I enjoyed reading your front page story of last month, and reading the one paragraph in the middle of the article was what summed up my grasp of the issue all together. “…Ethiopia has chosen the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s office as the focal point for APRM activities and appointed Neway Gebrebab, special advisor to the PM, as the APRM National Focal Point for Ethiopia. Subsequently Ethiopia has also formed a 23-memebr National Governing Council (NGC) led by Teffera Waluwa, the then Minister of Capacity Building…” (A call too close to disregard, Feb. 2013). It doesn’t add up that a country whose progress in democracy and political governance under evaluation assigns government elites to lead the process and produce a report. It matters less that individuals from other countries were assigned; they were mere cover ups.
Your story on Kaizen in Ethiopia (Kaizen and revolutionary principle – a marriage of opposing world views? Jan. 2013) has dealt with some of the most confusing aspects of the two in Ethiopian context. Well done. But with your permission, I would like to add a few more points to show how the Ethiopia of today and kaizen will stay water and oil until after the former, as a nation, summons its courage to deal with its ill-fitted uniqueness both socially, economically and politically. Socially, it is the culture of the strong man completely obsessed with self-righteousness; economically, it is the culture of the owner-knows-all and knows- better attitude; and politically it is the culture of inflexibility and intolerance. Nothing of the philosophy of kaizen looks remotely similar to our uniqueness as a nation. Thank you for bringing the issue forward.
Dr. Alemayehu Refera
The article on the poor quality of service in Addis is right on. (Inside Ethiopia’s service providing sector, Dec. 2012). As an expat recently arrived here I went to a local restaurant. After waiting for 15 minutes while the service staff ignored me I left. Finally I figured out what to do. When you go into a restaurant go immediately to the counter where they keep the menus. Pick up a menu, decide what you want and find a waitperson. Tell that person what you want and where you will sit. Go sit down and about 15-20 minutes later your food will arrive. Not all in one piece, but little by little and may be without a napkin or eating utensil. Finally when it comes time to leave there will not be a check. Go to the cashier and tell her what you ordered. Be sure to pay the exact amount as change might not be available.