Sep 10 , 2021
By Eden Sahle ( Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at email@example.com. )
A few months ago, I met a veteran daily labourer, Ambachew, who carried out renovation for our house. A father of two daughters in his mid-forties, he is a hard worker and friendly. As we got close, we enjoyed listening to his incredible stories and the mistakes, misfortunes, and future life plans he was happy to share. But things have not been going well for him lately.
Last week, he came home to tell us he will be going back to his hometown. We were sad to see him go, and even sadder that he would have to do as such without the 1.7 million Br he inherited.
Following in his father’s footsteps, he had saved his hard-earned money along with his inheritance with a man he described as a “wealthy big man with his own restaurant in Addis Abeba.” One of the millions unbanked in Ethiopia, he found the banking system too complex for his liking.
For many years, Ambachew believed his money was in safe hands with the man, sending him his savings without asking any questions. He had hoped that when he had saved enough money, he would go back home, build a house, and expand the family farm. The only problem was that, when Ambachew finally decided it was time to join his family, the restaurant owner was nowhere to be found. His phone was switched off, the restaurant closed, and no one knew where he had left with the savings.
It is hard to blame Ambachew for this. He had done due diligence on the restaurant owner before giving him his money to save it on his behalf. They both came from the same hometown and have long known each other – in most cases, the community substitutes for the state in rural areas. Ambachew came from a family that saved money in informal ways. The only difference is that Ambachew did not get his money back.
The family tradition Ambachew kept led him to heartbreak and sent him home empty-handed.
“How can a person break a promise like this and deny a word given in guarantee?” he asked.
I told him my experience of losing a quarter of the amount of money he lost from a person who disappeared with a project payment after I had delivered work. We both got scammed by people we knew and trusted due to their older age and status in society.
The injustice of what happened to Ambachew and I matters because it reveals the damaging behaviour that cascades deeper into society. Fraud of any kind is considered a smart and simple way of enriching oneself. Take loans. We all know people who borrow cash promising to return it soon. But years pass by and our money is nowhere to be seen. Worse still, we have lost their friendship as they want to hide from us.
Morality and ethics is a social thing. If we think everyone hides taxes, we are more likely to do as such ourselves. On the other hand, if we think everyone is paying taxes diligently, we are more likely to pay what we owe. The same applies when many do good for others – we tend to do the same.
Whoever does it, wrongdoing should not be justified. Abdicating responsibility and looking the other way is never right. Legal restrictions can only do so much. Any effort to reduce misconduct and criminal behaviour needs to be complemented by bottom-up efforts. It lies in what we as individuals do daily in our interactions with others.
Our actions are profoundly influenced by how we are raised, the people we are exposed to, and the things we are taught. Everything we do is somehow embedded in a complex moral ecology made up of family and society on the one hand and the cultural and economic makeup of the country on the other.
The sense of common purpose and public spirit is crucial for aligning with the Golden Rule, the principle of treating others as one would like to be treated. This is absent from our society today. A hurtful mentality has invaded every sphere of our lives, undermining trust among people. This lack of care and concern for others hurts Ambachew and society.
PUBLISHED ON Sep 10,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1115]
Photo Gallery | 64368 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 56226 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 51032 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 50641 Views | Sep 01,2021
Commentaries | Jan 28,2023
Life Matters | Jan 28,2023
My Opinion | Jan 28,2023
Sunday with Eden | Jan 28,2023
Agenda | Jan 28,2023
Editorial | Jan 28,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Despite favourable indices, it is too soon to tell whether inflation has been tamed. Nonetheless, two clear lessons have emerged from the re...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Jan 28 , 2023
It is not common to see an appointment for a senior federal government office stir de...
Jan 21 , 2023
Eyob Tekalign, state minister for Finance, took to social media platforms last week t...
Jan 14 , 2023
The longing for normalcy and a semblance of individual and collective security in Eth...
Jan 7 , 2023
The hallmark of Ethiopia's contemporary leaders could be a fascination with grandeur...
I spotted this woman who was standing by herself at a"small" wedding ceremony I had a...
Jan 28 , 2023
In what has become common in the past four years, a new round of nominations was put before Parliament last week. These nominations by the P...
Jan 28 , 2023 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
Aklilu Wubet of Wegagen Bank and his executives had a lot to celebrate when they met rather anxious share...
The Oromia Public Enterprise is edging closer to bagging Ayka Addis Textile Factory for 1.82 billion Br....
Jan 28 , 2023 . By EMMANUEL JORGE
Last week saw an uncharacteristically polemical moment after parliamentarians questioned three nominees o...
Or see contact page