Legetafo Administrators Secret Plan on Residents The other rare occasion that brought the Ethiopian spirit to light was the national grief that engulfed the country following the deaths of important figures and national icons such as artists Tilahun Gessese, Afework Tekle and Sibhat Gebre Egziaber and, of course, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. These unfortunate occasions could be counted, to a degree, as landmark occasions for reigniting, consciously or unconsciously, the Ethiopia-ness sentiment. It is worth mentioning that whereas the late Premier was accused of being one of the architects of the divisive ethnic politics in some quarters, ironically his passing triggered a nationwide grief that unified the people across the country, if in grief.
The steady resurgence of the Ethiopian-ness sentiment evident in recent events and circumstances – whether for good or bad – could be, after all, an ideal testimony of the indestructability of the ‘Ethiopian spirit’ lost in the past two decades. And yet, for this renewed spirit to become more meaningful and thriving, it must be further nurtured with true and substantive democracy, justice, freedom and prosperity delivered to all Ethiopian people and societies on fairly and equitable basis at all times
In the wake of the occasion, the government established a special department that deals with the affairs of the Diaspora. Subsequently, the Diaspora Ethiopians were highly encouraged with incentives such as lease free land and tax free imports of vehicles and other heavy machineries to come to their homeland for the celebration of the Ethiopian Millennium. Yet, widely held opinions show that this was contrived by the government in order to come to terms with the allegedly disgruntled Ethiopian Diaspora deemed as the archetypical torch bearer of the inherited Ethiopian nationalist value. In the end it all turned out to be largely a failure.
Moreover, the ruling EPRDF also seized the occasion as a casual moment to relate its unprecedented account of Ethiopian history and its affiliated stance thereby adopted. By acknowledging the over 3000-year Ethiopian history narrative, it declared its ambition of putting Ethiopia back to its glorious historical position–hence the advent of the mantra, “the Ethiopian Renaissance”.
This was followed by unprecedented government engagement in grander national programs and activities, albeit with some serious limitations: the re-building program of the Addis Ababa city, massive investments in national infrastructural development, and the initiation for the construction of the Great Millennium Renaissance Dam, to name a few. Critics decry this move as government’s ploy only to win over the sympathy of the people and buy some time. However, in my view, it also ought to be seen as possibly holding some economic and national symbolic values in the long-term, if not in the short-term. Sadly enough, though, the move falls miserably short in the political arena