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El N I ñ O   &  U N R E S T

AL Mariam's Game Changer Toxic Mix

                                                                     Genenew Assefa   12-24-15

            Finally, after years of frustration, AL Mariam is beside himself with boundless frenzy and jubilation. Not because he hit a jackpot or won an academic merit of award, an unlikely prospect for apparent reason. Far from any of these fortunes, Al Mariam is overexcited by the recent flare-ups in Oromia, though neither the immediate precipitating factors of the unrest nor the implications bodes well to the cause he identifies with or holds close to his heart. All the same Al Mariam is exultantly happy that not all is well in Oromia, albeit not as much as he is overjoyed by news of the El Niño-induced drought, affecting more than 10 million people by  the latest official count. In disbelief that luck suddenly smiled on his otherwise luckless political crusade mixed with hatemongering, Al Mariam hardly wasted any time before rushing to vent his exuberance in writing, as he did, in his recent article, Ethiopian Spring in a Winter of Discontent? The latest of his endless polemics, pointing as ever an accusatory finger at the Ethiopian government he most loves to hate. Only this time around he pays homage to moderation by inserting a few elegiac but disingenuous expressions of concern for Ethiopian El Niño victims.

            Some might be taken in by Al Mariam's grand oration, stressing the need for condemning the responsible party as a form of expressing solidarity with manmade drought victims in the spirit of compassion.  A spirit, though in so many words, he claims to personify in addition to his self-proclaimed peerless intellectual sophistication.  A few  might even expect the  humble professor to do more than breast-beating for the plight of the drought-stricken in a country he had never laid eyes on for almost a half century. Despite his self-seclusion behind daunting space and time barrier, so to speak, AL Mariam has his own admirers who might expect a minuscule, at least, of practical humane gesture as proof of his sincerity. This is the least anyone could expect from a self-described humanist thinker whose heart, he says, aches for the suffering of his countrymen at the hands of what he describes as a "thuggish" government. But in Al Mariam’s case such expectation only betrays ignorance of his moral penury and pretention to a lofty intellectual calling. A two-fold drawback, though concealed beneath his impressive flare for stylized prose, sprinkled with one-liners lifted from ghetto rappers, rhyming phrases from evangelical preachers, not to mention pertinent and vintage sayings from the speeches of the founding fathers of his adopted country. Yet, reciting words of moral wisdom as an alibi for personal ethical integrity, is difficult to reconcile with salivating as he does at the prospect of extracting political millage from an inflated account of the condition of drought- relief recipients. Indeed a glance at his recent article bears out the relish with which he waxes eloquent as he harps on the return of "evil days" to Ethiopia, spelling his most favorite English word --hunger-- in bold capital letters, "F A M I N."  Deformed as it is, gleeful enunciation of the scary signifier of natural disaster as if it yields political advantage only underscores Al Mariam's desperation.  Why else would he be so emphatic as to scribe famine in block-letters unless he lacks conviction in the message he intends to convey? Obvious Al Mariam has to resort to dramatics as the content of his contention has no purchase except among the know-nothing parties abroad. Apparently he is less certain today than ever that the simmering social and political tension that he has been writing about in hyper-inflated register would ever boil over and bring down the Ethiopian government.  No wonder Al Mariam speaks of drought in terms of famine as nothing else, in his twisted mind, but mass starvation holds promise of regime change in Ethiopia. So much for hope against hope, particularly at this juncture of renewed state resolve to surge ahead undaunted by  the coincidence  of El Niño and angry  unrest in small-towns  of Oromia .

