ECADF | Thanks to a friend, I recently read an article written by Andreas Eshete and Samuel Assefa for a conference held in Addis Ababa and titled “Reflections on Expanding Ethiopia’s Democratic Space”. The article takes note of Ethiopia’s turn toward a more open and democratic path and applauds it as a timely and relevant correction to the glaring mistakes of the past. It also gives a cogent analysis of the challenges and dangers that the turn is already facing and is bound to face with increasing intensity as the date of the national elections approaches. My focus in this write-up is on the article’s conceptualization of the main danger threatening the country and the remedy that it proposes.
This is to say that charisma provides a concrete link between pan-Ethiopianism and regional identities. If it achieves electoral success through the reelection of Abiye as Prime Minister and the sidelining of nationalist populist movements, the remaining urgent task would be to institutionalize it.