By Assegid Habtewold
I love and respect Abiy. I want him to succeed. I pray for him and his team on a daily basis. One way of demonstrating love is being honest and providing someone you care about tough feedback. I’ve a quick feedback to him and his team.
Abiy and his team have done their best and we are grateful to the change they have brought thus far. He has a tender heart and is a servant leader. He cares about his people. We haven’t seen that from our other leaders in history.
One area he has to work on very quickly to succeed in leading the change is his values. It seems to me that his administration lacks values clarification. It’s obvious that LOVE is one of his top values. Great!
However, Abiy must follow the principles of Values Formation. The first stage is defining what LOVE means (I’m not going to cover the remaining stages in this post). Abiy should make sure that all stakeholders including his own administration, the military, security apparatuses, police, the lawless, and the public understand what he means by LOVE! He keeps preaching LOVE telling the public to love, forgive, and ‘killing others is a defeat’, and so on.
I’m wondering: Does he know that members of his own administration, the military, and police may not fully get the meaning and connotation of the LOVE he preaches? I don’t think so but I could be wrong. What makes me question whether the military and police got it is that they are unable to prevent the lawless on time before they kill innocent people. They may be thinking that they have to LOVE the lawless 🙂
I also see that members of his administration are quick to give press releases and condolences to victims after the facts. That is not the primary job of a seating government. Let charitable organizations, churches, mosques, and so on, do these things.
An effective and streamlined government should have prevented these from ever happening. How many innocent people should die before he upholds the law and commits himself and his administration to law and order? Successful governments also respond swiftly, first, by taking responsibility that they failed the public. They didn’t do their primary job, protecting the helpless and innocent such as women and kids! They also send a clear message to the violators and bring the perpetrators to justice very quickly. Most importantly, such governments take tough measures so that others would learn and never do such things again. These are missed grossly by the current administration.
I’m also wondering and asking: Does Abiy know, hope he knows, that the gangsters and those who are trying to take advantage of his kind heart may misinterpret the meaning of the LOVE he promotes and may assume that they will get away with their unloving behaviors and acts?
What is happening in Ethiopia since the change process began is promising and we are heading in the right direction. However, this is a critical moment to clarify the new administration’s values. It should be clear and everyone should be on the same page.
LOVE, yes, refrains from hate and brutality. But, LOVE also protects and defends the innocent! Abiy should define this value and communicate clearly, using his extraordinary communication ability, to be on the same page with his administration, the military, police, security apparatuses, the lawless, and the public.
The country endorsed your leadership and we love you. However, you must lead and sometimes leading takes to be tough. Remain kind, servant, and gentle but at the same time be firm based on principles.
Of course, don’t lead using an iron fist. Don’t be a dictator like your predecessors. But, stand up to the bullies and lawless, to defend the helpless and innocent with passionate LOVE!
Otherwise, you are sending confusing LOVE messages to your own administration, the military, police, and the lawless alike. If you don’t address this quickly, I’m afraid; you may soon lose control. We all may miss the boat and ruin this golden opportunity to transform the nation for once and for all.
 Dr. Assegid Habtewold is the author of five books that are available on Amazon. He is a leadership speaker and workshop facilitator for some government agencies and major corporations. Assegid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org