Propose nothing, oppose everything
Akalu Derbabaw (A.A.U)
"It is a mark of wisdom not to kick away the very step from which we have risen higher. The removal of one step from a staircase brings down the whole of it." Mahatma Gandhi
Many believe in the fact that the existence of opposition political parties in any society is very important for they are expected to be the most effective means of creating checks and accountability in a government system. However, they should be very honest in order to play their role effectively. Their criticisms against the incumbent have to be constructive and devoid of prejudices as well as ill intentions. Their criticism should also be accompanied by well prepared and sound alternative policies and strategies which they believe are best for the nation.
Opposition political parties have also the obligation to involve in mobilizing the general public to realizing government’s development endeavors by creating conducive environment for national consensus, unity and cooperation.
According to Alban S. K. Bagbin, who was leader of the official opposition in the parliament of Ghana, the opposition has the responsibility to be fair in the criticism of government policies… It should not also engage in activities that could undermine the harmony and stability of the state.
As this African politician said it clearly the duty of opposition is not just opposing the incumbent. We expect the oppositions to provide their helping hands to the government in each and every of its activities in addition to constructive criticisms aimed at improving and safeguarding the public’s interest.
Another study paper published by the International Journal of Human and Social Sciences says political parties in democracies are necessary to formulate government policies and programs, to gather and implement demands from a society; and to supervise and check a government.
According to this paper political parties promote vital competition on policy and ideological alternatives, and play essential roles in a representative democracy. They also give channels for citizen’s participation in government decision-making processes and are significant conduits and interpreters of information about a government.
In this regard Ethiopia is not lucky. In my observation our opposition political parties are not playing the aforementioned roles. They are instead engaged in a zero sum game politics by immersing themselves in misleading propaganda only to arrive at their political power lust. Ethiopian opposition parties are overwhelmed in damaging and destructive criticism.
Despite, Ethiopia’s transformation, in terms of economic growth and democratic progress, has been acclaimed by the whole world; our opposition political parties are being intentionally undermining this fact. I remember no time at which our opposition parties uttering positive and supportive words whenever the government planned commenced or accomplished any development ventures.
Instead they launch a very massive propaganda against these very important endeavors. They have tried and have been trying to tarnish every positive effort, which is not particularly expected from opposition parties who supposedly battle for the betterment of the nation.
Anyone who attempts to scrutinize the comments or remarks made by the officials of our opposition political parties, particularly concerning the nation’s development undertakings, it would be very clear to witness how awkward and irresponsible they are. The main political agenda in the arena of Ethiopian opposition parties is that instigating anger and frustration among citizens.
Every development schemes, which aimed at eradicating the country’s many century long rooted poverty are responded negatively by our oppositions.
Ethiopia is known for its water resources. Now the country has started to utilize this resource to develop hydropower and large scale irrigation schemes. While all citizens are very enthusiastic to see the completion and become beneficiary of these projects, the so called oppositions have been engaged in discouragement.
While the general public is being vowed to give its unreserved support for the realization of the recently launched Renaissance Dam, the unfounded criticisms and lament that is being made by our opposition political parties about the project has not yet stopped.
According to these opposition groups, the intention of the Renaissance Dam is not development, but to divert the public’s attention from a sort of riot that had taken place in the Arab and the Middle East countries. In any honest mind’s view, this is really shameful and ignorant political analysis which arrogantly disregards the public’s interest.
When the government commenced large commercial farming programs, in order to mainly curb the nation’s food insufficiency and ensure food security, the oppositions were not happy though they knew it very well that it is very imperative for sustainable development.
A case in point in this regard is that a childish comment made by Professor Beyene Petros, one of our opposition officials, in a televised documentary program about rice farming investment in Ethiopia. While rice is one of the best foods in terms of its nutrition and the world’s number one staple food, he portrayed it as the most irrelevant crop to Ethiopians.
As Beyene is a professor of biology, I don’t think he is unaware of the fact that the production of rice would be very helpful to ensuring food security in the country. But he does such things deliberately. The professor and his cronies think that by just disregarding all positive undertakings of the government and create confusion among the citizens; they would win the public’s heart. This is really a very shallow and immature political tactic that may endanger the overall political system of the country.
Since the very purpose of their establishment is to protecting and strengthening citizens aspiration for peace and development, our opposition parties should not have been found in such destructive arena.
The people of this country had gone through unimaginably harsh experiences. However, now Ethiopians have started the march to development. And this is being witnessed by the entire world. Ethiopians are also very optimist about their future. But our opposition politicians are indulged in demolishing all these strong foundation and public’s aspirations. They are being vigorously propagating against the positive achievements.
I am not saying that the government is free of any kind of limitations. Thus I strongly believe that our government should be criticized for things it may have done wrongly. This is what democracy is all about.
However our opposition parties instead of presenting constructive criticisms about the various development programs and policies, they just reject each and every effort and even try to create confusion among the public. They don’t appreciate anything done by the government. And also when they criticize any development plan, they don’t provide alternatives which they believe are best.
The most disturbing act in which our opposition politicians are being engulfed in for a long time is that their attempt to split the public’s unity and sense of cooperation by their phony propaganda. And this is against a democratic system and the role of opposition political parties.
According to a paper published by the International Journal of Human and Social Sciences, opposition and ruling parties are expected to entertain the values of tolerance, cooperation and compromise… opposition parties are “government-in-the waiting” or they are “alternative government. Therefore, the notion of a loyal opposition is central to any democracy”
But Ethiopian oppositions opted absolutely the reverse. They seem unaware of the reality that the political and economic foundations being built by the existing government would facilitate and expedite such efforts that may carry on by the subsequent regimes.
Mahatma Gandhi once said when he criticizes extremist political groups of his time in India that, "It is a mark of wisdom not to kick away the very step from which we have risen higher. The removal of one step from a staircase brings down the whole of it."
This criticism made by the world’s great man is very suitable to our opposition politicians for they are entertaining a zero sum game politics which is really dangerous to my country.
Anyone, who sees the existing situation of my country, must have asked one question about the position of our opposition politicians regarding the country’s remarkable economic achievements and its huge future plans. In my understanding and as the facts undoubtedly explains from the very behavior of our oppositions, the answer is very obvious. Their intention is only power. They don’t care about the public’s well being and the consequences of their ill acts.
Despite the fact that there are encouraging results, I expect much more hard work from the government to expand the development efforts so as to bring about a sustainable economic environment. But the oppositions should have acknowledged the positive achievements so far made if their real objective is the public’s well being.
If our opposition political parties are established to really promote democracy and development, and their future anticipation is for government power for the betterment of the nation, they should behave accordingly. But as to me, sadly no Ethiopian opposition party has come up with alternative proposals that may replace or put pressure for amendment in the existing policies and programs. They are well skilled only in condemning, rebuffing and insulting each and every effort.
This vividly show us how most of our so called opposition politicians don’t deserve to be politicians at all. They don’t have any idea about democracy and politics. They propose nothing but oppose everything. Ethiopians have already given them their back for they have found out their true nature, capability and ill intentions. Otherwise, we could not have achieved what we have been enjoying now.
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