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HomeOpinionSome Observations on Why Prosperity Party Has Failed to Bridge the Gap   

Some Observations on Why Prosperity Party Has Failed to Bridge the Gap   

Ethiopia _ Prosperity Party

By Samuel Estefanous

Six or seven years ago, while I was travelling in the Eastern part of the country, I had made an impromptu stop at Adama and I was enjoying the calm soothing evening air the City is famous for when a total stranger engaged me in a rather pointed conversation for my taste.

You can figure out for yourself the vibe at an open air beer garden in any given Rift Valley town in the country- a travelling loner cannot decline the warm company of the locals even if he wants to. So what I did, I let the elderly man who had forced his company on me to carry on. He began with the obvious, you know, the regular conversation breaker. In this country you don’t begin an idle conversation with the state of the day’s weather; instead you right away start by damning EPRDF with choice words of curse.

“I just don’t understand what this people are up to, they are ruining the country.” The reference ‘this people’ is unmistakable but I kinda weighed in just for the effect,

“You mean the EPRDFites, huh?” I observed. The old man gave me an impatient look as if imparting- who else, like you don’t know the reference.

Hitherto, I had taken such encounters for granted but on that eventful evening it was like I had an epiphany. It was like the people and the ruling coalition are traveling on two parallel roads in opposite directions hatefully snarling at each other with vengeance.

The gap looked so unbridgeable that only naked might was keeping the Coalition in power. However what we didn’t know was the youth of Oromia and Amhara were staring down the yawning barrel of the guns pointed at them with considerable contempt.

In such circumstances, Ethiopians realized that a state of anarchy was looming around the corner and they were bracing themselves for the inevitable virtual disintegration of the Nation on ethnic lines when a breakaway unit of EPRDF suddenly appeared on the scene from nowhere. This select group of politicians smacked of and talked like run of the mill regular Ethiopians. They promised the multitude a bloodless primordial transformation of the country without totally uprooting the existing state structure. Medmer promised us that a pragmatic eclectically oriented political ideology of no actual exclusive dogma (more in the line of Ethiopia First tum) would be the sole guiding principle for the foreseeable future.   

We all tripped over ourselves in our enthusiasm and longing to see our beloved country in one piece and at peace and extended our support without the slightest reservation. Across the board, Ethiopians breathed a sigh of relief assuming that we were spared the impending anarchy. 

Sadly, four years later, the transition we were promised would be bloodless turned out to be dripping bloody, the country is being broken in to multiple de facto separate pieces and we are wondering why…             

Here are some possible factors that have derailed the transitional medium dubbed Medmer off the projected track…

1-The Agents of Change were few and isolated. 

By its own admission, the number of registered and card carrying army of EPRDFites was/is close to ten million but those who broke allegiance and meaningfully parted ways with Front were a handful. When the fall of the erstwhile mighty EPRDF was declared the bulk of EPRDFites were caught unawares. Unlike the rest of Ethiopians, they must have felt like their entire life time investment had collapsed on them until Prosperity Party made its intention crystal clear to the effect that nothing is going to be changed except the rhetoric as long as they are willing to be re-educated and re-christened.      

In plain terms the change was limited to a closed circle of a committed few, it isn’t effectively communicated to the army of Cadres, and it was forced down their throat. What went down one’s throat involuntarily is certain to be spewed. If you really think about it that is the chief reason the change wouldn’t take root no matter what. EPRDF Cadres are only human, they weren’t just asked to shift allegiance but to liquidate their previous self, seal it and kick it to Timbuktu-an impossible feat to accomplish. 

Obviously they couldn’t hence the regular bickering between the Premier and the cadres. The only way out for the Premier and Co is to disband the inherited cadres and recruit fresh ones.  In legal parlance when an institution established by a given regulation is dissolved it is customary to decree in the miscellaneous section of the law repealing the previous legislation that assets and liabilities of the dissolved Enterprise are devolved to the new one. It is disrespectful to thus transfer members of one political group to a rival political party with diametrically opposite ideology (at least on paper) as if they were chattels or something. On their part they should have resigned their position and refused to be transferred.  

Thus it goes without saying that the only reason they are in to Prosperity Party is economical. If they get the chance they wouldn’t hesitate to turn on Medmer and shred it to pieces at the first opportunity in the most terrible manner only EPRDFites are capable of. I had a sneaking feeling that TPLF had ventured an assault on the Federal government forces counting on the support of the army of cadres it had raised in the past twenty and seven odd years otherwise it wouldn’t have snapped a death trap on itself the way it had done.  Thank God, TPLF counted out the overwhelming Ethiopian public from the equation and paid the ultimate price. 

2-The undying sense of absolute entitlement 

Of all the vices of EPRDFites, the one that never ceases to amaze me is their sense of absolute entitlement. Just because they control 100% of the public affairs of the country, they assume that they are entitled to dispense justice the way they like it, become extremely generous at the tax payers’ expense, fire and hire at will…the list is endless and it is certainly the hangover from the curse Revolutionary Democracy.

