By Prof. Alemayehu G. Maiam
Praxis is just the sensible software of concept.
In praxis, one is just not all for making an attempt to know the world within the summary however to behave on the planet as a way to change it and make it higher.
Final week, H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed was doing whirlwind shuttle diplomacy demonstrating the praxis of his Medemer “concept” to the distressing, tragic and sometimes aggravating politics of the Horn of Africa.
On March 1, PM Abiy hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta, who introduced with him as many as 100 Kenyan authorities authorities, company and enterprise group representatives, to debate a variety of financial and funding points.
On March three, PM Abiy and President Uhuru flew to Asmara to satisfy President Isaias for trilateral discussions on regional financial integration.
On March four, PM Abiy and President Isaias have been in Juba, South Sudan to debate “regional peace, financial ties and infrastructure improvement”.
On March 5, Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” arrived in Ethiopia for bilateral talks.
On March 6, PM Abiy was in Nairobi mediating a maritime border concern on the Indian Ocean between Kenya and Somalia.
All I’ve to say is, “Henry Kissinger, king of shuttle diplomacy, eat your coronary heart out!”
I’ve beforehand mentioned intimately what “Medemer” means to me and its sensible implications.
Broadly said, “Medemer” consists of particular political practices to find out the collective future of a given individuals.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. typically stated, “We should all study to reside collectively as brothers or we’ll all perish collectively as fools.”
“Medemer”, to me, is the street map out of the wilderness of the Valley of Fools within the Horn of Africa the place we have now lived for hundreds of years as enemies hellbent on destroying one another.
PM Abiy’s Medemer within the Horn of Africa has a transparent and unmistakable message and resonates the reality of MLK’s phrases:
We now have nice points dealing with us at this time within the Horn of Africa. No particular person can reside alone; no nation can stay alone. We’re tied collectively within the Horn of Africa in a single garment of future, caught in an inescapable community of mutuality. And no matter impacts one Horn nation instantly impacts all not directly.
The Horn of Africa right now faces myriad points starting from grinding poverty, illness and ignorance to giant scale inhabitants displacements (and inhabitants explosion) and countless strings of lethal conflicts.
What occurs in every Horn nation impacts the others. Conflict in a single nation threatens the peace within the different. Peace and democracy in a single nation turns into an instance of excellent governance for others.
However for many years, Horn nations (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Djbouti, South Sudan and Uganda) have chosen the trail of perishing as fools.
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a useless conflict within the identify of “nationwide delight” and “territorial integrity” between 1998-2000, which resulted within the deaths of as many as 100,000 individuals, displacement of as much as a million and diversion of a lot wanted assets to purchase bullets as an alternative of butter.
In July 2016, a “basic” of the now defunct regime in Ethiopia brazenly advocatedwaging struggle towards Eritrea for the aim of regime change.
Not way back, Sudan constructed up its troop presence on its japanese border with Eritrea on the pretext of potential battle within the Pink Sea.
Over the previous a number of many years, Ethiopia and Somalia have had three full blown wars and quite a few border clashes by which untold numbers of civilians have been killed and displaced.
Somalia and Kenya have had low depth battle for many years. Final month, Kenya broke diplomatic relations with Somalia over off-shore fuel and oil disputes.
There have been current tensions between Eritrea and Djbouti.
And historical past continues to repeat itself within the Horn endlessly.
Because the creation of South Sudan in July 2011, President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar have manifestly determined to not stay as brothers however perish as fools.
In 2013, an influence wrestle between President Kiir and Mr. Machar became armed battle as Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup.
The 2 leaders mobilized their ethnic bases and South Sudan was headed to hell in a handbasket. Hundreds died and hundreds extra have been displaced.
A peace settlement was reached in 2015 nevertheless it didn’t final as battle flared in July 2016 and Machar was pressured to flee the nation. South Sudan was once more within the grips of civil strife and the struggling of the individuals continued.
In September 2018, Kiir and Machar signed a 128-page peace settlement with the goal of making a “revitalized transitional authorities of nationwide unity” and conduct new elections, amongst different issues.
When Machar returned to South Sudan in November 2018, Kiir stated he had forgiven Machar and was prepared to start out recent. “I need to reiterate that the conflict in South Sudan has come to an finish. To forgive is just not an act of cowardice. It’s a Christian obligation.”
There isn’t a assure the tenuous peace between Kiir and Machar will maintain. Thus, the peacemaking mission of PM Abiy and President Isaias.
Medemer or “the necessity to advance the reason for regional integration”
PM Abiy and President Isaias acquired a heat reception in Juba.
Regional integration is one other phrase for “Medemer”.
PM Abiy’s workplace announceddiscussions with President Kiir will give attention to “regional peace, financial ties and infrastructure improvement. As well as they may also be addressing problems with creating joint capacities and working collectively in an built-in method.”
