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A political space where almost everyone is free to engage is not automatically beneficial to the development of democracy. It encouraged and fostered polarization.


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's (PhD) administration took an action rarely undertaken by any other regime in the country’s history. It suddenly removed the restraints - some legal and others only implied - on political organisation and free speech.


Every individual and group with a political agenda took this opportunity to expound on historical memory, their own understanding of present socio-political circumstances, and the best possible future outcome for the Ethiopian state.




But the opening up of the political space did not mean that everyone would be willing to play by the rules. Moderation has taken a back seat, and the political space has been dominated not necessarily by the most rational and most consistent in their line of arguments but by the loudest political players. A political space where almost everyone is free to engage is not automatically beneficial to the development of democracy. It encouraged and fostered polarization. The wisdom in “toleration makes differences possible; and, differences make toleration necessary” heeded not much among Ethiopia’s elite.



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