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East Africa: an era of recuperating what is lost

Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Somali President Mohammed Abdullahi and President Isaias Afwerki meet in Asmara to attend a tripartite summit on developing relations and cooperation, 2018.

East Africa: an era of recuperating what is lost

By Simon K Hagos

In Asmara, it is already an independence month. And strolling through harnet avenu, the joy that is airing from every corner of the street is self-evident. Though, every year Eritreans celebrate their independence with colorful mood, this years' independence commemoration was tantalizing. After 20 years of failed attempt to isolate the young nation, the country finally levitated, and that created the last 8 months of soothing. Eritreans are filled with joie de vivre.

In the last day of ceremonial commemoration at the stadium of Asmara, president Isaias Afeworki eulogized the resilience of the people of Eritrea throughout the era of struggle for the independence and after. He credited the people of Eritrea for their struggle in unbuilding of the coordinated and systemic efforts to isolate the country and crumble its economy. In his speech, the president also emphasized the importance of rising to the challenges ahead.

What makes this year's celebration special?

Last year, president Isaias Afewerki sent two of Eritrea's top diplomats to Addis Ababa in a bid to identify if the then newly elected prime minister, Dr. Abby Ahmed has characters of "man of gravitas". Weeks later, the twenty years long political, diplomatic and military face-off between the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and the State of Eritrea, perpetuated by a unscrupulous regime in Addis Ababa ended officially.

The hands of the two people clasped to one another in peace under the superintendence of Ethiopian prime minister Dr. Abby Ahmed, and Eritrean president Isaias Afeworki. Though, editors at a desk of many mainstream media outlets flummoxed to spectare such a dramatic overhaul in their policies considering the fact that both countries had a border clash in June 2016, they still called the historical moment "a forward-looking beginning in two decades."

Challenges ahead:

1: Consolidating the peace process

After a decade long of political, social and economic stagnation, in 2018, Ethiopia finally yanked into a complete political turmoil. Citing to the political crisis unfolding in the country, in April 2018, prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly resigned from power. Ethiopia's ruling party, the EPRDF then handpicked a young, and vibrant politician in doctor Abby Ahmed as its party leader. In April 2, 2018, he assumed the office of prime ministership.

Right after he ascended to power, Ethiopia's ruling party, the EPRDF decided that, the status qou of 'no war, no peace' with Eritrea could not continue any more. The party accepted the EEBC decision without any precondition. Though, the four party that are allied to form the EPRDF had officially accepted the decision, TPLF, one of the four allied parties has rejected the decision unequivocally.

Though, TPLF vamoosed to Mekele from Addis Ababa, and still continued to refuse accepting the peace process and jettison their stance on the EEBC decision, in July 2018, Dr. Abby Ahmed made a landmark visit to Asmara and met president Isaias Afeworki. Both leaders signed a five points peace plan, that heralded a new chapter of peace and cooperation in the region.

Almost one year after his visit to Asmara, Dr. Abby Ahmed faces tough decisions to make. Though, TPLF is skedaddled to Tigray, their anti-Eritrea rhetoric is still ineffable, and is openly impeding the peace process. This makes, PM Abby Ahmeds' ascendancy on the peace process, unfathomable. According to internal sources, his views on the peace process does not cohere with the clique at Mekele's view point. As a result, the political ambiance in Ethiopia is still flustering.

2: Ensuring regional economic integration

Two years ago, it was implausible to envisage the dramatic change in political ambiance in the whole region. But, hope for a bright future outstretched the previous years of detestation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti, Ethiopia and South Sudan et al. It is unfamiliar environs as hawking routine enliven by a series of diplomatic talks. And dilapidated people of the region exhilarated by the prospect of ever lasting harmony between different adversaries.

Notwithstanding this newfangled chapter of regional peace and cooperation, encompassing Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya, challenges that the region faces in general, and the former nemesis in particular are multitudinous. For the peace process to entrechat to a solidified stage, disentanglement of the challenges of the 1998 that were mainsprings of the disagreement, is imperative. And, to solve the mainsprings of the disagreements, a devised peace process is important. But more importantly, to contrive a pertinacious peace process, solving the intramural problems is indispensable.

Ethiopia:

More than two decades of erroneous policies has put Ethiopia in a persevere situation. These cataclysmic policies followed by the ruling party subjugated by the TPLF has forged a nation ambling to an eventual sunder. Ergo, Ethiopians has an arduous task to consummate their homework of coalesce the nation. Lucky for all Ethiopians, 27 years after an abdication by the ruling party to democratize the country, the new government under the leadership of prime minister Dr. Abby Ahmed has inaugurated new political and economic reformative policies. If well taken, these reformations will rescue the country from total mayhem.

Beyond the mere attempts to inculcated nationalism, prime minister Abby has to broaden the political spectrum of the country. And that will demand unflagging collaboration between all political parties, and concurrence among regional governments.

Eritrea:

The government in Asmara argues, for Eritrea, a country that has seen migration at a highest numbers, the overriding challenge is, concocting a microeconomy that situated the youth at the center of it. On the other hand, detractors of the government now in diaspora, expostulates with the above narrative. They argued, the most pressing issues that needs instantaneous solution is, thoroughgoing political reformation.

When war broke out in 1998, Eritrea's ruling front, the PFDJ understandably suspended its objectives that were well outlined in its charter that was drafted in 1994. One of its grand objectives was democratizing the young nation. But, from 1998, its principal priority has shifted to national security. After the EEBC delivered its "final and binding" decision on the border dispute, Ethiopia's policy of "no peace, no war" exacerbated the hostility. This policy created a period of austerity for both nations. Ethiopian and Eritrean youth migrated to the west in ginormous numbers.

Now in 2019, after a serious of efforts at detente with its former adversary, Eritrea is beginning to reinstate its adjourned objectives. But questions of its preparedness to apply complete reformation is still relevant. The government of Eritrea is an inveterate circumspect. Its proclivity of taking prudent strides are discernible. The biggest challenge the government faces now is, can it concoct embellished new opportunities for its youth?

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