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What We want to See in Politicians

January 25 , 2020
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 )

We are living through a never-ending array of political and social crises. There is everything from polarisation to grievances, resentments and self-serving politics.

These problems appear to have common roots in the deepening societal and political polarisation. Instead of addressing our challenges, politicians choose to point fingers and blame each other. No one takes responsibility. We are finding it impossible to put together thinking minds and working hands to build a better country.

The situation in Ethiopia at a national level begs solutions. A nation deprived of the essentials is finding it hard to make freedom and diversity of ideas work, two things indispensable for the progress of the country and its people. Despite promises, respect for human life, social order, solidarity and independent institutions are still a long way off.

Although the election is around the corner, politicians are not bringing to the table proactive ideas that can lead to a progressive society. As a first-time voter who is eager to witness fair and free elections, the reluctance of parties to put forward a policy programme and an action plan is frustrating.

It does not seem that politicians have given enough thought to just what that loss of public confidence entails and why it is happening. Those in office and those political parties taking part in the upcoming election have a responsibility and an important task to clarify their vision for the country. Otherwise, it will be near impossible for the public to make informed decisions.

The public can trust political parties only when they give value to the challenges of citizens, articulate them properly and present strategies on how they can be addressed.

But when political parties fail to live up to the expectations we have of them, when we are persuaded of their dereliction of duty, we will begin losing faith in them, if we have not already.

They should use their voices to provide policy alternatives, condemn injustice and show their support for the rule of law and democracy. They should show us how they plan to address all of our problems instead of endlessly complaining and playing to our prejudices.

No doubt, being a politician in a hostile system is never easy, and running for office in a debilitated civic and political system is a nightmare. There is a crisis at every angle. But those engaged in it must accept this fact and persist to overcome it to address Ethiopia’s poverty and lack of justice.

The public is tired of angry politicians and political agendas that do more harm than good instead of alleviating the social and economic crisis we confront on a daily basis.

We need parties with a vision, courage, integrity, humility, professionalism and focus. We even want them to work together with other political parties for the benefit of Ethiopia.

We want to choose between parties that we are persuaded can live up to their promises and are responsible. We do not want to choose between which parties are the least obnoxious. We want to see from them vital leadership qualities with matured attitudes and sober views. We need them to take responsibility for themselves rather than point fingers at everyone but themselves.

Ethiopia deserves politicians who are determined to inform the public about the truth. Politicians ought to understand that no section of the public is an enemy. They will have as much responsibility if they get elected to citizens that do not share their views but live in their districts as much as the ones that elected them.

Accountability is what we want to see as voters. Without it, we cannot expect fruitful and diligent leadership. We deserve the chance to choose between politicians competing to be the most honest and responsible for their own actions and decisions and who are willing to admit when they have made mistakes.

Unless these politicians focus their energies on presenting a vision and political action plan, it would be hard to make anything fruitful out of the noise. Even with a free and fair election, we will fall on parties whose sole interest is the accumulation of power.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 25,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1030]

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

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