The Pseudo Political Party of Tyranny/Oligarchy By Teodros Kiros
The political party in many parts of Africa which are today independent is puffed up in a most dangerous way. In the presence of a member of the party, the people are silent, behave like a flock of sheep and publish panegyrics in praise of the government of the leader. But in the street when evening comes, away from the village, in, the cafes or by the river, the bitter disappointment of the people, their despair but also their unceasing anger makes itself heard.
The party, instead of welcoming the expression of popular discontentment, instead of taking for its fundamental purpose the free flow of ideas from the people up to the government, forms a screen, and forbids such ideas. The party leaders behave like common sergeant-majors, frequently reminding the people of the need for ‘silence in the ranks’. This party which used to call itself the servant of the people, which used to claim that it worked for the fail expression of the people’s will, as soon as the colonial power puts the country into its control hastens to send the people back to their caves. As far as national unity is concerned the party will also make many mistakes, as for example when the so-called national party behaves as a party based on ethnical differences. It becomes, in fact, the tribe which makes itself into a party.
This party which of its own will proclaims that it is a national party, and which claims to speak in the name of the totality of the people, secretly, sometimes even openly organizes an authentic ethnical dictatorship. We no longer see the rise of a bourgeois dictatorship, but a tribal dictatorship. The ministers, the members of the cabinet, the ambassadors and local commissioners are chosen from the same ethnological group as the leader, sometimes directly from his own family. Such regimes of the family sort seem to go back to the old laws of inbreeding, and not anger but shame is felt when we are faced with such stupidity, such an imposture, such intellectual and spiritual poverty. These heads of the government are the true traitors in Africa, for they sell their country to the most terrifying of all its enemies: stupidity. This tribalizing of the central authority, it is certain, encourages regionalist ideas and separatism. All the decentralizing tendencies spring up again and triumph, and the nation falls to pieces, broken in bits. The leader, who once used to call for ‘African unity’ and who thought of his own little family wakes up one day to find himself saddled with five tribes, who also want to have their own ambassadors and ministers; and irresponsible as ever, still unaware and still despicable, he denounces their ‘treason’. (Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth, 1961)
Fanon wrote this fifty years ago. Having stood the test of time, it stands as a living description of the tyranny of our existing regime. This is contemporary Ethiopia without modification. The living ideas of the Ethiopian people are willfully ignored, and if they are deemed radical those who hold the ideas are gunned down on daylight. The people’s wishes are ignored; individuals who are popularly disliked are promoted to new positions by way of sending signs to the people that their wishes are immaterial. Those whom the party hires are blind followers, often incompetent, and always corrupt and corruptible. The party
created and uses ethnic differences and foments trouble among the population in order to stay in power. The party becomes the ethnic party of dictatorship and not the national party of unity. Positions and power are selectively given to ethnicities such as to the Oromo’s, the gurages, the Tigreans, the Amharas, organized not by merit but by tribal belonging.
For all these reasons it becomes imperative that Ethiopians ask peacefully for regime change, so that the people can collectively organize a new Ethiopia with a national political party organized by the General Will of the people.
Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts)
Berklee College of Music