September 14, 2012 (GSN) - First of all I wish my readers a “Happy and Prosperous Ethiopian New Year". It is a long time since I had posted my last article. I am here again to contribute what I thought may benefit the Anywaa people. There is a saying that goes like “when the two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers".
I have been thinking about this idea for quite sometimes now and finally, I thought it would be beneficial to all members of the Anywaa society if it is posted on one of the Medias that are most frequently used. In my opinion, the extreme Diaspora and the regional leadership in Gambella are the two elephants that I am talking about. They are the ones that are fighting against each other day-in and day-out. The silent majority of Anuak Diaspora and those back home are those I considered as the grass that suffers under the legs of these mentioned big animals.
In any modern society, there are different type of instruments that are used as deterrents to prevent violent and other sort of problems not to occur. Apart from law enforcing instruments, there are people or group of people who can mediate and those who make researches (think tanks) and put their best ideals at the disposal of the communities and policy makers to use them. In a typical Anuak society the elders are the king makers. They are the people who mediate between the feuding groups and help to reach at solutions. In these days, as a society, I think we don't have yet the so called “think tank" groups either in the first world where the Anuak Diaspora situated or back home. In the situation like this, it is very difficult to bring two opposite groups to the middle ground where they can talk and deliberate frankly to solve their problems.
The two elephants mentioned above may have their own opinions how to solve the problems of our people. If both of them are taking the stand that say, “it is my way or go to hell" kind of argument, I think there is a big problem that needs be solved immediately. In my candid opinion, these two groups have not got it right. Three years ago, I wrote an article that aimed to remind the Anuak Diaspora to participate in the development of our regions ( Gambella in Ethiopia and Pochalla and Akobo in the Republic of South Sudan). When I posted that article, South Sudan was not yet an independent country though. Some of our people praised me for the article and the extreme members of Anuak Diaspora insulted me and said that I should be the member of the ruling group and by the time I lose my benefits I will drop my ideas that revolving around convincing Diasporas to go back home to invest. But, here I am again arguing on the same point.
The philosophy at the back of the political-economy of the current Ethiopian government is clear and very simple. The irony thing is that the leadership in Gambella region and some members of Diaspora have not got this simple philosophy yet. The devolution of some political powers, in the form of federalism, to the regions to which it is clearly enshrined in the constitution of Ethiopia was done on purpose. It was done in a sense that the regional leadership will have a political power and, as a result, that will enable them to use that power to help their own people in the final analysis. The question is, did the leadership of Gambela use that opportunity for the last twenty years? The answer is a big No. The leadership in Gambella has failed to bring the elites together to engage them in finding the ways how to solve our common problems. Instead, it is still busy in solving the problems in a primitive style.
Regional governments like those of Somali and Beneshangul-gumuz have tried the modern way of negotiating with those, who might have grudges, round the table which have paid them off. Many members of Somali Diaspora now are flocking to their region to invest which will change the image of that region very soon. In our case, our president and his stooges are still intimidating the Anuak elites by putting them in prison without appropriate reasons which forced many of them to leave the region for good. On the other hand, the extreme Anuak Diaspora are still adamant to their stand not to do their best to bring out the best solutions for the region.
To have political power is good in the way that it will help somebody to manipulate things to the benefit of his/her own self or the mass. We have that political power for the last 20 years and yet we are not better off up to this minute. It is very easy for us to externalize the reasons of our failure. I think it is high time for the two elephants, which have not got it right yet, to come to their senses to do the best thing to our silent majority, the Anuak community as a whole. The key point here is “ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ". Politics alone doesn't do anything good to our people. You better have both political and economic powers or remain in a destitute life to which it becomes the daily experience of our people today.