Ethiopia: Muffle us not overtly or covertly

January 3, 2019 Africa , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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Alem Hailu G/Kristos



The human mind is replete with diverse ideas, if streamlined and harnessed, which could effectively be utilized to materialize a socioeconomic and political turnaround.


That is why the sagacious and pertinent institutions stress that chances for a vent of expression must not suffer setbacks. They believe people must not be gagged either overtly or covertly.


At this juncture, it is appropriate to quote one saying regarding this issue.


Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such …. of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, …. The abuse dies in a day; the denial slays the life of the people and entombs….” Winston Churchill.


Unfortunate as it may sound, often, tyrants are witnessed opposing freedom of speech so that subjects could not pose challenging and probing questions outgrowing the political outfits tailored by the former.


Despotic leaders become a bit jumpy, anxious of even their own shadows. Always they are fearful that their corrupt practices will be dragged into the light for public ridicule, which could subject them to accountability. Hence, at whatever cost they militate against generators and circulators of ideas, if turned, a public knowledge that could dislodge them from their pedestal of power. Their sole ambition is ever tightening the grip of power. Political pluralism is the last thing they want to hear let alone allow it to bask under a go-ahead.


Worse still, it is not only muffling the voices of citizens that characterizes ragamuffin leaders but also endlessly dinning into the ears of citizens their prosaic and good for nothing policies, whose bitterness citizens have tasted to the full.


As witnessed in Ethiopia for the last two decades, cloaking their repressive measures with different laws such as the anti-terrorist law and anti-corruption law, they were throwing many into prison. For instance, though it is public knowledge that they themselves were terrorists and violators of human rights, they were putting innocent citizens behind bars dubbing them terrorists.


The corrupt were also detaining the innocent with the smokescreen of fighting corruption. Odd and unheard of as it may sound, using a rubber stamp parliament, enacting proclamations overnight and using laws in retrospect, they were detaining those who slam their grotesque views.


Remnants of the corrupt system, seen off to the graveyard recently, take anyone that does not dance to their tune as their arch enemy. They sideline him/her. They prove blind colored to the truth. Barefacedly, they deny facts on the ground. Contentious, they argue black is white. Sanctimonious, projecting the mask of democracy, they conspire to bottle up the quest for freedom of speech.


That is what citizens witnessed in a conference held recently for brainstorming purposes, but that seemed to have gone off track. Clapping nonstop, the arrogant and phony politicians were seen denying a participant the right of expressing his views so as to dispel the doubt of fellow ethnic group members, observably hoodwinked by them that belabor narrow nationalism.


As seen in a parliamentary deliberation recently some even went to the extent of intimidating others. They were heard saying that “Unless you buy our ideas, the country will be under the brink of destruction.” They uttered so unwilling to remind themselves that their ideas do not stand the glare of light.


“Our idea must be taken for granted,” they say. They lament so unwilling to question themselves whether or not their point pales into insignificance if it undergoes a scientific study.


It was by stifling voices tyrants were administrating this country. The parliament was not immune against such treatment. No longer a rubberstamp one, it has developed a fine tooth comb to filter out the chalk from the cheese. Luckily now the majority are speaking their genuine stance to their hearts content.


A country that became a graveyard of investigative journalism is now attracting attention letting its political prisoners, journalists and bloggers free. The bold move of Ethiopia’s government towards freedom of expression is basking under the global limelight. That is why different media outlets are lauding our PM.





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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