           The irony is it is this same man, infamous for his scathing criticism of every poverty-alleviating development project in Ethiopia. He particularly targets constructions of railway lines and power-generating hydro-dams, though of vital service to the very people whose interest he claims to represent best from as far a distance as the new world. This is not to mention the campaign against expansion of social-service providing infrastructures that hardly existed in this country for the longer part of Al Mariam's life-time in either America or Ethiopia.  For all his learning, the professor is clueless that no other model of development can dent poverty in this ancient nation of paupers and prevent the kind of Malthusian crisis, which he thinks has set a winter of discontent upon Ethiopia. The actual truth is the rate of production of the means life sustenance is not only outpacing population increase, fertility rate, according to the latest issue of the Economist, is also falling.  Thanks, though Al Mariam disagrees, to more than a decade of rapid development that spawned expansion of public healthcare services to remote villages of every region. Yet Al Mariam, sad to say, lacks the intellectual integrity to give credit where it is due or the benefit of doubt that the government could be trying to make a difference more than its detractors are willing to admit.  For him, everything the government does is suspect, even if the result redounds in the best interest of the general public. Recall Al Mariam's recent vehement tirade against GG III and the GRD, an indication of his visceral hatred which is only exceeded by his morbid desire to see everything that this country tries to build on its own meager resources go up in smoke.

          The combination of these afflictions seems to blind AL Mariam to the self-evident benefits of Ethiopia's mega projects, particularly to the people in drought-prone areas for whom he shades crocodile tears only to spite the government. A good example of his congenital hatred and ineptitude is his lack of appreciation for the positive spin-off effects of hydro-dam construction in terms of boosting food-security, particularly the areas of fishery and irrigation. Despite his infinite wisdom, neither is the professor able to sense the apparent contradiction between, on the one hand, feigning sadness for drought victims, and on the other, condemning every mega project of the state integrated development plan, without which this country can never end humiliating dependency on food aid.                

            This is not the first time that Al Mariam greeted news of drought in Ethiopia with a warped sense of joy.  He was equally happy during the 2012 worst rain failure in East Africa in 60 years.  Looking back, what is striking is AL Mariam's audacious claim to have seen the draught coming long before any of the East African metrology experts or the Early Warring and Disaster Prevention Commission of Ethiopia. With unabashed self-adulation, AL Mariam claimed    that by  "putting the pieces together''  he  predicted  a  bleak scenario in 2012 in which close to 12 million people could potentially face hunger in Ethiopia alone.  This is a lie. There is no evidence for this assertion except clues that he may have multiplied his ignorance by his venality to arrive at such a figure.  For the drought affected population in 2012 was nowhere near the 12 million mark that AL Maria would have liked to spike and culminate in delegitimizing the Ethiopian government.  The record, however, shows that less than 4 million people needed food relief at the time, partly because the 2012 drought was less severe in Ethiopia than the present dry season, much to compound Al Mariam's excitement with the difficulties in Oromia.  

          Yet the severer crop failure the happier Al Mariam as nothing else seems to justify his contempt for the Ethiopian government, though his more disappointed that the regime he loves to see crumble remains intact as ever. One can imagine the kind of smashing party he might have thrown during the 1999/2000 terrible year of widespread drought in which close to 14, million people almost run out of food. For good or worse, however, up until 2005 Al Mariam was neither interested nor cared to follow developments in Ethiopia.  Whatever else he was doing until then, it must have included quite a bit of Uncle-Tome- like self-ingratiation with the conceited among his white countrymen at the cost of humiliating Africans and African leaders.  If this sounds farfetched, a cursory glance back at his writings is all it takes to refresh one's memory of how Al Mariam never miss an opportunity to denigrate African leaders as shameless baggers. Not even the rabidly xenophobic of the far right in America are as disdainful as AL Mariam is towards African heads of states. He not only thinks that seeking meaningful compensation from the former colonial powers is beggary, but also  denounces the donor community as "poverty pimps", particularly those willing to partner with Ethiopia.  Lacking basic moral decency, no-one but Al Mariam takes pleasure in calling every visiting senior African officials, not savages, but panhandlers:  Who, he says, roam around the capitals of Western countries with a bowl in their hands pleading for handouts.