They are under the illusion that unlike the rest of Ethiopians they are not subject to the common law of the Commonwealth. They strongly believe that they are accountable only to the party and they are subject only to the peer review (gimgema) of the party hierarchy and liable only to the extent the party choses to hold them accountable. As everybody knows the worst penalty the party meets out to a loyal cadre is change of position or change of duty station. 

You know why? Every single EPRDFite is guilty of some breach of the common law and they use it as some kind of leverage to silence each other. That is how the country got itself into a vicious circle of ‘sustainable’ criminal enterprises. An EPRDFite chief of a given public body runs it like it is a family estate of his co- heirs. He hires whomsoever he likes and he fires whomever he dislikes with total impunity as long as he keeps the network of ‘yebelay amerar’ well informed.  No wonder, recently the Premier had mercilessly berated the top echelon of members of the Addis Ababa City government.   

3- You better watch your steps; I speak for my ethnic group

The reason individual EPRDFites are having such an irresponsible field day is simple-whatever they do, good or bad, they do it in the name of the ethnic group they hail from but for their own private interests.

It is impossible to hold an ethnic group to account or to reprimand a sub clan; more than anything else this state of affairs has contributed to the excesses of the widespread culture of impunity in the country.  The fact that a growing number of people have become supersensitive on the question of defending the domain of their respective ethnic group without a single question being asked has enabled the culprits to retreat deep in to the impregnable den. If an official is under some kind of investigation the question dancing at the tip of most folks tongue isn’t what did he do but where is he from.

God Bless. 

Part I of this article is available HERE.
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Why should we believe this Author? What EVIDENCE and whar data are you relying to come up with your theory? This seems more like a narrative of your own. The Title is so appealing but the content is too shallow with all due respect.

    • I truly understand what you mean, I honestly do but like you said the observations are indeed personal yet I would very much like to know whate you found missing in data out of the three propositions
      1-didn’t Prosperity Party inherit members of EPRDF en mass, though it adopted a program that counters the latter’s fundamental trade mark definitive tenets? do you believe ten millions members had a change of heart overnight?
      2-what better qualifies the sense of entitlement among EPEDFites than the condos and lump sums they give out to whoever has touched their hearts and as some kind of cheap publicity stunt? the way Sheikh Al mudin does or Emperor Hailesiassie used to? At least the latter two were being charitable against their own private coffers. As to the mayhem among public organs it is a News item in the public domain and the local Ombudsman reports attest the truth .
      3-that officials of the incumbent run everyday business taking cover behind their respective ethnic group is common knowledge admitted by the Premier himself.
      4-in the past four years the country has been at war in Tigray, Oromia and the SNNP…I can cite countless reports …
      Having said that I do agree with you the Observations are indeed personal…hence the title “Observations…’

  2. Excuses, excuses and more excuses. By your own numbers, the cadre class in Ethiopia has grown from may be hundreds of thousands in the derg era to 10 million plus in the EPRDF now EPRDF2 aka PP era. Why does a country need these many cadres in the first place? The cadre class should be disbanded completely and in its entirety for Ethiopia and Ethiopians t be free from the shackles of poverty, political demagoguery and constant strife and war. The cadre class is a bench warming, no good, not qualified class occupying key public service sector positions and driving policy making without knowledge. Fifty years ago, yes half a century ago, Addis Ababa’s Mayor was Dr.Haile Giorgis Workeneh, a PhD, civil engineer and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon. The growth and development of Addis into a modern metropolitan and international, African hub cannot be achieved by appointing an unqualified political hack like Adanech Abebe as the mayor of a capital city of 5 to 6 million people. Look at the water shortage, the electricity shortage, the transportation congestion, the sewer problem and on and on. What qualifications does Adanech have to run this city and solve its problems. Some sixty years ago the civil sector in Ethiopia was slowly being built up from ground zero by an educated Ethiopian workforce. The qualifications for a government position were education, talent, ambition, experience and performance. Yes there was nepotism, yes there was some corruption but not of this magnitude. The country is ravaged by mass unemployment in the upper 40 to 50%. Youth unemployment is hovering in the 50% to 60%. What this tells is that the government economic planning and administration are all massive failures. The cadre class has to be methodically disbanded and removed for good. A new technocratic workforce selected not on quota but on merits, education, talent and experience has to be reestablished. The so called PM sitting on his chair must realize that he cannot administer by talks and speeches. Either he is a problem solver or he is part of the problem. He has the tools to pass fundamental laws to change course, disband the cadre class, hold violators accountable before the law and precipitate governance by rule of law on the ground. If not capable of doing so, he should admit that Abiy is also a bench warming cadre and nothing but a cadre of PP and not a PM!!!!!!!!

  3. PP is covered only in good name but it is the same EPRDF Woyne servants that glued to power for 34 years. Those people can never bring democracy or equality. They are not salvageable but graduate Woyane brainwashing school rotten in the old EPRDF ethnocentric backward ideology taking turns to loot, murder, kidnap, abduct, imprison, silence and destroy the country.

    We should called them Bilgina Party that must be completely removed and replaced with new real educated people.

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