By Samuel Estefanous 08-08-18
Some broad minded folkstook me to task.They sure did. So here I am again.
The other week I tried to dwell on the overall‘comparative’ advantages of having Dr.Abiy for Premier. My fundamental premise is“change is inevitable and the status quo is untenable”.
In all honesty, EPRDF has run the whole natural course of its mission and it is high time it went to the retirement house with grace. According to its own ideologues it was about time the Front was decomposed to germinate a multinational party, hadn’t some private economic interests of the members kept it on an artificial ventilator.
Hence whoever is burdened with the ultimate historic task of acting the grand undertaker to commit the colossus to rest in peace is a trailblazer and liable to trip over and face multiple of challenges unless we prop it up every inch of the way. To expect the new administration to ‘act faultily faultless’ is too naïve a stance to last. To go about running a government in a process of transformational transition and not to commit a fault or two is unimaginable.
Even beauty is most appreciated when it is contrasted with a faulty shade, according to the bards of old.The wise thingis to do is to takea bow and not to take a cue when it comes to managing the teeming dancing crowd that expects Dr.Abiy to deliver strings of miraculous heals in a stretch of just three months.
Today I would like to get to the nitty-gritty of the practical aspects of the current administration’s sine qua none to the territorial integrity of the Nation and the security and peace of its Nationals.
1-A Transition, not a Revolution
This is a transition from within and it is the way most of us had wanted it.We cannot gamble away our precious peace and security by jettisoning EPRDF at one go. It would be like throwing out the baby with the bath water as the ferenjis tend to say. However much we all protest loudly most of us never ever ceased speaking in defense of the noble causes of peace. I have always maintained that we shouldn’t take peace and security for granted ‘cos it takes only one reckless ill-timed hyperbolic speech and the domino effect is gonna obliterate all our cherished hopes and aspirations at the snap of a finger.
EPRDF did keep our beloved country in one piece. We need to take that as a solid stepping stone to build on.
Dr. Abiy chose to work with the colossus to break it. He didn’t try to gamble away the gains of the Front. To this end, instead of indignantly, righteously and bravely ‘walk out’ on the General Assembly and earn lip smacking sympathy, he heeded the unerring lessons of history and climbed up to the very top hierarchy of the Front and took the reins and levers of power.
The Premier and Co. know the fate that awaited the ‘walking out’ brave warriors of old. The best they have achieved is the patronizing label ‘aye ewnetegna sew neber-mskin’.
2-Reeling in the Nation
A year ago we were practically holed up in Addis. We couldn’t so much as travel to ‘gefersa’ or’ Alemgena’. Folks were practically gnawing their teeth at each other. The rage was blind and muted for the most part and reminiscent of the bestial wild wars of the Serengeti.
Boy, it was so spooky that it had made usconsider fleeing the country and settle somewhere in Kenya in good earnest. I mean when a person feels such venomous hatred for a fellow Ethiopian he had never set eyes on, it says the cup of the status quo is full to the brim.Once again, we were fated to witness the charred remains of trucks along major inter regional high ways which invoked sad memories ofthe wicked dividends of civil war from our childhood days.
Trust me, hadn’t Hailemariam Desalegn wisely stepped down, and hadn’t Dr. Abiy stood towering above the mundane bickering of EPRDF’s top guns and broke its infamous ‘Circle of Trust’ to claim Ethiopia for all Ethiopians on equal measureby now this Nation would have been no more.Folks bent on discrediting the Premier tend to make a mountain out of a mole hill and keep echoing back the sounds of gun fires in couple of conflict pockets where the flames of the yesteryears are yet smoldering. It is willful ignorance all right; otherwise the memory of Addis being under siege is fresh in all our minds.
Let us not forget that we were spared the worst nightmare of our lives and the transition has literally reeled in the country suspended by the ‘skin of its teeth.’
3-Pragmatism is an Ideology.
In a transitional process like this the ideology of choice is pragmatism.Some folks assume without Revolutionary Democracy the Front would cease to exist or something. Nah, they boldly assert that the country would instantly come apart without Revolutionary Democracy.That is delusional. Pragmatism is inclusive, the former is exclusive. Dr.Abiy is absolutely right to choose inclusiveness at the expense of ideological purity and exclusiveness. No one Nation should be held hostage to a pack of flimsy theoretical exposition made sacred only on account of its obscurity.
In case you don’t know Revolutionary Democracy was originally a MEISON program adopted by the Dergue and later committed to the dustbin for exactly that reason-obscurity.For God’s sake quit swearing by it.
4- Is the Constitution Compromised?
Question is has it ever been respected? If not, who had been breaking it in to million pieces? Dr.Abiy spoke for all of us when he “rephrased” the question and wanted to know the answer.Every aspect of our private and public liveshad been under the control and domination of the Front. Folks make me smile when they complain how EPRDF has abrogated the fundamentals the Constitution by controlling the Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislative,the Security, the Military and the Media.Why it has never ever occurred to it that the Judiciary, the Security and the Military are non-partisan.
But that wasn’t enough. The Front employed Orwellian systems and methods to control the lives of its private subjects.
Dr.Abiy is the first government top gun to break the news that even EPRDFites were troubled in their hearts and spirit on account of the total indecency and utter disrespect to the human person being perpetrated by the Front as a matter of business- systematically and institutionally. I guess folks do understand the significance of the words ‘systematically’ and ‘institutionally’ and their implication. It is my sincere hope theywouldn’t come to haunt us later in life.
5-Over Correcting to the Left?
All right, I am myself left handed and I strongly object to the assumption that to go left is to go wrong.Which ever way it goes if a train derails left or right, it has derailed and has got to be corrected back to the middle of course and between the tracks.
Dr. Abiy’s detractors understandably voice their fear that in his effort to redress past misdeeds, the Premier is over correcting to the opposite direction and missing the golden mean.
Just to drive this point home, suddenly everybody has emerged from the decade’s long masquerade dance hall and showed us his/her true face. So, it is indeed true… there had been deliberate un- proportional representation of one ethnic group in the government at the expense of others?So, it is indeed true, the late Premier had cheaply bargained away the Sovereign interest of the Nation? So it is indeed true, there are two functioning Constitutions in Ethiopia one written and the other unwritten (like that of the Brits)?
You see, these folks don’t know what they are saying when they contend that Dr. Abiy is fighting ‘fire with fire’. We may have our respective private and personal opinions,our likes and dislikes about a leader but to sayDr.Abiy is fighting fire with fire is a little juvenile. If you ask me however much I disagreed with the late Premier’s ideology, I have always respected him and I have always felt the Nation owed him much. True, to the chagrin of my friends, I have always maintained that he is one of a kind and I am not ashamed to say he was my Premier. And there is no way I am retracting my words as they are my living honorable bonds.
Around ten years ago someone I know wrote that by the sheer number of the seats it is occupying at the HPR, OPDO is capable of making or breaking the fate of this Nation and on strength of that power alone; it should be respected and treated like a sleeping giant. The day it wakes up from its slumber and hibernation, the author had noted,hell is gonna freeze if preemptive measures aren’t taken to respect the democratic dictum- one man one vote.
Cutting to the chase, are Oromos being un-proportionally represented in the Executive? I am afraid not. Even if they are, in a process of transition, the Chief Executive needs to nurture a niche of trustworthy advisors until such time the transformation is securely and safely anchored.
To be Continued….