            From his conceited tone of language you would think that he alone left to the land of plenty by a presidential invitation to provide intellectual service lacking in America. Al Mariam forgets that he himself was not too proud to either solicit full scholarship or fill out a student loan application form that the land of opportunity guarantees to those who can't afford to pay for their college education. Lacking in birth right, how else could he have been so profoundly miss-educated in a higher American institution of learning? Besides, what gulf separates beggary from his own calculated symbolic act of placing his hand on his chest and pledging allegiance to the star-spangled American flag? Certainly Al Mariam did not renounce his allegiance to Ethiopia only to die defending the American way of life. Rather, as much as he is in awe with everything Americana, Al Mariam's motive for entering an oath of loyalty could only have been to enhance his chances of accessing the opportunity to study, work, raise a family and retire in the promised-land. The paradox is that Al Mariam condemns African leaders as shameful supplicants, but condones his own shameless cowering for acceptance as white-collar gestarbeiter in the host country. So mach so to the point of modifying his name to sound more American and erase any telling sign of his migration from Africa in search of what he woefully lacked in his native land. Opportunities he did find in America as a thankful naturalized US citizen with the right to live life to the fullest of his abilities, though his abilities, as it turned out, is more poignant in demonizing Ethiopia.   

           Yet one fine morning in 2005, after spending decades in pursuit of his American dream, AL Mariam discovered human rights infringements in his country of origin he had long abandoned never to return. There and then, according to his own account, he vowed to take a moral stand against gross human rights violation in Ethiopia, though he knew next to nothing about the condition of the country. Let alone the background of the TPLF leadership, the genesis of the EPRDF, or the nature of the government founded by the ruling front on the ashes of the Red Terror regime.  Yet the very year Al Mariam deigned to take interest in the politics of the Ethiopian government, he discovered that he is dealing with, as he put it, "the worst state to appear in Africa in fifty years." Well, hyperbole aside, the timing of Al Mariam's conversion into a born-again human rights crusader is telling in the light of his silence during the Red Terror nightmare of unrestrained genocidal mayhem. On second thought, since AL Mariam had a more pressing agenda of integrating himself into mainstream American society, he may be pardoned for not having the time to utter a word or two of protest against the 17-year long human slaughter in Ethiopia. Nor can he be reproached for not lifting a finger in support of Live Aid-- the rock-star-studded relief campaign during the 1985 drought that claimed the lives of a million people.

           In fact, better late than never as they say, Al Mariam deserve a tap on the shoulder for taking inertest in the Ethiopian people, particularly at the present worst cycle of rain failure. However, he cannot escape moral censure for his willful inflation of the drought situation to a level of mass starvation. Not least because his account is pure exaggeration, indicative of his spiteful desire to see calamity befell Ethiopia and discredit the government.  For, to Al Mariam's chagrin, as much as Ethiopia is partly stricken by severe drought there is no mass starvation that remotely resembles the the1985 horrendous famine. Not even by UN definition as quoted below:    

A famine can be declared only when certain measures of mortality, malnutrition and hunger are met. They are: at least 20 per cent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 per cent; and the death rate exceeds two persons day per 10,000 persons.

           Worse still is, Al Mariam has the temerity to accuse the Ethiopian government of banning media reporters to the drought affected areas.

The T-TPLF has clamped down on local and international press reporting on the calamity; and in collusion with its international poverty pimps and loaners and donors, they make convenient excuses...

