By Dilwenberu Nega, Sept. 25, 2012
Addis Ababa’s Amharic bi-weekly, Reporter, was spot on with its analysis of the manner, style and speed with which the ruling party, EPRDF, had acted to get the succession back on track following the untimely death of Ethiopia’s Great Leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. EPRDF’s masterstroke was in every sense “A milestone,” as The Reporter’s had proudly declared in its editorial.
As far as the minority of Ethiopia’s vituperative residents in Europe and America, particularly those who turn ballistic every time good prevails over evil and who look at Ethiopia’s socio-economic strides with a jaundiced eye are concerned, EPRDF’s responsible and courageous acts, ushered in the dawn of an era not of inspiration, but of desperation. These largely arm-chair politicians and cyber warriors had earlier pinned their hope on howling chaos, turmoil of controversy and binges of street violence to manifest close on the heels of Meles Zenawi’s death. The people and “the listening party” had, instead, dealt a death blow to their day dream of snatching state power in the anticipated hubbub, confusion and turmoil. This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time, for them to err on the side of unmitigated stupidity. In point of fact, the history of Ethiopian opposition parties abroad is filled with examples of how they had brought shame and mortification on themselves by either not understanding the workings of EPRDF or by underestimating its popular appeal.
While the above statement makes a fair representation of the state of Ethiopian opposition groups abroad, the avatars of the politics of bully and hate are seen portraying themselves as power to be reckoned with, despite the fact, that is, nearly all have, out of their own volition, given up their Ethiopian nationality. The Constitution of FDRE - like the constitution of United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, etc – has disenfranchised foreign nationals. What right, have British and American citizens, therefore, to poke into Ethiopian politics, never mind issue ultimatums? As Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn had taken the Oath of Office to, inter alia, “uphold and defend The Constitution of FDRE,” it will be incumbent upon him to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to their advices and ultimatums.
Haile Mariam must make no mistake, for real challenge to his administration comes not from the minority of largely confused and confounded Ethiopians abroad, but from the millions of Ethiopians who in their bereavement and lamentation for our Great Leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, had the boldness of conception to demand more of the same: the continuation of the tried and tested policies of Meles-EPRDF. Inspired and buoyed up by the public’s unprecedented lachrymose reaction to Meles’ demise, the new Prime Minister will be well advised to leave the toxic Diaspora in the dark.
As the new Prime Minister had acknowledged earlier, it is certainly “difficult to succeed Meles Zenawi”, but it can’t be extrapolated to mean “difficult to follow him.” No one expects Haile Mariam Desalgn to be copycatting Meles Zenawi. The personal challenge for the new Prime Minister would, therefore, be to prove to friends and foes alike that he is his own man, rather than someone acting under the shadow of a much loved and respected leader. Meles had earlier satisfied himself, and by extension EPRDF, that Haile Mariam Desalgn has what it takes to lead a complex country like ours. He will – like all leaders – be judged by his own merits and demerits. Fortunately for Haile Mariam, he kicks off his mid-term administration backed by public regret cum resolve to finish off the unfinished projects of Meles Zenawi.
I end my commentary by joining millions of good-willed Ethiopians in wishing Ethiopia’s first born-again Prime Minister God’s blessings.