South Sudan’s overseas affairs minister Nhial Deng Nhial acknowledged the constructive position of the Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders and guaranteed his authorities is “dedicated to pushing for the graceful implementation of the peace settlement.”
In a Joint Assertion, the three leaders declared their discussions “targeted on the necessity to advance the reason for regional integration” and “agreed to work out the widespread tasks that may facilitate the attainment o of the objective of Regional Financial integration and shared prosperity.
I learn the Joint Assertion to imply the next:
The basis and true explanation for the political crises in South Sudan shouldn’t be ethnic battle or particular person energy wrestle. The basis trigger is poverty. Poverty is an enemy no single nation within the Horn can defeat by itself. There have to be concerted effort by the nations within the area to uplift their individuals from poverty. With a purpose to substitute poverty with prosperity, there have to be peace in every nation within the Horn. Peace breeds prosperity; poverty breeds conflict.
Might South Sudanese faction leaders study from PM Abiy and President Isaias?
For my part, the individuals of Ethiopia and Eritrea have by no means been enemies.
Neither do I consider the atypical Dinkas and Nuers in South Sudan are enemies.
The issue of battle is with the leaders and never the peculiar individuals.
I supply a easy thought experiment: If the individuals of Ethiopia and Eritrea have been enemies, how can anybody clarify the profusion of affection, brotherhood and sisterhood we noticed in Asmara and Addis Ababa when peace was declared and the 2 leaders visited one another’s capital?
Leaders might have variations and march their armies into struggle, however the individuals are by no means given a selection to say no peace and wage warfare.
For the previous 20 years, the drumbeat by the regime in Ethiopia was that Eritrea is the enemy. The Eritrean authorities responded in sort.
Each nations deployed troops on their borders pointing and infrequently firing their weapons on one another’s place. For 20 years, the leaders of the 2 nations carried out a confrontation.
All that modified when PM Abiy took workplace in April 2018 and introduced to the Home of Individuals’s Representatives that he’ll search peace with Eritrea and eventually settle the border difficulty as determined by worldwide arbitration. That resulted in PM Abiy’s historic journey to Eritrea in July 2018, which was adopted by President Isaias’ historic journey to Addis Ababa.
When the border crossings between Ethiopia and Eritrea have been opened on September 11, 2018, I used to be current as a witness to historical past.
Once I visited Ethiopia after 48 years, the very last thing I anticipated was to be current in individual on the border when Ethiopia and Eritrea opened their borders for the primary time in 20 years and let the dammed love move as soon as once more.
It was a prophetic second.
By opening their borders, the 2 leaders made a dedication in full view of the world that they shall hereafter “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not carry up sword towards nation, neither shall they study conflict anymore.”
I hope to put in writing about that intense second once I turned a witness to historical past sometime. It was one of many defining moments in my life.
I used to be current in Bure, a forbidding desert the place a number of the fiercest battles occurred in the course of the Ethio-Eritrean conflict. As I stood wanting over the barren moonscape, I attempted to think about the hundreds who misplaced their lives.
And for what? How true the saying, “Struggle is hell!”
I used to be current in Zalambessa, as soon as a bustling border city lowered to a heap of rubble in the course of the warfare.
I questioned if the wounded hearts of the survivors of Zalambessa would start to heal now that they’re allowed to have peace in a no warfare, no peace zone for the primary time in 20 years.
I witnessed Eritreans and Ethiopians welcoming one another on the borders with tears of pleasure and ululation. I’m confidently optimistic the most effective days of Ethiopia and Eritrea are but to return.
The million greenback query is whether or not South Sudanese factions can study from the peace and reconciliation course of between Ethiopia and Eritrea and get their home so as.
Frankly, is there anybody higher than PM Abiy and President Isaias to show, preach and show in follow that it’s completely attainable to have peace and reconciliation amongst “enemies”?
The lesson for the South Sudanese leaders might lie in replicating the methods and following within the footsteps and roadmap of PM Abiy and President Isaias.
How did PM Abiy and President Isaias handle to tear down the wall that had separated them for many years and construct a bridge in just some weeks that introduced them collectively?
I’m positive the 2 leaders will in the future inform us how they did the inconceivable.
However in my speculative view, the 2 leaders have been capable of tear down the wall on their borders and substitute it with bridges as a result of they:
Took joint and full duty for the errors of the previous with out pointing fingers at one another. That’s the reason we didn’t hear phrases of recrimination and accusation about who’s extra culpable than the opposite. They each owned as much as the errors of the previous.
Determined to take a look at the longer term if their nations via the lens of peace and reconciliation moderately that their previous darkish glasses of warfare.
Got here to an existential realization that their peoples are inescapably related by delivery, marriage, faith, tradition and language and are sure in a single garment of future.