             This again is a lie, unbecoming of a man who claims to have truth on his side.  The real truth which only Al Mariam denies, however, is that both Aljazeera and the BBC have had access to cover ''the story  "  But to AL Mariam's disappointment, neither of these news networks could show any footage of the famished dying in overcrowded makeshift feeding centers. Yet, he not only decries a non-existent ban on foreign reports, but also the imposition of total silence on the subject of drought in Ethiopia. Consider this statement for the love of Merry, mother of our Savior;

           AL Mariam's eager readers must be  wondering, how in the absence of media report and total silence in the country, he knows so much about the drought, much less the severity of its effect.  Well, he knows a great deal because he can put the "pieces together" as no one can.  One piece of puzzle that AL Mariam cannot decipher is the reason preventing the worst El Nino to hit this country from turning into mass death by starvation.  It might come as a surprise to the least informed, but unlike times of helplessness in the face of rain failure, the Ethiopian economy today is by far shock- resilient than at any time ever. In other words, thought still susceptible to uncertainties, the agricultural sector in particular is strong enough to cope with natural disaster, and prevent another round of uncontrollable famine that the likes of AL Mariam eagerly await as a god-sent opportunity for escalating their anti-government campaign. Clatter aside, independent testimony, including IMF and WB reports, bears out Ethiopia's impressive turnaround, thanks to its state-led rapid development strategy that, by all accounts, spurred double-digit growth over ten consecutive years running. Al Mariam, on the other hand, is incensed that both the WB and the IMF openly vouch for the stellar performance of the Ethiopian economy. Compounding his anger is the fact that he had long dismissed the policy-makers responsible for the tiger-rate growth as nothing but "a bunch of thugs."  In fact "Thugtatorship" is the exact clumsy term of derision he coined to undermine the hard-earned legitimacy of the leadership of the Ethiopian government. Not content with bashing the EPRDF for proving him wrong, AL Mariam lashes out with the same degree of vehemence at the IMF, WB, USAID and the entire donor community.                    

The Ethiopian economy is heading toward calamity despite the lies, damned lies and statislies of the World Bank, the IMF, the USAID and all of the European and other loaners and donors...I know for a fact that the international poverty pimps are convinced all Ethiopians are dumber than a box of rocks.

 

           Granted neither the WB or IMF is flawless. But, what impeccable credential of economic expertise does Al Mariam the lawyer posses to base his certitude in the rapid slide of the Ethiopian economy into chaos? Or what alternative world-economic research institution of more authority than the IMF and WB can he cite to back his dim foresight of where Ethiopia is heading? The answer is he has nothing to go by, let alone empirical data to support his contention, except his own jaundiced gut-feeling. All the same Al Mariam never quits spewing insupportable nonsense as he does in his latest article with smug conceit to boot. Consider this statement," The fact of the matter is that the T-TPLF is a regime that cannot stay in power one day more, but for the charity it gets from the donors and loaners.''  To his credit, this time around he cites an African researcher as a backup authority. "Dambissa Moyo, the noted African Economist and author of Dead Aid reports that, "in Ethiopia a whopping 97 percent of the government's budget derives from foreign aid." No wonder Al Mariam entered the political arena as a lobbyist for US sanction against Ethiopia, particularly when the now forgotten HR13 was up for debate in congressional floor. Surely, why go through a grueling election bout or risk the hazards of armed confrontation whiles the easiest way of upending the government lies in cutting its lifeline, foreign aid, by US sanction.   

            At any rate, though the above quote is not even verbatim, Moyo herself does not source her statement which she only made in passing in her 2009 book. But without going into details, if Ethiopia only covers 3 percent of her national annual budget, one puzzling question popes to mind. What obligation, it must indeed be asked, bounds the donor community to keep the Ethiopia economy floating? Mind you, Ethiopia is neither Egypt nor Israel.  Nor are we talking about food aid here, but budget subsidy, which is not covered under provisions of humanitarian assistance. Besides why would the WB, IMF, and the international media etc., agree to bear false testimony, praising Ethiopia as one of the fastest growing countries in the world, if it is all a function of charity?

