In his speech, posted on social media on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, the Prime Minister expressed his views on the schism within the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. Both the form and content of his speech were unexpected from the PM we believed was a Constitution-respecting, law-abiding civilized leader.
It was sad to see a Prime Minister infantilizing his ministers and talking down to them; even sadder to see his ministers behave as if they were grade-school pupils. Some were even taking notes, though what the PM was saying was simply an unabashed repetition of the unsubstantiated claims of the renegade bishops.
Did the PM forget that, in a democracy, the PM is only “primus inter pares”? He and his ministers are equals, and he is only “first among equals.” Did his ministers forget that, in a democracy, they are not the PM’s students, but his equals? Certainly, cabinet ministers owe loyalty to the PM. But loyalty does not mean servility.
The PM said that there must be a separation between State and Church. We all agree with him. But in the next breath, he himself erased the dividing line and launched a litany of unsubstantiated political accusations against the institutions and practices of the Church.
He in fact ended up legitimating the acts of the renegade bishops as acts in defense of language rights. It appears that the claims of the renegade bishops and of the PM are not true. But even if they were true, it is up to the Church and not to the state to solve the Church’s internal problems.
Shouldn’t the PM spend his time and energy to stopping the indiscriminate massacre of innocent men, women, and children in Oromia rather that flout the constitutional separation of State and Church? Is it the constitutional duty of the PM to tell the Holy Synod of the Church what to think, what to say, and what to do? Is his intention to treat the bishops of the Church in the same infantilizing way that he treats his cabinet ministers?
Even more amazing. Despite the PM’s claim that he knows everything that happens in the country, he was silent about the public intervention of security forces in support of the renegade bishops, and the arrest and detention of priests, deacons, and active members of the Tewahido Church.
Is it not the responsibility of his government to ensure the respect of the constitutional separation of State and Church? Or does the PM believe that the security forces are above the Constitution? Or does he believe the Tewahido Church is a threat to Ethiopia such that it must be the target of the security forces? His silence on the anti-constitutional activities of the security services does not bode well for the future of Ethiopia.
By the way, his claim that his security services know everything that happens on the ground should be a concern to all. Is the PM building a secret-service dominated society disguised as democracy in order to impose his will, beliefs, and ideas on Ethiopians and their religions?
What about freedom of speech? How come the state-funded media outlets have been repressing the stands taken by the Church while providing a public platform for the renegade bishops’ claims? Since the state medias are funded with public money, they belong to all Ethiopians. They have therefore the obligation to reflect the views of all Ethiopians. Or, does the PM think that the Tewahido Church and its members are second-class citizens who should not enjoy equal freedom with the renegade bishops?
The PM’s demeaning address to his cabinet ministers secretes so much conceit that it suggests that Abiy Ahmad would like to add another title to his name. He already has three titles: Ph.D., Prime Minister, and Noble Peace Prize winner. The danger with having too many titles, merited or not, is that it that it goes to one’s head. The person then gets addicted to titles and craves for more.
His belittling address to his cabinet ministers clearly suggests that the PM might have become addicted to titles. He seems to crave now for a new one: that of the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Church, hence his performance during the address as the only person who knows the problems of the Church and the appropriate solutions.
It certainly sounds impressive to be addressed daily as Dr. Prime Minister Patriarch Abiy Ahmad. No wonder, the PM was behaving as the Patriarch of the Church.
In conclusion: Dear Dr. Prime Minister Patriarch Nobel Prize Winner Abiy Ahmad,
We, as Ethiopians, are proud to have a leader who knows the ways of the State and of the Church. We are confident that, with you at the helm, our earthly and spiritual needs will be fully met.
We thus beg you, with the same obsequious spirit of your cabinet ministers, to regularly post on social media what we have to say and do, so that we could safely find our way to the kingdom of knowledge and beatitude. We promise that we will listen to your lectures with the same adoration as your cabinet ministers.
Thank you Dr. Prime Minister Patriarch Nobel Prize Winner Abiy Ahmad.
To Publish Article On borkena, please send submission to email@example.com for consideration.
Telegram Channel : t.me/borkena
Join the conversation. Follow us on twitter @zborkena to get the latest Ethiopian news updates regularly. Like borkena on facebook as well. To share information or send a submission, use firstname.lastname@example.org