By Abebech Shiferaw
Discrimination refers to treating a person/group unfairly because of who they are or because they possess certain characteristics. Discrimination make takes direct (visible) or indirect (subtle) forms. When a person/group with a protected characteristic is treated less favorably than others, it is direct discrimination. On the other hand, if there is a rule or policy in the workplace that puts a person/group at a disadvantage as compared to others, it may be considered as indirect discrimination.
Discrimination may be based on different variables such as gender, political stand, ethnicity, age and others. It may take place in different contexts.
Having the above discussion as a background, let us see some uglier forms of discrimination in Ethiopia just to show only the tip of the iceberg.
It seems that discrimination has become a culture in Ethiopia. And the government seems to be busy with justifying and socializing (instead of correcting gaps) citizens to be comfortable with discrimination in different aspects. Workplace, employment, and the appointment is one area where the problem manifests itself vividly. For instance, a recent advertisement by revenues authority unveiled that almost all the potential candidates are taken from one college and ethnic group. Besides, appointments to civil and military positions especially critical ones are filled with people from one ethnic group.
Discrimination also goes to the agricultural sector and affects farmers. Farmers in the Amhara region work very hard day and night. But, most of the crops produced by farmers in the Amhara region are used for national consumption and there seems to exist strict control on the price. On the other hand, farmers in other regions (for example, Oromia region) are encouraged to produce cash crops that could be exported for the international market at a competitive price.
Moreover, there is discrimination in terms of the training of security forces. As seen recently, the Prime Minister strongly condemned the training of hundreds of security forces in the Amhara Region arguing that the money has to be used for solving other pressing problems. A few months later, 29,000 security forces were publicly graduated and deployed by a party under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister in the Oromia region.
Most importantly, infrastructure development is another area of discrimination. This is evidenced by the unfair distribution infrastructures (For example, power/electricity and Railway), when infrastructures are allowed there seems a deliberate delay in completion, and they are of poor quality (for instance, major roads crossing the Amhara region). By and large, the Amhara region and its people shoulder the lion’s share of the problem. This is also attested by scientific evidence produced by credible organizations like the World Bank.
Why Amharas are made victims of the problems? Obviously, this is an extension of the false narratives fabricated and disseminated for nearly three decades by the ruling party and narcissistic political elites for meeting their ideal dream of dominating the pride and country loving Amharas.
In a nutshell, the sample evidence discussed herein above shows how pervasive the problem is. Amhara has continuously asked the government to timely correct huge gaps in the sector in regions. This has led to the Amhara revolution and the development of strong Amhara nationalism. What needs to be pointed out is the negligence of the government despite the continued demands of the public to undo the uglier forms of discrimination.
As it reads in the title, the problem is uglier and is of higher scale for it is backed by the government that collects taxes from the poor Amharas. Thus, the purpose of this article is to support the Amhara people and create awareness among potential stakeholders to seriously mind the injustice and advocate for a more fair system. The problem has to be addressed in a more participatory manner before it breeds destructive consequences to the security and democratization process of the country and the Horn of Africa at large.