Leader comes and goes   but why?


Zeru Hagos 06/24/09

Why are leaders replaced? Take for example PM Meles. Yes PM Meles has been the top leader for his organization for a while now. But, during his time EPRDF has been transformed from a well oiled fighting machine to a formidable organization that won three successive elections. Under EPRDF Ethiopia has become truly a developing country and an aspiring democratic country! Yet, more is to come and more than ever a strong progressive and articulate leadership is needed. Who ever holds a majority seat in parliament in the coming election the next government will have a daunting task to navigate the country from becoming victim of the economic turmoil the world is in today to a proactive one. And if EPRDF becomes the majority seat holder who is there to lead than PM Meles and his team who have showed resilience and true statesmanship to garner world praise! So why change?

 The next government will have a daunting task to manage the turmoil that is engulfing the Horn region from Eritrea to Somalia. The Sudanese referendum that will surely split the country in to north south will certainly require an adept government in Ethiopia to manage the dicey situation there. And the biggest challenge of all, for the coming government will be to earn respect from all EPRDF member organizations in order to pass legislation.  It is clear that the parliament is becoming more vibrant and may not tip toe to party disciplines when issues come to the floor. Take the current uproar with the Amhara delegation about the population census! The Census bureau has to visit its counting procedures to find any weakness simply because Amhara MPs who are EPRDF members did not like the result.

If EPRDF chooses a new leader out of the non veteran EPRDF circle, who ever he/she may be will have a daunting task to convince the old guards in each front for their support.  I see an erosion of camaraderie if the new leader is a former Derge functionary!  For such person to take power at the top while long time EPRDF members who gave it their all are side tracked, is simply an additional burden EPRDF can do without. Thus, why would EPRDF want to change leadership at the top today? And why is Ethiopia’s constitution under pressure from Westerners who want to see leadership change to mirror their way of government?

 If leadership change is a must no matter what the situation is then why did EPRDF fail to adopt such language in its internal rule and the country’s constitution for this long?  Who really benefits a leadership change today? Not tomorrow but today? Tomorrow I agree there must be for no one is immortal!

Would EPRDFites be happy to see Meles and his government replaced? Would anyone be pleased to see Meles alone go and everybody else remain as is…if so what has Meles done for such treatment? Would a new prime minster solve any issue if he is to continue PM Meles government policy as is? If not which policy do we expect the new prime minister to change? Why can’t Meles continue if no policy change is needed? These are questions I have but I am sure there are more.

I personally think PM Meles, unless his medical condition is forcing him to take it easy, like a good soldier that never says I am tired, must continue for another term or at the very least serve a transitional two to three year time so the new leader is not overwhelmed before he /she gets in to the office. That way Ethiopia’s enemy from far and near will know for the next few years things will remain the same. The huge economic infrastructure development and the Sudanese referendum will be over by then and hopefully there will also be a closure with the Somalia and Eritrean issue.

 Some say Ethiopia is ready for an Afar, Oromo, Somali and e.t.c prime minister! Ethiopia has been ready for any competent and pragmatist and farsighted leader since God knows when! There was no tomorrow set aside for an Oromo prime minister by the Ethiopian people. Only a dysfunctional opposition and a confused, “aderby” supporters of EPRDF will advocate for such today! The notion that a prime minister who is an Oromo or a Wolayita or Sidama or an Amhara will solve the perception of TPLF dominance is a false one! The perception is simply created by the opposition to break down the EPRDF! Otherwise an opposition that never recognizes OPDO, ANDM and SEPDM as an organization cannot be interested to see a prime minister out of them! EPRDF should choose its next leaders regardless of race creed and religion!

 If a new prime minister or an EPRDF leader is to emerge it should be done based on merits and after a genuine discussion. The discussion should be on what is good for EPRDF and the country not what is good for foreign agents! The merits should be valued against tenacity during trying moments, farsightedness and awareness of geo politics! Above all the new leader should be one who has earned great respect among rank and file members of the EPRDF. For the road ahead is still bumpy and when push comes to shove these rank and file members will come handy!  No one certainly wants Kinjit type experience when tough times come! Kinjit leaders and supporters run tail behind to Washington DC leaving behind the country and innocent followers cold dry! Can you imagine a weak and unpopular leader leading the country during events like election 2005 aftermath!

 Our Ethiopia needs a stable and progressive government, we should tell Westerners we really are ahead of schedule to become like them considering it took them 200 years to be where they are! After all it took them 200 years to be where they are and still their democratic aspiration is still in progress like ours is!

 So why would EPRDF replace Meles today? Do they [EPRDF] not see the situation Ethiopia is in today?