Shared a standard imaginative and prescient for the way forward for their two nations and determined to beat the burden of the previous by embracing a brand new way forward for interdependence.
Have been prepared to take an opportunity for peace and keep away from risking struggle.
Understood they don’t seem to be enemies of one another, however face three lethal widespread enemies named poverty, illness and ignorance. Every single day they battle with one another, they guarantee complete victory for their lethal enemies.
Realized financial integration and interdependence are the one choices for then to have a greater and affluent future. Peace and prosperity go hand in hand. Battle, warfare and poverty will solely end in distress.
Realized belief, good will, endurance, integrity, giving one another the good thing about the doubt, avoiding tit-for-tat retaliation, maintaining the channels of communication open are decisive in peace-building.
Understood Mandela’s maxim, “If you wish to make peace together with your enemy, you need to work together with your enemy. Then he turns into your companion.”
Understood their individuals desperately want butter not bullets!
The way forward for Africa hangs in stability on the Horn
I hear some empty barrels criticizing PM Abiy for not “staying residence and clear up issues as an alternative of making an attempt to assist neighbors clear up their issues.”
I pity these benighted cry infants who can’t see past their noses.
These bellyachers fail to know that not solely the way forward for Ethiopia however the way forward for Africa hangs within the stability within the Horn.
As goes the Horn of Africa, so goes the remainder of Africa.
The Horn is the laboratory, the proving grounds, for all of Africa. Will there be infinite wars and conflicts that may bury the continent within the abyss of poverty? Are we on the cusp of a brand new period of collective prosperity and progress that may guarantee Africa’s rightful place on the worldwide stage?
If the Horn nations are capable of come collectively (Medemer), make peace and construct the inspiration for peaceable and affluent relations, the remainder of Africa will comply with of their footsteps.
The September 2018 South Sudan settlement is actually about peace and reconciliation. Chapter V of that settlement talks about transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation and therapeutic.
The individuals of South Sudan will not be enemies of one another. If given a ghost of an opportunity, they might select to reside as brothers and decline their leaders’ supply to perish as fools.
The strange individuals of South Sudan are sensible however they endure drastically due to the foolishness of their leaders.
I’m touched and share absolutely President Kiir’s assertion that, “To forgive is just not an act of cowardice. It’s a Christian obligation.”
My private view is forgiveness is the last word demonstration of human braveness. That’s the solely approach out and in of Africa!
Given the historical past of failure of ceasefires, agreements and understandings prior to now, one might simply fall prey to pessimism and anticipate the more severe.
There are threats that if Machar fails to hitch the reconciliation course of, he might lose his standing as official opposition chief.
I’m not discouraged by political rhetoric. With slightly assist from their buddies and neighbors, South Sudan will expertise peace quickly. Hope springs everlasting!
My African brother’s and sister’s keeper: “Medemer”, all for one and one for all
I commend PM Abiy and President Isaias for travelling to Juba to maintain the flames of peace flickering, if not blazing.
For my part, the 2 leaders are educating by instance (praxis). They got here collectively (Medemer) and made peace.
Now, they’re demonstrating to the world that collectively they’re their African brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. They are not looking for the individuals of South Sudan to undergo the ache and struggling of their peoples over the previous 20 years.
That touches my coronary heart.
For me, compassion is the best of all virtues.
However it’s all counter-intuitive.
What PM Abiy and President Isaias appear to be saying is that South Sudan can’t have peace and prosperity until the entire Horn area has peace and prosperity.
It’s a arduous idea to understand.
It’s like saying a household in a given neighborhood can neither have peace nor prosperity if the neighborhood is consistently beset by violence, battle and strife.
So, the destinies of the Horn nations are intertwined.
For there to be lasting and sturdy peace, there have to be very important financial ties and interdependence between Horn nations.
Within the Horn of Africa, the rule is united we stand divided we fall and perish like fools.
When the individuals of the Horn have jobs, high quality schooling for his or her youngsters, reasonably priced well being care for his or her households, they’ll haven’t any purpose to interact in ethnic, spiritual and regional conflicts.
Therein lies the straightforward secret of “Medemer”: All for one and one for all.
All Horn nations for South Sudan and South Sudan for all nations within the Horn as a result of the Horn of Africa is sure in a single garment of future.
I’ve a dream that at some point the Horn of Africa might be a Horn of A lot.
That’s loads of peace.
Loads of love.
Loads of respect, appreciation and gratitude.
Loads of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Loads of meals and clear drinkable water.
Loads of jobs and alternatives.
Loads of hospitals, clinic and docs.
Loads of trendy know-how.
Loads of good will.
Loads of good leaders.
Medemer: All for one and one for all within the Horn of Africa!</robust