The Diaspora,enduring democracy

For long, the Ethiopian Diaspora has had significant influence on the politics at home. Members of the Diaspora have been actively participating in Ethiopian political discourse through activism, providing support to various political groups at home and organizing and leading their own political parties. As the winds of change are blowing in the country, politicians are advising that the Diaspora should advance its constructive role and discharge its huge responsibilities in ensuring durable democracy in Ethiopia.

Most of the time, the Diaspora has been observed opposing the political establishment and/or the political manifesto of the incumbent. In another times, the Diaspora speaks loudly in support of the political measures taken by the government. As in the case of Ethiopian citizens at home, members of the Diaspora have their own stake in influencing the political system in Ethiopia, says Demeke Achiso (PhD) political science and international relations lecturer at Addis Ababa University. “In the past, consciously or unconsciously, the Diaspora has been inclined to listening to and be attracted by the rhetoric of some groups only [irrespective of their ideologies] and this may cause harm on the country. But, this time around, the Diaspora should do things differently to ensure democratization in this country,” he adds. Costantinos Bruhtesfa (PhD), Professor of public policy at Addis Ababa University, on his part says that democracy is the rule of the people and in that sense; the Diaspora can come up with ideas to build rules and institutions for ensuring democracy and governance. But as to him, a significant numbers of the Ethiopian Diaspora are nationals of other countries. “So, I do not think that they will have a vital impact. Any legitimate democracy must arise from the people that are going to be affected by it. It can only happen within the Ethiopian people,” he emphasizes. “But the Diaspora can bring knowledge and experience from other societies. That is the only contribution they can make.” Demeke for his part further adds on this that let alone understanding the present statuesque of the country, some members of the Diaspora have changed their citizenship. As a result, they do not have up-to-date information about today’s' Ethiopia. “In such cases, it is better for them to refraine from taking part in initiatives of political groups with hidden political agenda,” he advises. Read more...

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