ETC and its Board of Directors
By Ewnetu Tessema
ETC’s Board Of Directors membership (tenure), inter alia, was meant to avoid authoritarian leadership
and let ETC’s employees freely use their creative talent for the benefit of the company, raise their voice, allow their
right to be heard and Board Members were expected to use their weight, last word and pens in defence of the efficient and
the genuine. Yet Board members apathy has been shocking and their silence has been deafening. They seem to have closed their
eyes, their minds and their hearts. They have adopted the no see, no hear, no speak attitude even when the plight of many
employees is too close to their office. The reason is one and only one. They are deep into all dirty deals that is going on
at the ETC. At this juncture, ETC’s employees are not asking the Board Members to promote them to a higher position,
to increase their salary or do them a special favour. ETC’s employees are persistently asking the ETC Board Members
to stop the corrupt practice, which is growing by day. Can they do that? Not at all! It would be tantamount to digging their
As time goes by, they (the Board Members) have totally lost sight of the original rationale
for the Board tenure. The Board membership is not, as they might have misconceived it to be, a comfortable cushion that allows
tenured members to sit back and relax.
We are now in the 21st Century, which clearly is an age of promise, an era of challenge,
a period of intellectual effervescence. This is an age of questioning, of rethinking, of defiance, of deconstruction.
The ETC Board of Directors has literally become humdrum, lifeless, sheepishly follower,
conformist, and unexciting.
It seems that individualistic, materialistic and worthless cosmetics have made the Board
members conformists in thought, in belief, in action, conformists who dare not challenge the CEO who, due to his strong connection
with the strong politicians of the country, holds the purse strings and who controls the entire money that comes as a”
lubricant” (to loosen them up) from foreign telecom companies. And nothing can be more detrimental to the mission, vision
and objective of the company (ETC) than conformity, in particular, voluntary, forced or induced compromise with duty, sacrificing
integrity for material benefits and total apathy to a demise of an old standing giant institution like that of ETC.
Board members have a duty to sensitize the management team to the fact that integrity
and rule of law are precarious entities that need to be constantly watched with vigilance and defended with vehemence. I am
always frightened by the apparent indifference to the real threats to ETC and to the dangerous signs and trends that are all
And nothing frightens me more than the lack of protest, from any branch of the Government
such as the so called "Anti Corruption Commission", against the ever increasing corrupt practice, the passive attitude, or
even approving reaction, to the broad daylight robbery, to mysterious and dubious conduct, such as fraud, under the table
transaction and abuse of power, that continue to spread under the pretext of expanding the telecom services. The only force
fighting corruption is the employees. ETC employees are now threatened that they will lose their job if they continue fighting
corruption. I can safely conclude the intimidation tactic has worked. Those who used to cooperate with us are now telling
us that the bottom line is ‘they are fathers and mothers’. We are in the same boat with many of them. As is always
the case endurance varies from group to group, from person to person.
The sad reality is that while ETC employees are forced to remain passive and to stay
silent, money-hungry bloodsuckers are eroding our hard won hard cash. The country is deep in debt which we may not be able
to fully pay back in the coming 50 years or more.
GOD BLESS ETHIOPIA!