TPLF Politics: Individual and Institutional Reform
Zeru Hagos Nov 18, 2017
TPLF conference is taking too long! All EPRDF member organizations have concluded their deep Tehadeso conference except for TPLF. To date, TPLF has released two interim conference statements. The first was generic as usual and dry with no scoop. The latter, however, was short but loaded. I assume both statements were released to avoid confusion among the public. The social media has become too disruptive even for TPLF in spite of its style of holding closed meetings as always! Why is it lengthy and what hinders TPLF from finishing in a timely manner? Is it because the depth of its review is expansive?
According to people with some insight the long-winded conference is in part because of external events but mostly due to its intense “gemgam” review, which is moving at a snail’s pace! I am told from some reliable sources that its review process of an individual leader is taking two days with deep assessment! It is astonishing to learn TPLF considers dressing and undressing a person will bring fundamental change to tackle the chronic issues the public and the country is confronting. It is true individuals run institutions and those at the top leadership must be held accountable. But what is needed is a thorough review of why GTP failed and why the issue of good governance persists year after year. At this point there is little advantage to be gained from individual gemgam. I cannot imagine there are individual Tegadalay TPLF folks that want to intentionally hamper good governance practices.
Thus the focus should be in exploring institutional building. Identification of bottlenecks and correcting the system in place should be the priority. Individuals assigned to critical positions without merit, talent or capacity have no place in a developmental system. It necessitates institutional building be aligned with professional capacity rather than personal allegiance. What TPLF and other EPRDF organizations ought to identify is where the systemic problem exists and create a framework that will enhance the servicing of the people. Another mechanism that needs to be put in place is bottom up system where the greater majority of the public could express their grievances and hold those in power accountable. Right now it is top down and the bottom up participatory system is practically non-existent. Public officials even in the higher echelons must know they are public servants (Ye Hizeb Agelgay) and we should remove addressing public officials as, one who has power (Bale Seltan) since the power they exercise was granted to them by the people to service the public. One Tehadeso mantra and word should be Ye Hizib Agelgay and we need to do away with the word “Bale Seltan”.
It is good if TPLF concentrates more on institutional reform instead of individual wrong doings like it did during Gedli times!
So why is the gemegam/review so spread-out? There is one undeniable trait of TPLF that has worked well before! That is its gemgam is free and open. There is nothing that cannot be said about an individual during review times! This may have worked in the past where people were volunteering their life. But in today’s Ethiopia where people have family to support and where free market capitalism is at its inception it is impossible to dress and undress a person in the open and expect him/her to remain productive. For this reason it would be better if its assessment and gemgam are more on how to build institutions that check and stop the current networking and grouping. I highly suggest it implement a system where capable, qualified, well-informed men and women are appointed to top political positions by merit only.
Right now the perception is Group A is winning vs. Group B and that cannot be good. ታጥቦ ጭቃ እንዳይሆን!
The other information I got from reliable sources is that the conference is drawn-out because there are many startling events unfolding in Ethiopia. It is sad and disheartens many EPRDF/TPLF supporters to learn that the federal government and regional states are undermined. What I see is a deviation from the very principles of Federalism. In addition, there is perception looming in the different parts of the country as TPLF being the culprit to all the ills that are taking place in the country. This unjustifiable perception and accusation of TPLF being the cause must be candidly refuted, as it does not reflect the reality. It is imperative that TPLF ask why such perception exists. After reflecting on the issue TPLF should communicate transparently about the state of affairs and the characteristic of Federal governance as it pertains to Ethiopia. I believe unless the rumor mill is dealt with and unless the great majority of the people understand what encompasses Federalism and what the Federal system means then the rumor mill will over power the true essence of Federalism.
I say it is now time TPLF take the pioneering task to disseminate and educate the people about the structure of the federal system. It is after all the Federal structure of the country that paved the way to the many developments and equitable structure of regional governance and respect of each and every ethnic group in the country. The leaders or “Ye Hizib Agelgaye” got to where they are only because of the envisioned equitable pathway of the Federal system. Therefore, the vigorous struggle to defend the very system that has ensured the respect of each and every nationality must be the discussion to our ongoing nation building. It is vital for TPLF to do some soul searching to determine what went wrong over the last quarter century. It is the Federal system that brought gains that have been demonstratively achieved? With all the successful developments and economic triumphs why is there mistrust among ethnic groups and why are some ethnic groups hunted for their ethnicity? It will be a huge catastrophe for TPLF if the federal system is to fail. After all the foundation of the federal system was realized through unflinching commitment to bring justice and development to all the ethnic groups in Ethiopia. The Amora’s and Keshi Gebru’s to name a few selflessly stood and died to bring equal access for the common good of all Ethiopians and their sacrifices shall not be in vain. Thus it absolutely necessitates that individual bickering stop and the bigger picture be taken into consideration to build the nation to yet another level of growth! ህድሪ ከይጥለም!!
In the end, the conference must try not to taint the outcome as Aboy Sebhat or Azeb Mesfin Conference. The issue of nation building is beyond individuals. Some pundits connected to individual political leaders are spinning as a win lose conference between said individuals. This archaic way of thinking must once and for all be replaced with being for or against the principles of the party. It should be obvious that individuals have been granted assignments not because of their personal make up but because of the principles they pursue and their readiness to serve. The principles of TPLF were erected to serve the people. TPLF aligned itself with other Ethiopian political parties so every ethnic group could thrive and reap the benefits of the resources of the country.
The vigilant and committed are creators and conduit of transformation. We are witnessing today’s myriad developments that have taken place in such a short period of time due to extraordinary commitment to the principle that TPLF/EPRDF stands for. Victimhood is for the feeble and weak and is alien to the confident selfless heroes that transformed Ethiopia. That pioneering trait to bring change has kept Ethiopia from being subjugated by outside forces. The spirit of winning a hard struggle has opened up the venue for Ethiopia’s accelerated development. Today it is not the time to talk about winners and losers. The intention to alleviate poverty has now reached a crossroad hence attention to institution and nation building is the next level TPLF must indulge in. In my opinion the rigorous struggle will continue in spite of individuals wanting to use score cards. I believe whatever the perception the contention of ideas will ultimately move the country to a higher phase. I also believe contradiction in and of itself is healthy since it gives opportunity to weed out the dying and pave the way for vibrant leaders to emerge. It is my hope and I would like to urge the public servants of TPLF “Ye Hizb Agelgaye” to set up a system to serve the very people that put them to power.
We are told the conference is expected to continue into the coming mid-week to be followed by another public and member level conference. The expectation from the public is very high. I hope this time; the conference will be on substantive and real economic and developmental issues. Although some may like classic TPLF to return, the public demands pragmatic and out of the box thinkers to come to the front and engage in institutional and nation building. Without such talents the issues and commitment to build, strengthen and establish institutions will not take effect and does not matter whether there are classic or non-classic TPLF thinkers. ጸሪናን ዉሂድናን ይቅረ!!
My last word is that our country is at a standstill today. The economic indicators show that tough time is still ahead of us. The year 2010 EC (Ethiopian Calendar) should not be a repeat of the year 2009! Cut short of individual gemgam, rise to elevated discussion of nation building and institutional governance. Please finish the conference early and demand EPRDF to hold its congress soon! That way at least half of 2010 year is saved for tangible work. Must the country freeze to wait for EPRDF to iron out its internal growing pains?