Ethiopia and EPRDF- A Country and a Front Categorically Misunderstood
Teweldebrhan Kifle 8/10/12
The west, more often than not, portrays this ancient nation as a country whose lifeline is dependent on handouts. We, Ethiopians, had to face the despicable reality because it is for the most part, a legacy of misguided policies of our past leaders. For centuries, power was concentrated at the center and around few elites. Ethiopia remained under the iron-grip of “god sent” kings and self-appointed military junta, a killing machine of its kind. Patriotism was wrongly misrepresented as aggressive nationalistic rhetoric which resulted in creating more enemies than friends. Internal strife and civil war took their tolls and many separatist and unionist armed groups were hatched out all over the country. The country was doomed to disintegrate by the otherwise unpredictable centrifugal forces resulted from the separatist groups. The political wizards predicted the country’s downward spiral in tandem with its economy in ashes. This was the overall picture of this oldest nation on earth after its 3000 years of continued existence against all odds in an otherwise turbulent part of the world.
Come year 1991, EPRDF took power and delivered leadership that injected new ideas that the old political elites could not fathom. Self-determination, federalism, self-rule, free press, and what have you, commodities which were alien or unheard of in the “good old days” of reign of the old political elites. But to our surprise they changed colors immediately and they wanted more of the press freedom only to wage war against the other commodities mentioned above. They have written and re-written articles after articles and gushed out crocodile tears and cursed their “God” for letting them live long only to see the “disintegration” of their country they “loved” most in the hands of a “sellout” called Meles Zenawi’s led government. They have become “turned-democrats” and started speaking and writing about human right abuses forgetting that Ethiopians had to foot the bills of bullets that riddled the bodies of their beloved ones under their rule. As a catalyst, there was another group which used to spin hatred and jingoism among the Ethiopian Diaspora. They formed and reformed “governments in exile” to “save” the nation from a foreseeable doomsday. At times, they used to lobby senators who had an ax to grind thereby contributed in worsening the already distorted image of the country. When this didn’t bear fruit, they changed their minds and allied themselves with Ethiopian sworn enemies and told us that that too is to “save the nation”.
Amidst this political turmoil, EPRDF kept on moving, ratified constitution, conduct elections and formed a government. The naysayers however mocked upon the elections contrasting them with that in their adopted countries forgetting that democracy is a process that thrives and impacts through time provided that the necessary initial conditions are met. But they preferred shortcuts and deceitful manipulations to get them to the zenith of democracy and power. No stones were left unturned in blackmailing the government and its head Meles Zenawi. When EPRDF started investing in infrastructure and social services in a pace not seen in our entire history, those wistful old political elites attack the investment as a ploy.
A “revolution” of every color was concocted under the guidance of hidden international powers. Those killer-turned democrats were dubbed as the “hopes of the future Ethiopia”! According to the naysayers the new asphalt roads are bumpy for the very reason that they were built by EPRDF. When the country suffers from short electricity supply, they attack the government for doing less only to be seen lobbying international lenders and interest groups by the name of friends of this or that river to turn against the mega dams under construction. If we try to connect the dots, what we clearly observe is “politics by subtraction” at play. They hate like hell anything of ERDF. The problem is that this hate doesn’t stop there. It transcends EPRDF and has been affecting negatively the democratization process of the country.
What is funnier is those grizzled pseudo-democrats misunderstood Ethiopia as much they misunderstood EPRDF. They need to understand that Ethiopia is not a banana republic that volatiles into thin air at whim. It is a nation state built by the collective consent of it diverse nations, nationalities and peoples. Ethiopians have paid dearly in sweat and blood to realize their new nation state and will remain wary of the forces of destruction who dreams otherwise. Same is true with EPRDF. It is not a real state of individuals as the naysayers would have us believe. It is a formidable political force established on fundamental principles capable of converging endeavors of the Ethiopian people into peace and development. It has successfully passed countless challenges like war, internal party squabbles and developmental agendas. It is determined to lead Ethiopia to glory which currently has started showing promising results.
There is no doubt that individuals play their part in strengthening/weakening of the party but cannot determine its very survival. It is this fact the toxic Diaspora elements have missed altogether. When everything is tried and proved failure, they had to create bogus news and feed their minds. They celebrated the death of fellow human being because they think that it hurts EPRDF. If that was true, the martyrdom of Mussie and many other leaders in the formative years of TPLF would have resulted in weakening the front. To add more, the departure of Gidey Zer’atsion and Aregawi Berhe who were the politburo (Meles was in the second echelon of the leadership) at the time, and now among the toxic Diaspora who, in the case of Gidey, praying for his “god” to take the life of Meles, would have challenged TPLF. Stretch the argument and add the big names like Siye, Gebru, Alemseged, Tewolde…., who mistakenly overvalued themselves and left TPLF.
Their hatred to EPRDF is boundless and by extrapolation, their hatred to Meles is infinite. According to them, the death of Meles is like handing them power in silver platter. As far as power is concerned, they will do everything to grab it even if that means a death to Meles Zenawi.
Luckily, the majority of Ethiopians have diametrically opposite views on this great leader Ethiopia ever had. They are praying for him by the name of God (Allah) to recover fast and see him representing them in the comity of nations.
Ethiopia Shall Prevail!!