Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dr. Abiy’s Support Group, From Agonafer Shiferaw

Dr. Abiy’s Support Group,
From Agonafer Shiferaw

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been thinking of my involvement in the group and what I would like to see through our effort.  In addition, since you have asked for recommendations on what we should propose to Dr. Abiy in the long run, I thought I would place my thoughts in a draft form for your comments and suggestions.

I have a very good feeling about this group.  That is a group of scholarly, well informed and concerned Ethiopians who are capable of doing much more than what we are engaged in thus far.  I thank you for involving me in this process.

One thing that I believe is that there are a lot of support groups that are emerging all over the world in support of Dr. Abiy, but for us to be effective we need to be slightly different in how we think and strategize to find effective solutions. I am confident that with your imaginative capacity that we can come up with more specific ideas.  Please take this as a discussion draft.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.

The recent social change in Ethiopia by Prime Minister Abiy, sometimes referred to as the Lema team, is a testament to the role individuals can play in history. In terms of its impact it represents a fundamental paradigm shift in political thinking and ideology.  As one European scholar observed and noted, it is indeed a titanic shift in policy and leadership in the context of Ethiopian body politics. 

The implications of such development in our country including the concept of political leadership, governance and the trajectory of the narrative of the two leaders, Dr. Abiy and Mr. Lema, by necessity calls upon us all as Ethiopian’s, including the organized opposition, and the resistance forces worldwide to think strategically and show greater maturity, wisdom and the willingness to accept the new leadership of Dr. Abiy and Mr. Lema.

For all practical purposes today, putting aside organizational affiliation and recent history, progressive Ethiopians and political organizations should accept these two political personalities as the leaders of the social revolution and transformation in Ethiopia.

It means specifically that resistant forces, opposition personalities and parties should merge in principle within the political leadership structure of Prime Minister Abiy and Chairman Lema of the Oromo Federal State.  Because of the impending revolutionary and dialectical transformation in Ethiopia. Such strategic and tactical alliance will isolate the enemy of change and will leave them politically and institutionally impotent diminishing their capacity to sabotage the pending social transformation.

By definition, the forces of change and reaction are irreconcilable, and it is imperative that the forces of change, in an organized manner, must prevail as the overwhelmingly dominate factor and catalyst for social change.

If our group, the Global Doctor Abiy support group, has a significant contribution in this process, and are any different than all the emerging support groups including the existing political opposition, both in the diaspora and inside country, we must be in a position to articulate and propose a bold recommendation to Dr. Abiy that would reflect the opinion of the majority of the Ethiopian people and its political direction.

This is a draft proposal.  Your input, insight and knowledge is needed to modify and articulate the proposal going forward. In my opinion this draft would begin to make us different from the rest of the groups showing superior insight and strategic consideration to contribute.

Therefore, I recommend that the Global Dr. Abiy Support Group (GSG) propose the following:

1.    The GSG should take the initiative to call upon all opposition personalities and organized forces to merge, unify and integrate with Dr. Abiy’s progressive leadership structure and political agenda.

2.    The GSG should call for a nationwide constitutional conference to call for a change in the structure of governance and political system that would clearly delineate power, authority, checks and balances; between the executive branch, the judiciary and legislative branches of government.

3.    The GSG should propose that the new constitution recognize and guarantee the individual rights of citizens and promote participatory liberal democracy where leaders are accountable to the electorate and are directly elected to the executive and legislative branches of government.

4.    The GSG should support the scheduled election, but only after the current political, economic and constitutional structural system is changed to address concerns of the influence and the arbitrary advantage of EPRDF and TPLF as has been demonstrated in past elections.

5.    The GSG should reject the idea of a “care taker government” by the opposition and allow Prime Minister Abiy’s government to continue with the process of changing the political system before the next election.

6.    The GSG should acknowledge with the utmost respect the impressive level of Ethiopian political awareness, consciousness and maturity and their amazing capacity to understand and analyze the role of government and politics in their lives and yet their restraint and civility in an overwhelming oppressive environment.

7.    The opposition personalities, political organizations and opposition forces should recognize that the fundamental social and political contradiction of our time is between a small statistically insignificant ethnocentric group and perhaps 99% of the Ethiopian people.  The new paradigm shift in political thinking and ideology will facilitate an efficient process for policy formulation, execution, administrative control and independent legislative initiative.

8.    It is public knowledge that the TPLF retains thousands of armed cadres in major cities such as Addis Abba, Oromo and Amhara regions.  These forces of reaction can at any time create a hostile and combative condition for Dr. Abiy and the current movement for social change.  Therefore, our group should recommend the immediate disarmament of the cadre groups and that security be maintained independent of political party hegemony.

9.    The GSG recommends the creation of an independent commission to investigate the loss of government assets and property through inappropriate means including the outflow of dollars (USD) to foreign countries, non-performing government contracts and development projects and the misuse of budgeted public resources.

10.                       Economic Concepts: Global Ethiopian Diaspora Investment Fund

To Ethiopianize future investments and to avoid foreign financial dominance while recognizing the recent announcement of Dr. Abiy to privatize publicly owned assets GSG should recommend the creation of a Global Ethiopian Diaspora Investment Fund.  It is well documented that these enterprises have been historically profitable with a great market potential for expansion in the future.

Consistent with Dr. Abiy’s announcement of the privatization of public assets such as Ethiopian Airlines, telecommunications, hotels, energy; GSG should propose the creation of a $100 million Ethiopia Diaspora Investment Fund worldwide.  The details of this consideration should be developed and left to professional economist and financial analyst both of Ethiopian origin and American investment professionals to assist us in determining the legal and financial institutional mechanism.

For simplicity sake, we take an arbitrary investment assumption.

We assume that 1,000 Ethiopians worldwide can raise $100,000.00 per person, which translates to $100 million in cash capital. Hypothetically investors raising $100,000 would be part of a Preferred investor group with voting rights and dividend payments.  These assumptions are valid and based on historic Ethiopian foreign remittances which have grown from $1.9 billion (USD) in 2010 to $3 billion (USD) in 2014/2015.

The second alternative investment option would consist of investors investing $10,000.00 in groups of ten to raise $100,000.00.  The overall objective is the ability to raise $100 million.

The third consideration is to leverage the $100 million in liquid capital with the financial assets of the enterprises to be invested to create an additional global financial line of credit.

11.                       Encourage Ethiopians in diaspora to avoid Black market foreign currency exchange and directly exchange through existing banking institutions in Ethiopia to mitigate the problem of foreign currency availability for Ethiopian stability and growth.

12.                       GSG should call for Ethiopian town hall meetings across the United States and Canada to discuss these issues and reach consensus on these or new ideas to be presented to the Prime Minister when he visits the United States. Meetings would happen primarily in the East Coast of the United States (Washington, DC), Los Angeles (Southern California), San Francisco region (Northern California), Seattle Washington (Northwest United States) and Minnesota.

Thank You
Agonafer Shiferaw