Ethiopia in the Wake of Political Reforms (Paperback)
(This book cannot be returned.)
Ethiopia is in the midst of unprecedented and sweeping reforms taking place at lightning speed. Close observers of the reform process are deeply divided. Some are excited, inspired and energized; others are skeptical, despondent and even scared. A glance merely at the headlines on mainstream and social media in the past couple of years is suggestive of how polarized the political discourse in and about the country has become, often painting the situation in highly contrasting colours: the country is either ascending to the heights of a free and democratic republic or descending to the depths of autocracy; launching itself on a new path of sustained prosperity or on a downward spiral to ever-deepening poverty; a thriving multiethnic federation in which its citizens live together in peace and harmony, or a ticking time bomb with the threat of disintegration along ethnic lines hovering up in its horizons; and a force for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and beyond or a country divided from within and facing the imminent threat of civil war that can easily spiral onto the rest of the sub-region to threaten international peace and security.
But, one thing is clear beyond doubt - everybody agrees that, for better or for worse, Ethiopia is at a historic turning point. Following the political transition in April 2018, the current administration launched all-encompassing reforms at breakneck speed and set in motion a transformation of the political, social and economic fabric of the state along with its relations with the rest of the world. These changes are, rightly, often described as unprecedented in the long and turbulent history of the country. In a remarkable feat of political management, the 2018 transition brought a new leadership to office largely -- if not entirely - through a non-violent internal political process that evokes the image of an egg opening from within to give birth to a new form of life. Also unprecedented is that the new leadership, instead of proclaiming a radical revolutionary agenda that repudiates and rejects everything from the past and starting with a clean slate, adopted a vision of the future that integrates, and builds on, its positive accomplishments.
Where this change leads, only time will tell; but, there is little doubt that that destination is in the hands of the Ethiopian people, that they are the masters of their own destiny. Ethiopia in the Wake of Political Reforms is about making a modest contribution to that goal; it is about interrogating, understanding, conceptualizing and explaining the core components of the reform process systematically, independently, and rigorously. To that end, the book brings together contributions from a multi-disciplinary team of over twenty scholars and practitioners with acknowledged expertise in the areas of political and economic reform, federalism and nation building, as well as foreign and security policy. The resulting analysis contained in the book, organized in four parts and twenty chapters, is rich, insightful, challenging, and refreshing.
One shared theme appears to emerge from all parts and chapters of the book - that, while the reforms unleashed in April 2018 have promised a new chapter in Ethiopia's centuries-old efforts to lay down the foundations for democratic peace and prosperity based on equality and rule of law, Ethiopia's history teaches us that success cannot be taken for granted even now, once again calling for continued effort and vigilance to ensure promises are honoured, citizens recognized and respected, and office holders held accountable before the law.