Please allow me to express my high regard and appreciation to your neat work in discussing the root causes of corruption in Ethiopia (Inside Ethiopia’s institutionalized corruption, June 2013). It is one thing to have journalists report on the names and numbers of suspected individuals, quite another to shed a much needed light behind the root cause of corruption, which your article has done in a professional manner. Having said so, please also allow me to add what, in my humble view, I consider to be visibly absent from your article: all the names and faces under your “corrupt and be damned” list were not simple individuals; they were the system themselves. The only difference between them and their ex -brothers in arms is that theirs’ was a bad fate, a misfortune of falling out of love and therefore be perceived as eminent threats not to the system, but to the other individuals who are the system themselves. In a country where party business and administrative affairs are jumbled together, it is hardly possible to argue armed with logical explanations of how a government functions. When talking about the root causes of corruption in Ethiopia, we must therefore explain a situation whereby not only are politics and governance sleeping together at night and walk inseparably during day times, but why the governing body is the only crusader of corrupt individuals and not the public at large. Keep up the good work.
I read your otherwise mature analysis on the causes of corruption in Ethiopia as a person who is a direct victim of state orchestrated corruption (Inside Ethiopia’s institutionalized corruption, June 2013). We have laws and directives that, one thinks, are designed only to provide the mass civil servant with an alternative source of finance besides their meager salaries, as your article candidly put it. What is worse, we have a Federal Anti-Corruption Commission with employees more on the way of individuals like me who are willing to give away corrupt officials at a great risk of losing everything than being any help. As journalists it is your duty to follow leads of individuals who are filing complaints against corrupt officials with ample evidences but are rejected by the anti-corruption officials. I have been a victim of this more than once.
Allow me to thank you for your courageous article in discussing the root causes of corruption in this country (Inside Ethiopia’s institutionalized corruption, June 2013). You have eloquently discussed factors that are exacerbating the practice of corruption in Ethiopia including the ones that have to do with party politics. But in my opinion, the main issue is not why individuals are corrupt; it is how a nation deals with them that matter most. Politicians are opportunists; they are prone to corrupt practices; and our culture expresses in open encouragements to corrupt practices with folklores such as “he who didn’t eat as much as he can while in power will regret it the day he left it.” (Lose translation). The question should therefore be how a country must deal with it? To its credit the government of Ethiopia had established a federal anti-corruption commission as far back as 2001. Proclamation No. 235/2001 of the constitution provided for the establishment of this commission. It was again revised in 2005 (433/2005) in an attempt to give the commission more mandates. But instead of granting the commission a full independence so it can have the leverage to prosecute corrupt senior officials, the government decided to make it accountable to the Prime Minister’s office (article 3). We all know that many of the so-called independent government organs are accountable to the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) and it remains a mystery for us as to what the rationales behind making the most important institution accountable to the PM’s office are. The anti-corruption commission also suffers from lack of jurisdiction to prosecute some state owned enterprises without the full back up from the federal government, not to mention its own shortage of qualified staff to investigate alleged corrupt practices.
Belayneh Daniel (PhD)
Black immigrants in Israel
It was with profound sadness that I read your story on the injustices being committed against black African immigrants by the state of Israel (Israel keeps on abusing African asylum seekers, June 2013). However, I would like to urge you and your tireless team to go beyond the case of African asylum seekers and shed some lights on the particular topic of Ethiopian-Israelis and their predicaments including the administration of birth-control injection by state funded Israeli doctors without the knowledge and consent of black, Ethiopian women.
I had the privilege to watch Pianist Samuel Yirga, whom your esteemed magazine has rightly called “The Pianist” grow from childhood to now (Samuel Yirga: the pianist, June 2013). I was deeply disappointed with our local media for not seeing what the rest of the world saw in Samuel: his talent, his potential and his uniqueness. Before our eyes, Samuel has become a global sensation while half of us don’t even know half of him. Your magazine deserves a big appreciation for paying a tribute to a young man who will not stop at this.