          What adds to the puzzle is that in the same article Al Mariam quotes the summary statement of Global Financial Integrity's 2012 report. It says, "The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry. No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage." Al Mariam quotes this statement not as much to quantify the extent to which Ethiopia  is dependent  on foreign charity, as it is to highlight the staggering amount of annual capital flight from this very country that, according to him, hardly generates any.  Al Mariam overlooks that his argument suggests a zero-sum scenario in that, on his audit, capital outflow exceeds monetary inflow, leaving the country nothing to survive on, much less to self-fund the grandest of all projects in Africa.  In truth, a quick scan at the financial records bears out the well-known fact that from 2010 onwards Ethiopia's budgetary reliance on external loans and grants has been progressively decreasing. To the point that, 85 percent of the record-high current national budget, is by all accounts, domestically generated. The goal, according to GTP II, is ensuring zero reliance on foreign direct budgetary subsidies by dint of implementation of a reachable goal-plan of broad-based mobilization of internal revenue.

            AL Mariam, however, is absolutely certain that Ethiopia is irreversibly heading towards "social calamity". So much so that in his latest posting he even exceeded his own level of certitude by declaring December 2015 as the end of the line for the EPRDF. Mimicking the charged rhetorical tone of African American civil rights activists, Al Mariam rhapsodies thus on an old familiar theme:

How long the T-TPLF go on silencing the voice of 100 million Ethiopians? How long the T-TPLF keeps its boots on the necks of 100 million Ethiopians? How long? I say, not long! Not long! In December 2015, I cannot predict the exact time and date the T-TPLF will fall in Ethiopia.

    There you have it! The end is here! Thus in this holyday season of December, Al Mariam must be looking forwarded to receive the greatest gift of his life, Woyanne's head on a silver platter. On a serious note, however, Abune Alemayehu Gebremaraim, the latter day prophet of doom, is not sure of the exact time and date of the denouement. But in his farseeing eyes, EPRDF's demise before this month is out is as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow. One can't help but be amused by the similarity and contrast between Al Mariam, who looks forward to the last month of 2015 to celebrate TPLF's fall, and UFO buffs in the USA who, upon discovery of an ancient Mayan calendar, spread   a terrifying rumor that the world would come to an end by 2012.   On what ground, beside revelation, could Al Mariam base his certainty in EPRDF's demise (Fesame Mingest) which no expert in probability theory or trend analysis dares to predict with such precision? Could Al Mariam be privy to a secret coup plot-- though--- he is not at liberty to divulge the exact time and date of the launch of the palace takeover.  May be so in his dream, but there is nothing in his article which remotely suggests that a coup is afoot in Ethiopia.  The only sure thing is that Al Mariam is carried away by the current unrest in Oromia to the extent of putting his intellectual reputation on the line by braving a precise date for state implosion.

      Granted the month long sporadic outburst of violence in several small-towns of the Oromia regional state has no precedent in terms of duration and intensity of rampage. In addition to lives lost, local state institutions, private holdings, public vehicles as well as utility-providing facilities have been burned to the ground much to the shock of the general public. But does the rage of discontent in pockets of Oromia region constitute a sufficient condition, as Al Mariam insists, to bring down the OPDO government let alone the federal state before January 1st 2016?  For several reasons the answer to this question has to be an emphatic No! Only because, A) by the very nature of the issue that sparked   the emotional flare, the scope of the unrest is likely to remain within specific parts of Oromia with little prospect of nationwide spill-over effect. B) The lack of leadership-providing organizational center with name-recognition, and the absence of state rejection of political demand to warrant rampage, precludes any scenario of regime meltdown any time within the remaining days of the month of December. C) Most importantly, official conviction in the rightness of resort to stern countermeasure lays bare the political will of the leadership to restore public order in Oromia by application of the full force of the law of the land.

