Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeOpinionCan PM Abye be a dictator and thrust the country into prosperity?

Can PM Abye be a dictator and thrust the country into prosperity?

Kebour Ghenna (Photo : file)

By Kebour Ghenna

The world has known lots of self-absorbed, egotistical rulers fixated on consolidating power and indulging in extravagant monument-building while neglecting the fundamental needs of their citizens. One should only peruse ancient and contemporary history books or visit the grandiose buildings and monuments erected by such leaders to grasp the extent of their vanity.

Was there ever a benevolent dictator in all of history who genuinely cared about his people and wanted the best for them?

Perhaps Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia. Remember him? He managed to keep the various ethnicities that made up Yugoslavia from battling each other like they did after he was gone. Tito resisted Soviet domination, earning him admiration from his people and respect from world leaders of his time.

However, true benevolent dictators are rare. Leaders like Pol Pot, Stalin, Robespierre, Kim Jong, Idi Amin, and Mengistu Hailemariam, among others, are remembered as tyrants who callously sacrificed their fellow countrymen to consolidate their power. Their cruelty stemmed not from ignorance or self-pride, but from ruthless ambition and an absence of moral conscience.

Take leaders like Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, a lifelong president, who passed away in 2006 after 20 years in power.

Bizarre and ruthless.

He instigated a Stalinist-inspired personality cult, which included actions like renaming January after himself and portraying the Goddess of Justice with his mother’s face. Monstrous statues featuring his image dotted every city, and he christened the primary Caspian Sea port with his own name.

Utilizing profits from Turkmenistan’s gas reserves, a sudden modernization initiative ensued, eradicating historical sites, ancient foliage, and traditional waterways. In their stead emerged vacant highways, extravagant monuments, government edifices, and palatial structures constructed from gleaming white marble.

However, beneath the surface spectacle, the ordinary residents of Ashgabat witnessed scant benefits from this ornamental overhaul.

So why do such leaders end up being cruel or/and Bizarre? Are they mentally ill? Crazy? Social psychologists believe violent dictators are ruthless, not crazy. The consensus is that many of the cruelest dictators are not mentally ill – in the sense of being out of touch with reality – at all. Instead, they are ruthless and power hungry and do not care how much they harm others.

Probably, many of these dictators would fit the description of a sociopath (which is very similar to the concept of psychopath) — that is, someone with an abnormal personality type that lacks a moral conscience, lacks remorse, and is incapable of feeling love or true concern for others.

However, sociopaths are perfectly aware of what is happening in reality and do not qualify as “insane” by the legal definition. To illustrate the distinction, someone found innocent of a crime by reason of insanity might have heard voices ordering them to kill someone. Or, someone found insane might have thought a family member had been replaced by a demon or other impostor. Sociopaths do not experience hallucinations and delusions, instead, they rely on manipulation and deceit as their primary tactics.

Is Prime Minister Abiy sliding in that direction?

We can debate how fair or unfair what I’m about to say is. But it’s undeniable, at this point, that “The Prosperity Party” i.e. the ruling party, could be more accurately called “The Party of Prime Minister Abye Ahmed”. As the party increasingly becomes synonymous with his leadership, concerns arise about abuse of power and the prioritization of grandiose projects over addressing the pressing needs of the population.

Oh, dear God! How did we ever come to this?

When a leader prioritizes building an opulent palace in a country where citizens struggle to make ends meet or focuses on beautifying the capital while a significant portion of the city’s residents live in slum areas and face financial hardship, it’s clear that the leader has veered off course in their quest to establish democracy and prosperity for the people.

Editor’s note : This article appeared first on the social media page of the writer


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  1. Kibour Gena,
    Let’s look in to India. In terms of checks and balances, the Indian constitution provides a clear framework. The President of India oversees various key institutions such as the Armed Forces, Judiciary, Auditor General, Election Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, and foreign aid finances. The President holds the sole authority to declare a national emergency. If Mrs. Sahle-Work Zewde had these powers, there would be no need for a national emergency in Amhara. Prime Minister Abiy lacks the authority to command the army, interfere in the judiciary, use foreign currency for construction projects, or dismiss anti-corruption and election commissioners, preventing manipulation of elections. So in Ethiopia, it is the Prime Minister’s Power stupid!


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