Monday, April 22, 2013

Bridging the Gaps of Misunderstanding Among the Gambellan Community

I don’t know why the fuzz about a Nuer man in the leadership. Mr Gatluak ascension to power is under fire by tiny disgruntled Ayuaks, in the Diasporas, and at home in Ethiopia.  To tell you the truth I do not understand why the protest, why the worry? I don’t get it, no I don’t. Last week Gatluak was chosen for the leadership of Gambella by all regional parliamentarians. According, the selection, election was done conducted in full view of all the members assembled in the assembly that day. If some family members of the disgruntled were there during the preceding some I believe could have casted their vote in favor of Gatluak or in disapproval of Mr. Gatluak. And in my view the protesting, the dissension is a normal. It is the working of parliamentary democracy.

What we have in Gambella is not a process presidential democracy like we have here in the United States where the winner takes all, with opposition still with enough power, provided to them by the constitution to interfere in the executive decisions making. That’s why we have a messy working congress in the US with some congressional delegates, becoming road blocks, dragging, the congress, opposing all important legislation's they don’t like, stopping them from reaching the congressional floor.  No in parliamentary democracy one wouldn’t do that kind of business, it is done deal; in parliamentary democracy the decision lies with executive. It’s a smooth working environment; it is good for development, especially it is a good system for a developing world, that’s why many in the developing preferred parliamentary democracy, than the presidential democracy.

   According, to the information we have received so far, Ato Gatluak name was the last name to have been mentioned, after all the names was read, failed secure the winning votes in the parliament,. Hence Mr. Gatluak emerged as winners of the votes casted by the parliamentarians in the in the assembly; therefore, he was declared the Governor of the state. As of today he is the governor of Gambella entrusted with the authority to run the state. Some of us might have not agreed with this news, that’s fine, normal. But what’s abnormal is if the grumbling, murmuring continued making it difficult for the functioning democratization to move forward in full gears.
So why the fuzz about Gatluakk? isn’t too late to be protesting, and to be boycotting? Look Mr. Gatluak has already been declared a leader; he must be respect from now on. We shouldn’t prejudge him of his ethnicity; the general public must know that.  It is not Anyuawa downfall as has been speculated. No it is not. Just wipe your tears, eat food, drink, enjoy because it is not the end of Anyuawa. The Anyuawa as community is still intact, working, surviving, reviving.

What happened is historical phenomenon, will continue like that without interruptions. Some must view this historical making the wrong way, it is okay. We could learn more from the federalism project.  What we need now is cope, adapt to the prevailing wind of change. We have to conquer the fear that lies within us of others. Because it is counterproductive, it wouldn’t take us anywhere.

You see,, let me give you a brief lesson of history from the far east, it may be, china, for Chinese leaders for many centuries have fear of outsiders, they called them the “barbarian” verses them the “civilized” China, they sanctioned their people from getting contact with outside world, China was locked, from outside world for many many centuries.  

Hitherto China was a sea fairing nation had traded with other nations around, afar, imported goods from outside world in an exchange they had also exported their goods to outside nations. Its economy was booming, prospering, its people living standard was at its best, compare to nothing around China.  But all these, came to a halt  when different successive Chinese emperors ordered their nation to have no contact with outside. One effect from the draconian orders was the halt to boat buildings, followed by China becoming a lame duck, freezing China to death with no progress coming in or going out. By the time the giant country woke up, Japan a neighboring country has reached the industrialization age, it was late for China to compete.
You see if you read history, you will find out that Chinese people were the first people to have had contact with outside world, not the men from Europe as we were told to be. But that’s another topic, let me go back to China, after the death of Cheng the unifier of China, the new successors to his throne did their best to open up a little to the world but without success, until the revolution of Mao Zedong, which bought normal relation with the outside world, improved the lots of Chinese people. After Mao’s’ death, a man name Deng Xiaoping open his country to America, which they had feared the most, saying “it doesn’t matter whether the cat is white or black as long as it catches mice”.

  You see where I am coming from, what I am conveying here using other as examples, it is doesn’t matter whether it is Nuer or Anyuwaa, Megengir, Opuo, an highlander, they all are Gambella people.  

One thing we keep forgetting is that to live together as community of Gambella in peace, and in harmony one’s group rights, must not override others groups rights, if one group violates other people rights, one’s group right is going to be in jeopardy. It is simply understood, here in America the idiom goes “If you scratch my back, I scratch your back, it true in other societies too.
In his treaty the leviathan, Thomas Hobbes argued that the sovereign who rule a primordial society derives his legitimacy from unwritten social contract by which individual gives up his natural liberty to do as he pleases in order to secure his own rights to life which would otherwise be threatened by “wars of everyman against everyman”, he was talking about the pre-modern primitive societies. In our case today we have written laws protecting individual rights, also shouldering individuals entrusted for public offices with responsibility, and accountability. So it is not free ride, leaders have some constraints which prevents them from doing as they pleases. The game you know, one shouldn’t mix pleasure with public duty.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Democratic Election: Democratic elections where-ever is taking place, are messier than you think it should be, but on the other hand democracy, democratic elections is a better process of empowerments, of public figures eyeing for leadership in the public sectors. The game if setup well, it allows people to have alternative choices of their own choosing. There is no clear cut in the process, making it hard on many occasions for contenders to give up, withdraw their names before they go along to the finished line. Sometimes the defeat, the embarrassment people got from the democratic electoral results, like bitter pills are hard to swallow, most of times cumbersome to bear.  But if one is defeated, one must accept the result of the election; concede honorably not because one agrees to but because one has higher ideal, lofty goals about his own society.

The goal of the politicians must be to raise above narrow politics of division, parochial exercising of politics which excludes everyone else except one’s own tribe, villages.  Because such a messy politics would not take us anywhere, if people are not very careful, it could spell chaos, draw us toward ethnic quagmire, of which is followed by social stagnation, and arrested developments. Mind you the rest of the Ethiopians provinces, in 20 yrs. of this regime takeover have been leaping forward in realm of developments: be it in education, infrastructure building or economic empowerment, industrial construction, road building, etc… all have registered very remarkable, irreversible results for them.

The gap between us and the highlanders as we called them in Gambella in developments is the north- south poles in measure. So what happened? Why are we lacking behind? Well briefly Gambella has been in what political scientists called perpetual violence, making the tiny state like ours with size Mankato County’s population ungovernable and uncontrollable for a while. And even now the fire is not out completely there are many vicissitudes of logs in my views with fire still hidden in the wet bushes of savanna; no one for sure knows when they will catch the dry grass reignited it into fire again.  But one thing is certain we don’t want war, and war has not been good to our people, it has dragged our people down, made us the laughing stock. There is nothing to gain from war except the loss of lives of loves ones. We must choose the path of progress alleviate our people from age old suffering they are in now.

We must devote our times to learning, training ourselves for best skills we could apply tomorrow in rebuilding our society. Leave politics to those who are the wizard of politics, leave health institutions to those who are health expertise, education to educators, leave policing to those who police the crimes etc...Etc... Lastly respect for all individual in their own fields, if we do that we build a harmonious society with peace in minds.     


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