Birtukan Mideksa: A lady who proved worthy in the acid test of integrity

November 23, 2018 Africa , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

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Alem Hailu G/Kristos



More often than not, wranglings, clashes and bloodshed attend election results in most developing countries.


Ballot boxes were rigged, were stolen, the competition ground was not level, we did not get enough media time to introduce our party’s programs, the media coverage was asymmetrical, we were short of budget given a cold shoulder by National Election Board (NEB), we doubted the veracity of the NEB, whose members were handpicked by the government and which with alacrity saw to the dictates of the latter and also the party in grip of power was using government resources while canvassing – were among the complaints heard.


Intimidation of electors and giving election cards to the underage to widen the fan base were also among sources of bickering. A question mark hung over election investigators which proved careless in closely observing things, our contending party members in states were subject to hassles and detention by the police, slavishly supporting the government in power, also entailed in the post-election cry.


“Though we doubt judicial independence, we shall sue the leading party that won with a landslide victory,”wraps up their clamor for justice that fell on deaf ears.


It is knowing full well the presence of these problems the reformed government of Ethiopia, led by the Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, decided to take a bold step to dispel such doubts. For the helm of NEB he proposed to the parliament a lady, Birtukan Mideksa, who emerged with flying colors in the acid test of integrity. It was almost unanimously (4 opposition and 3 abstentions) she won approval and was sworn in by the Federal Supreme Court President Meaza Ashenafi, one of the competent ladies that came to the political scene in tandem with the political change in the country.


As a judge, for the unflinching stance Birtukan showed for the delivery of justice against the teeth of dictators bordering on despots, her name rings a bell in the minds of Ethiopians. It is to be recalled, she released free a high ranking government official that broke ranks with contemporaries, who went astray, and as a retaliatory measure got accused with fictitious allegations they could not prove before court.


It was with the following words the acquitted, who was once a combatant (Minister of Defence) lauded her saying “I had seen many heroes in the battlefield, but I have never seen a valorous person like you.”


This statement shows that Birtukan, who has unflinching respect for the law, is a person better placed to run the NEB. She also came at the right time to propel the change drive.


After the contested 2005 election she was detained under lame pretexts by the sanctimonious democrats. Yet she neither buckled under their intimidation nor stooped to allurement to their folds like the opportunist politicians. This has won her a thumbs up by most Ethiopians. This also goes a long way in building the confidence of citizens about the change that ensued.


No doubt, given her experience and education, she could handle tasks efficiently backed by competent support staffers that see to other aspects of the task. She could also be hard pressed for time as the next election is fast approaching— a bit more than a year. She has to think of this.


Though some complain she has stayed long abroad, the fact that she acquired deeper and further knowledge conducting research in her field of studies and management helps her to handle the entrusted task efficiently.


Birtukan has expressed interest, willingness and determination to serve her country tirelessly and faithfully. The bottom line is the change underway obligates leaders who have integrity. The reformed government deserves appreciation for scouting such individuals and bringing them to the political limelight.





Alem Hailu G/Kristos

A published poet, novelist, editor, translator of masterpieces, literary critic, playwright and journalist from Ethiopia. M.A holder in literature, Addis Ababa University.

Looking for a traditional publisher of a collection of poems. My novel: ‘Hope from the debris of hopelessness’.

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