    AL Mariam, therefore, should have carefully weighed these factors before setting December 2015 as the deadline for transfer of state power to whichever of the opposition parties he thinks has a critical mass following, the right leadership credential and  an all-inclusive political program to govern this nation of nationalities. In fact, Al Mariam would have spared himself the embracement he is sure to face, come January 1st, had he been keen on recent history. Or, at least, he would have been less gang-ho had he taken stock of the unflinching determination with which the federal government quelled the 2005  nationwide street turbulence, the most serious the country faced to date. Perhaps, then, AL Mariam might have left the timing of his forecast of state collapse open-ended. Yet, he remains entrenched in his certitude, unencumbered, as he is, by the kind of intellectual doubt that precedence casts on groundless predictions of coming events.

     AL Mariam is uncurious to find out the mystery behind the indefinite staying- power of the Ethiopian government. Nor is he troubled that his prediction flies in the face of the hard fact that the government has outlived the 2005 turbulence, the most organized, the most politicized, and with the most excuse to grab power by illicit means. Surely, given the changes since 2005 on many levels, including in depth of state legitimacy, the federal government is unlikely to buckle under the weight of the riots in Oromia. In any event, at the present time of writing, the unrest that predictably gave delight to, and raised the hopes of, the incorrigible doomsayers at home abroad, may well have started running out of steam.  But the Al Mariams in the diaspora will remain sanguine as ever in their expectation of a radically different outcome without realizing that they are counting on a spent force.  Theirs  in essence mirrors what Terry Eagleton said about the, ‘’ small clutch of left triumphalists, incurably sanguine, would no doubt carry on detecting impending signs of revolution in the faintest flicker of militancy.” 

     What happens next?  Well, once normalcy is restored, there is ground to be certain that the OPDO will seize the initiative to ensure the durability of the post-riot calm. The leadership needs no counseling of the imperative of separating the root cause from the ancillary aggravating factors of the month-long turmoil with single-minded determination to leave neither unaddressed to the full extent necessary.  As the OPDO is the first to admit, anything less will only increase the potential of reversal to square one, rendering unavoidable a repeat of stern countermeasure against misguided mob action. The same applies to the Amhara region apropos of the recent outburst of violence in the northern Gonder administrative precincts. Preliminary assessment attributes the underlying issues of the bloodshed to a dual, but mutually reinforcing, entrenchment in undemocratic sentiments: Amhara chauvinist backlash to the recognition of the autonomy of the Kemant community. And narrow-minded elite suspicion of reversal of the favorable decision on Kemant autonomy, aggravated by delay in implantation of the institutional mechanism of self-governance.  As in Oromia, there are of course local and émigré actors fanning the needless discord that neither party to the conflict could look back with pride when the dust settles. If anyone stands to gain from the tragic incident of inter-ethnic fallout in Amhara region as elsewhere in Ethiopia, it is the same subversive conspirators, bent on undermining the federal arrangement.  Witness the macabre celebration of images of blood-dripping causalities of the clash in northern Gonder as if such sight stands as a salutary omen, heralding the end of the EPRDF government.  Fortunately there is a comic relief to this morbid cyber messaging garbed in the trappings of legitimate expression of political dissent. It is indeed amusing that all of a sudden every Tom, Dick and Harry with a face book account has become an expert on the rosy scenario to follow EPRDF's fall.  

