By Samuel Estefanous
Recently I had travelled to the heart of the Rift Valley to quell an unrequited love affair I have had with that part of the country and ended up having this enlightening conversation with folks I hardly knew. It was like a scale fell off my eyes and the blurred dancing lines of the horizon were markedly defined-for better or worse that is. Our entire conversation was conducted until our lunch lasted and it was as informal as it could get to be under the circumstances. Basically it was a lunch break idle conversation a little laced with boredom and a sense of despondence but it did run the whole course most sincerely.
The whole idle talk could be summarized as betrayal of the overwhelming public by the incumbent’s increasing grand standing as if it is a legitimately elected government and not a care taker one.
The most interesting thing is the group was an eclectic ensemble with no visible political motive but simply idly reflecting on the state of the Nation while dining. Something I am beginning to understand has become a good alternative to group therapy in a country besieged by close and present existential threat.
The one ever cheerful companion who had delivered the staggering punch line actually introduced herself as, “…I haven’t donned a mortar cap of any distinction… neither do I wish to but to my mind and heart EPRDF is playing a blind man’s bluff on us…may God have mercy on them all…we were willing to be fooled for the good of the Nation but it sure looks like our magnanimity has made us look stupid.’
May you live in an interesting time, says an Oriental adage passed down from generation to generation. This certainly is an interesting time in Ethiopian history and we most certainly are feeling the full import of the blessing.
Here is the foretaste. Has it not been for the elusive trajectory of Ethiopian politics whoever in his wildest dream would have thought EPRDF’s demise would be effected from within out and its top guns would take the stand to deliver the most harrowing accounts of its accumulated sins?
At the snap of the finger, everything seemed to have turned upside down. The popular almost country wide protest was suddenly given a blessing of legitimacy by none other than the government of EPRDF itself. Suddenly as it is they switched jersey and joined the protest against themselves. They marched furiously- in protest against their own administration. They conducted and staged forums after forums doing phenomenal expose of the horrors of their administration to such eerie uncomfortable detail that weak hearted folks were advised to tune in at their own risk.
Proudly as it is they had declared, ‘we were this bad, we are beyond redemption…under our watch Ethiopians of every walk of life were made to feel guilty solely by virtue of being born as one. EPRDF has been a murderous political junta whose singular motto was- for the good of the Front and its members…anything and everything is expendable.’
Sounds familiar? Oh, yeah it is a Stalinist party discipline about which even Khrushchev had spoken against bitterly in later life…‘where would you like to be buried, Comrade?’ Stalin was asked after he had expired, joked Khrushchev ‘wherever the Party deems fit and right,’ retorted the Comrade’s mortal remain. I have learnt from a credible source that EPRDFites’ devotion and loyalty to the Front was so strong and uncompromising that beginning from Ato Meles all the way to the vanguard rural cadre, all used to swear by the Front and readily declare they were willing to do service wherever the party deems it right and fit.
The rank and file members of the Front might not have any clue that it was an Orwellian dictum copied from the tradition of the CPSU and religiously integrated in to the culture of EPRDF. But they did keep the culture alive and served the cause religiously, including the few ‘snitches’ who had abandoned the barn politics of EPRDF.
But three years ago, at the peak of the spontaneous Keeroo and Fano protest, suddenly and after a quarter of a century, we were blatantly told that EPRDF wasn’t actually a solid Front with any degree of meaningfully embraced set of values or an enduring program for that matter. That sure did leave us scratching our heads for lack of any visible and meaningful understanding.
Here are some reasonably plausible scenarios and I would very much like to be proven wrong, I sure do dear Editor.
Given the current turn of events and the precarious state of the Nation
- Are they pathological liars incapable of trust, who had shamelessly hijacked the popular protest and brazenly adopted its cause as their own?
- Were they hired mercenaries without a will of their own, who had broken loose at the first opportunity to do so?
- Are they opportunistic carrion birds with cannibalistic tendencies, who are capable of feeding on their own kind?
- Is the government of EPRDF disbanded and the Front dissolved, in that case how come the Parliament is not dissolved as well?
- Again, in that event-since the National Electoral Board has technically dissolved the constituent parties of the Front-does the Parliament has any semblance of legitimacy to sit in session let alone adopt laws and regulation? Is it not fait accompli that the minute EPRDF is dissolved and disbanded the Parliament is dissolved as well and the government is rendered illegitimate by sheer operation of the law?
- What legal grounds of power does the government have to conduct election, to appoint members of the National Electoral Board?
- Thus, are we all blinded by the common hatred we have been harboring against TPLF to see the plainest of facts that Prosperity Party is a thinly veiled and just a cleverly rechristened EPRDF?
- Is an alien ‘incomprehensible Political Program’ forced on Prosperity Party purely by instinct of self preservation?
- All in all isn’t all the ‘reform’ just what it really is? And Prosperity Party is just a reformed EPRDF?
Otherwise, it would have suspended the FDRE Constitution, disbanded the Parliament and dissolved the FDRE government. Having done that it would have adopted a transitional Charter and formed a government under its aegis with multitude of other political interest groups. After that the transitional government would have convened a Constitutional Assembly.
On the contrary, for some pragmatic existential reasons, it has chosen to label a charge of treason at any political group who dares entertain such an idea.
Hence, a number of legal loopholes marred the incumbent government of FDRE … to mention but a few
- The FDRE Constitution is a veritable testament to the countless gross injustices visited up on the people of Ethiopia in the name of the inviolable rights of Nation and Nationalities who are supposedly represented by the deputies of the House of People’s Representative. Therefore since Prosperity is a successor party it owns both the debts and credits of the dissolved Front and technically it cannot organize itself having individual citizens as its members without suspending the FDRE constitution and dissolving the Parliament and the incumbent government of EPRDF.
- The reigning FDRE Constitution as the supreme law of the land unequivocally declares that the sources of all political power are Nation and Nationalities of Ethiopia and individual citizens don’t have any meaningful role to play except through the medium of a given Nation or Nationality. By simple deductive reasoning it goes without saying that multi nation nationality parties do not have any constitutional power to form government unless they represent a Nation or Nationality.
- The FDRE constitution’s central and definitive characteristics is its being an instrument of rectification that tries to do justice to presumably oppressed and neglected Nationalities. I don’t think anybody would deny some nationalities were glossed over by the currents and fundamentals of history, what made the otherwise noble idea grotesque was this unfortunate historical imbalance is made the foundation of the supreme law of the land. Thus, basically the FDRE constitution is a testament of vengeance. By simple projection it has fundamentally given a cart blanche license to all presumably Nation and Nationality representing parties to denigrate other Nationalities at will or by necessity; hence as long as the FDRE constitution is ‘at large’ a true government of the people by the people for the people cannot be formed or lasts.
Having said all that, there is yet one singularly outstanding question that bugs me on no end…do we have any other viable alternative to propping up this government? By propping up I meant to say holding its deeds and ideas to light, wrestling with it and rerouting it back to reason, rule of law and above all delousing the government by disbanding its armies of cadres …yes, for the good of the Nation. Particularly these days when the Sudan, Egypt and the United States are colluding to break us up in to small weak fiefdoms?
At the end of the day what made me feel heavy hearted was unless we the multitude do something about it…in the too near future… the careless words and deeds of our dilettante politicians, coupled with their ignorance of the true will of the silent majority is going to wreak havoc with this beautiful land of an incredibly magnanimous people.
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