By Zekarias Zeray
As it is common for all nations in the world to have a special national day to commemorate, surely, Ethiopia has May 28 (locally known as Ginebot 20). Because, it was the day that has brought about democracy, equality of religion, equality and fair economic benefit for various Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia who had been deprived of all aspects of human and democratic rights. The day also brought the dictatorial communist military regime – which aggravated ignorance, repression and poverty – to an end. The 17 year, bitter armed struggle claimed 60 thousands lives and resulted in hundred thousands physical damage. The armed struggle initiated by a handful of university students aimed to topple the military regime and introduce all aspects of democratic, economic and social developments which the people of Ethiopia had been aspiring for long.
Ethiopians had been waging various forms of revolution and resistance against the monarchical and dictatorial regimes that were exploiting, discriminating and impoverishing the country. However, none were victorious as they were not organized with strong tactical strategies. It was only made possible under the leadership of EPRDF which comprised intellectual and committed youngsters and eventually ended the military junta reign.
The struggle commenced on February 19, by effectively mobilizing considerable number of Ethiopians mainly peasants – the major victims of previous regimes and managed to ending centuries of agonies.
Then after, the EPRDF leadership, which won both the resistance and electorate legitimate has begun to introducing democratic, economic and viable social institutions which fairly responded to the age long questions of all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. It introduced a widely accepted constitution along its federal system which gave unlimited right to various ethnic groups to the extent to the right of secession. Thanks to Ginebot 20 and our martyrs, the various ethnic groups are entitled to administer their own region, promote their language, culture and freely work and eradicate the acute poverty they had been facing.
Ginebot 20 made all Ethiopians equal and equally beneficiary from the country’s development and privileges. Accordingly, the country is enjoying robust economic development and peaceful coexistence of its citizens. All Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia are united under one umbrella willingly and have been registering remarkable all-rounded development achievements which earned international commentary.
Unlike the past, Ethiopia is now regarded internationally as among the few fastest and stable growing economies which at the same time have been deepening their democratic cultures. It is not a coincidence that Ethiopia has been hugely contributing irreplaceable role in stabilizing Africa as well as in trying to reverse the impacts of climate change on the continent. The secret behind is that its citizens are united willingly and are committed to see a developed and responsible country.
The commitment of EPRDF’s leadership to respond to the questions of Ethiopians fairly and democratically has made Ethiopia internally stable in the most volatile region – the Horn of Africa. Known as land of poverty in the past, today Ethiopia has heralded the world with amazing fast pro-poor economic development. It has already constructed multi-million dollar hydro-electric power dams by itself. Striving to see a better Ethiopia, the government has begun financing huge economic developments which are practically lifting millions of Ethiopians out of acute poverty. The combined effect enabled the country to be among few countries that have been realizing the UN millennium goals.
The multi-billion dollar sugar development projects and the Renaissance Dam are among the many grand development initiatives which amazed the world. Fully financed by Ethiopia, the Renaissance Dam being built on the Nile River worth of four billion dollars is the biggest hydro power plant in Africa. This dam is expected to generate 6000 Mega Watt electric power and could meet the national power demand. In addition, it is also expected to enable the country to export electricity to neighbouring countries. This is in line with the dream of Ethiopia to integrate the volatile region economically so that the region can enjoy peace and development.
The peacekeeping roles Ethiopia has been playing in Somalia, South Sudan, the Sudan, Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi, etc. is the result of Ginebot 20. In this regard, Ginebot 20 has brought remarkable, all rounded changes at home, in the African continent and partly to the world.
Internally, Ethiopia has been committed to eradicating poverty, – which was labelled a national disgrace – with all means. The fast economic growth averagely registered at 10.5 per cent for the last 12 years has been able to lift millions of farmers and town residents out of acute poverty. Poverty in Ethiopia is reduced by 26 per cent from 51 per cent. The modern irrigation schemes practised throughout the country has transformed small holder farmers from food insecurity to producing exportable cash crops. The massive activities invested in the agricultural sector have in turn made Ethiopia ensure food security.
The strenuous works invested in the education sector have also enabled almost all school aged Ethiopian children attend education. More than 32 universities, hundreds of colleges and hundreds of thousands of high schools and primary schools (excluding private schools) have been built and significantly improved access to education to all citizens regard less of their economic status. As a result, more than 100, 000 students have been graduated from universities annually.
Similarly, the country has intensively poured billions of dollars in building health centres, hospitals both in rural and urban areas besides training health officers, midwives and medical doctors. This has also significantly improved health coverage in the country. Obviously, maternal and child mortality have been reduced significantly in the country from time to time. As a result, the country has earned the praises of the international community who consider the country’s experience exemplary. Ethiopia is also one of the few countries which have been achieving the Millennium Goals.
Through forging appropriate development policies and implementing them wisely, millions of job opportunities have been created every year. Generally speaking, Ginebot 20 has opened the new chapter in the Ethiopian history where all Ethiopians equally equipped with brighter future.
Therefore maintaining and deepening the fruits of Ginebot 20 is the responsibility of each Ethiopians so that the country achieves its goal of becoming a middle income country within decade.