    Be that as it may, there is no denying that, like its complementary counterpart the OPDO, ANDM was caught off guard by the sudden eruption of identity- based explosive tension in minority enclaves of northern Gonder. Granted, for historical reasons, instilling democratic nationalism in Amhara region is a more tasking endeavor than in any of the remaining regional states of the Ethiopian federation. Yet ANDM can draw from its experience of handling demand for recognition as it prepares to once and for all equitably reconcile the interest of the majority and the minority through regional application of the general principle of self - and -shared rule.  Surely there is no lack of conviction in this democratic principle, nor can ANDM/EPRDF be unhinged by mobilization around the question of national recognition. The test for ANDM, however, lies in consolidating the democratization process in Amhara region to the satisfaction of the grassroots population. This requires stamping out complacency, combating slippage to undemocratic behavior, corrupt regionalist interlocking, and bureaucratic venality up and down the leadership hierarchy. As the same is more or less true to the OPDO, leadership has the added challenge of addressing perceptions of unequal distribution of the region's resources. This is not an issue of identity per se that the OPDO/EPRDF is ready to face at any time, even welcomes such claims where the situation warrants. But a redistributive issue, implicating vertical cleavage is a slightly tricky question to handle. For instance, after the end of command-economy, land has become one the chief prized sources of generating wealth in Oromia and Ethiopia in general. Yet implementation of the land administrative regime tends to attract rent-seeking and corrupt practices, particularly at the current rate of increased investment, notably along the modern trade and manufacturing corridor crisscrossing Oromia. As it happens, the EPRDF neither mobilized on a class-based redistributive political platform nor inherited a rich country where the question of redistribution of wealth loomed large as the first order of business before the nascent EPRDF government.  Whereas, as the country emerged from a dead-end and entered a new phase of wealth creation with the introduction of market economy, the EPRDF had to learn and implement best, but intricate legal and policy instruments to avoid high preponderance of income disparity. Subject, no doubt, to constant review, innovation and upgrading as the private sector expands and the role of the public sector recedes.




     By the same token, presiding over arguably the biggest investment destination, the OPDO needs no reminding that the recent spasm is a wakeup call.  For the message is unmistakable. The Oromo people expect from the democratically elected leadership a cleaner government, a decent level of service delivery, equitable material reward to each according to his/her contributions: And above all, greater participation in decision-making that particularly affect the daily lives of ordinary people in rural Oromia. Nor can anyone lecture the OPDO leadership that such measures go a long way in rebuilding public trust in the organization's commitment to Oromo interest and uncompromising stand on everything that matters most to the Oromo people. If any reminding is needed in this regard, it can only be the manner, belated as it is, with which the OPDO is handling the crisis situation. This is to say that, more than the recent law-enforcement measures, the prompt initiation of candid and onsite public discussion has a lot to do why of the riots in Oromia i the fizzling out. However, if there is one important lesson to be learned from the needless violent outbreak, it is the urgency of thorough political housecleaning.  Not, as it were, by a public-relation campaign of no lasting impact, but through constant interface between elected OPDO leaders and their respective constituencies. More than at any time ever, a permanent forum of consultation is bound to be more crucial as new development policy designs are sure to be introduced in the coming years of transformation. Put differently, as unforeseeable issues arise in the context of transformation, the intended beneficiaries need to be consulted from design to implementation, lest public confusion breeds resentment, if not, resistance which could quickly deteriorate into disorder. The broader issue that cannot be lost on the OPDO is the need to broaden and deepen awareness that Oromo national interest is best measured by the social and economic improvement of the Oromo people. Whereas overemphasis on issues of boundary demarcating lines only triggers counterproductive emotional frenzy. More so in the context of federal democratic Ethiopia, as legal mechanism of adjudicating such disputes exist, regardless of who is affected by the ruling. Fortunately, as calm gradually returns after the storm, voices among the partakers of the current discussion in Oromia are being heard, lamenting the needeless resort to violence as if venues are unavailable to take up issues of concern with the concerned authoritative governmental bodies

    But as disquiet subsides, what can one expect from Al Mariam? For one thing, by now he too must sense that the only thing that is on the way of coming to an end in December 2015 is the disturbance in Oromia and Amhara regional states: and not, as he had hoped, the federal government. Such as the bind he is in, our professor either has to continue being clever by hindsight, leaving predictions of the future to those more qualified than he can never be. Or, otherwise, Al Mariam has to blame his forecasted date of regime change to typing error. If he chooses the latter, he has to insert what publishers call errata, instructing his readers to change December 2015 to December 2045 as the likelier date of EPRDF's final reckoning if ever it comes to that.  By then neither Al Mariam nor any of us will be around, except the heirs of the federal democratic republic of Ethiopia.     

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