The one noticeable result of the 1998-2000 border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia is that both sides came out bad losers.
When, in May 1998, two brigades of Eritrean soldiers marched through an Ethiopian administered town of Bademe, a small and dusty town along the border with Eritrea, the pictures emerged didn’t alarm onlookers that it would take the two countries into a two-year civil war that claimed the lives of more than 70,000 from both sides.
Tuesday May 10, 2011was the day when Diriba Kuma, Ethiopia’s then minister of transport, told the public that Ethiopia had prepared a ten-year “national traffic safety strategic action plan,” for the years from 2012 – 2022. His announcement didn’t come out of the blue. In March 2010, the UN general assembly had recognized and discussed a topic long overdue, and was initiated by Russia: “The tremendous global burden of fatalities resulting from road crashes.” Following the usual discussions on the floor, the general assembly asked all member states to dedicate the period from 2011 – 2020 as “the Decade of Action for Road Safety” and work for it. It was aimed primarily at “stabilizing and eventually reducing” the unacceptably high number of causalities caused by motor vehicle accidents in countries all over the world.
Come May of this year Ethiopia is preparing to carry out the fifth general election since the coming into power in 1991 of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). But controversies surrounding two main opposition parties, all too recognizable, surfaced in an unfortunate fashion and have left a trace of a familiar scenario. Once again the country’s democratization process, already at a snail’s pace, if at all, is under big question mark.