa. This week when former health minister and foreign affairs Dr. Tedros Adhanom got elected as the first African to ever lead the WHO, there was much euphoria across the continent than within the nation.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s victory is not just a result of his campaign team effort. Rather, it has been a process starting from defeating colonial powers and realizing the formation of OAU. The symbolism of Ethiopia as a beacon of hope for the rest of Africa during colonial days pays back in the voting day when all African nations showed their support to his candidacy. Apart from that, through Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s victory, we could learn that any Ethiopian can be successful not only in his country but at the helm of organizations such as WHO if people are given the right resources and opportunity to tap into their potential.
Unfortunately, the Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ethiopia Dream is a nightmare in the eyes of young politicians like Yonatan Tesfaye. Just this week the former blue party opposition leader Yonatan Tesfaye has been found guilty and sentenced to serve six years. He was charged with inciting terrorism with the controversial terrorism law following his Facebook post. He was arrested in December 2015 almost the same year Dr. Tedros Adhanom announced his candidacy for WHO. Both in their own ways strive to build a better Ethiopia they have in mind but why their loyalty or membership to certain political party becomes a factor in rewarding them a dream and nightmare in the same week.
With regards to supporting Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s candidacy for WHO, people debated in showcasing the world Ethiopians are one versus Ethiopia is oppressive. If one gets jailed for 6 years for sharing his thoughts on Facebook and one gets elected for 5 years to lead WHO by utilizing the same platform Yonatan used to address the global and local issue then how can we say Ethiopians are one. Even if we compare The “Teddy Afro Ethiopia” and The “Tedros Adhanom Ethiopia” despite their success at global level as Ethiopians, we witness two sides of Ethiopia, two history, two flags also one is not even allowed to be interviewed by his own country’s national TV. But supporters of both, with their own version of Ethiopia label the contradicting version of Ethiopia as their number one enemy.
How many Yonatan’s will serve jail time in the coming six years and how can we confidently assure that we produce the next globally competent Ethiopians’ with all the fear surrounding their way of thinking. How can we complain about irresponsible oppositions when responsible oppositions are kept in jail and the system by default powering the irrationals? In the past few years, the crackdown on bloggers and activists resulted in the crowning of fake profiles and plenty live videos that are preaching the same hate the bloggers and activists were against.
Finally, let us not forget the level of danger the country faced in the past two years with a command post still in effect and tourism taking hit while investors’ confidence is being eroded. All these happened as a result of not paying attention to what young people have to say about their country in a peaceful manner.