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By Samuel Estefanous
‘The Pioneers of Change are no more and the reform is hijacked. No, doubt about that.’ I have been hearing desperate voices lament in despair.
Most of these embittered folks are for the most part hard core supporters of the ‘Reform’ and its charismatic leaders. At least they used to be. One thing is for sure-they are not card carrying registered members of the Party and on that score alone, they are credible voices to reckon with.
If I were a pollster, I would always track the stream of thoughts of this class of the society. However most unlikely it sounds; eventually the fate of this Country is going to be determined by them. To begin with in all fairness they are the ones who had suffered under the previous regime, and who had paid the ultimate price in the process. Secondly, they tend to be honest, less opinionated and broadminded citizens who are singularly guided by the interests of the country beyond the mundane private selfish interests.
I would like to take up the following issues primarily with those folks in mind.
1-Change? What Change? It has always been a reform, deep or otherwise.
In the event you are wondering, I would like to refer you to the PP Party Program adopted in 2019. The twenty nine pages ‘Program’ is actually a manifesto of the amalgamation of different political parties that used to make up the Front called EPRDF.
I have tried to make inquiries if there is a well developed actual party program and I was told there is none other.
This Party Program makes no pretense of inducing a fundamental change in content except the change in the form of structuring the transition from a Front to a united party.
On the contrary it commits itself to sustain, maintain and develop the gains achieved under EPRDF. EPRDF has always tried to reform itself to endear itself to its exclusive privileged constituency. And transforming itself into a Party by dissolving the Front has always been an agenda constantly deferred and which had suddenly given eminence solely to quell the popular protest.
So, one can persuasively argue that EPRDF’s policy packages and programs are alive, kicking and working.
2-Conducting the Founding Congress after winning an election and forming a government…
Remember Lemn Sissay? The knighted Briton poet laureate of Ethiopian origin?
He keeps saying “I didn’t want and I don’t want to be defined by my scars”. I guess Ethiopians at large didn’t want their beloved country to be defined by the ugly scars successive governments have disfigured her with and badly wanted to ‘forgive and move on’.
We all did.
But this government took the generous magnanimity as a free license to govern by total whims and caprice. You don’t have to be a lawyer to realize that even without consulting the political parties registration proclamation, a political party needs to conduct a founding congress (general assembly) as a prerequisite for registration.
Any well informed citizen would tell you that a political party needs to present the following documents to be registered in the first place, let alone run for election.
- Memorandum of association.
- Articles of association or by laws.
- A party program adopted by the founding congress.
- A clear system of party internal control and auditing mechanisms.
- And of course the list of party leaders elected by the founding congress.
But not Prosperity Party. It is making a total mockery of the laws of political party regulations in the country.
They know how it works because they are applying and observing the standard strictly when it comes to the minor fry political parties of little consequence. No, it isn’t ignorance of the law that made them show such blatant disregard for the rule of law (though this doesn’t absolve them from suffering the consequence of noncompliance). If you ask me, it is on account of a sheer sense of entitlement and complacency.
This kind complacency reminds me what had happened to the Russian Orthodox Church in one of the Baltic Republics after the demise of the USSR. The Church leaders were under the illusion that they were too big to be regulated and failed to register Church property as per a new regulation applicable to all civil societies and religious organization. After the duration for registration was lapsed, all unregistered properties were liable for confiscation. The ROC wasn’t granted any exception.
What I am saying is the National Electoral Board shouldn’t have registered Prosperity Party in the first place and it should have revoked the license before the June 2021 election.
Otherwise, it should have demanded the PP to run for election either as EPRDF or as the constituting parties that made up the Front.
The party has recently declared that it is going to conduct its very first founding congress from Megabit 2/2014 until Megabit 4/2014. You know what it is gonna do? Debate and adopt its program for the very first time.
Naturally one wants to know, on what platform did it run for election in the June 2021 election if it is yet to adopt a program?
Nada! We were duped, dear fellow compatriots.
You aren’t gonna believe this but Prosperity Party hasn’t even elected its leaders either, and the premiership of Dr.Aby is thus legally and technically questionable; and to think PP flaunts large number of members with PhDs and J.Ds among its ranks!
3- A House divided against itself…
Yes, you are right a house divided against itself cannot stand. I guess it is a Biblical verse made famous by Abe Lincoln.
The country is polarized and you need not ask why. The party in power doesn’t know exactly where it is towing us to. We were told it is making a primordial shift from ethnocentrism to ethio-centrism but the country has never been this sharply divided along ethnic lines.
At least during the long reign of EPRDF, Ethiopians of all ethnicity and all walks of life were united in their opposition to EPRDF and EPRDFites. Now that EPRDF is gone, there isn’t one single organized political party to rally us all behind a solid common cause or purpose. Let us admit it, in the past three years ethio-centrism has lost its formidable support base in the Amharic speaking Northern provinces. It is a regrettable loss very difficult to regain.
These days ethio-centrism is timidly making plaintive voices in Addis and some isolated urban pockets in the rest of the country and among the Diaspora.
The principal problem is most EPRDFites thrive on intrigue, tribalism, avarice, lies and calumnies. These are their distinctive and definitive characteristics and you have only to read their own reports on the subject. Ironically EPRDF’s democratic centralism (the substitute to the rule of law in the country) had mitigated to a certain extent this naked avarice. At least this extent of tribalism in a public institution was unheard of. These days, PP cadres have divided public institutions like a pie and had freely taken their designated shares and do with them as they wish.
4-Honorable Members of the House of People’s Representatives have become Squatters…
Isn’t this symbolic of the nature of the members of the august body of the of House of People’s Representative? They are trespassing on public premises and they have to be forcefully evicted. They have wielded the ultimate power in the country more than the Premier and the Council of Ministers have and they are behaving like ‘yechereka bet’ squatters. This says a lot about the collective tributes of most members of Prosperity Party.
The bottom-line is unless PP makes a courageous and determined clean break with EPRDFites, it is going to fare worth than EPRDF.
I hope and believe, the forth coming Congress is going to make substantial breakthroughs and PP is going to earn our respect and vote without resorting to populism.
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