By Sisay Sahlu
ADDIS ABEBA – Political experts on Monday said the government should continue to hear what scholars have to say in the democratizing process of Ethiopia.
Experts drawn from Hawassa and Addis Abeba universities held a discussion on how to build and consolidate democracy for the development and prosperity of the country on Wednesday.
Abebe Ayanite (Ph.D.), a researcher at Addis Abeba University, said the government is doing little to address the tangible security breaches observed in parts of the country.
Such continued experiences could trim the public’s trust in the government, said Abebe, who works at the Ethiopian foreign relations and strategic studies institute.
Abebe stressed the need to engage with sectorial professionals on how to respond public’s demands effectively and ease tensions.
“Government can easily draw effective policies through the discussions with scholars… and find more pragmatic solutions for security challenges that the country is facing,” Abebe added.
Most participants also called members of the ruling coalition to work on their differences for the sake of national interest, while advising leaders of the coalition to tolerate constructive criticisms.
“Government officials fearing elites’ criticism will not take them anywhere,” said Samuel Tefera (Ph.D.), assistant professor at the Center for African and Asian studies.
Extreme opinions can’t win in an open discussion, said Samuel.
He advised them to look at it as “privilege” and they could “listen and filter better ideas through discussion with professionals”.
The discussion organized by the Indonesia embassy was held on Wednesday in Addis Abeba. The embassy invited participants from Indonesia, who said homegrown democracy is only achieved through free discussions.
Such discussion should involve every concerned figure residing in the country and most importantly sectorial elites, said Ketut Putra Erawn, executive director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy.
“Solid principles inspired leadership and activism are conditions for sector-based success,” Erawn said.