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Merera Gudina (PhD), a seasoned opposition figure and the head of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) party, asserts that Ethiopia finds itself mired in a deeper economic and political crisis today than it did half a century ago.

The veteran opposition figure delivered the sobering assessment during an exclusive interview with The Reporter. He points an accusatory finger at the chronic lack of political advancement, which he believes is the primary driver of Ethiopia’s escalating woes.

Merera’s analysis of Ethiopia’s economic regression is likely to strike a chord with citizens grappling with a proliferation of conflict and dwindling economic opportunities. Comparing the current landscape to that of 50 years ago, he underscored the stark contrast in both crises, and lamented the missed potential and squandered progress.

The politician highlighted that throughout history, Ethiopian leaders have consistently prioritized maintaining their grip on power over addressing the nation’s economic and political crises.

Merera stressed that this self-serving mindset is reflected in policy-making, which often serves personal ambitions rather than the needs of the country.

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“Our leaders seem more focused on fulfilling their own aspirations rather than resolving the economic and political challenges facing the nation,” he told The Reporter.

Merera likened the stagnation of Ethiopia’s political sphere to a swamp of authoritarianism and repression. He asserted that while the 2018 political transition initially sparked hope, this optimism has since waned, with the political situation deteriorating even further and plunging the country into a deeper crisis.

Merera critiqued the federal government’s handling of recent conflicts as “authoritarianism in the 21st century.” Merera did not mince words when highlighting the devastating toll of the two-year-long war in Tigray, the five-year strife in Oromia, and the persistent clashes in the Amhara region.

The somber truth of these conflicts, where casualties have exceeded one million lives lost in Tigray alone, depicts a nation plunged into chaos, according to Merera.

Likewise, the prolonged conflict in the Oromia region, now entering its fifth year, has fractured communities and devastated livelihoods, he observes. Merera described the ongoing clashes in the Amhara region as particularly deadly, claiming lives and fostering discord among communities.

The politician says these tragic events are emblematic of the current leadership’s misguided vision for the country.

“Efficiency and competence should be the hallmarks of any government,” said Merera. “No government sets out with the intention to bring harm to its people. But the true measure of governance lies in its ability to foster peace, stability, and prosperity for all citizens.”

The politician asserted that the current administration lacks both the capability and effective political strategies to govern Ethiopia’s population of over 120 million. He argues the primary focus appears to be maintaining one-party power rather than fostering inclusive governance, and referred to the acts of the government as a “nightmare.”

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