The Hailemariam Desalegn Factor By Yared Ayicheh

September 10th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

The Meles era is gone. EPRDF was addicted to Meles’ lies and delusions for 21 years, and now, as an organization it is going through withdrawal symptoms. The bewilderment its members and supporters feel is like that of a drug addict who is faced with life without drugs. EPRDF has no choice but to go through a process of adjustment and adaptation of a new organizational culture without Meles at the helm.

That is where Hailemariam Desalegn comes in. The delay in confirming Hailemariam as a Prime Minister has fueled many conspiracies. Here I would like to frame the possible scenarios with or without Hailemariam as a Prime Minister.

New Blood

Hailemariam is a new blood in the EPRDF. His background as a post armed struggle member of EPRDF’s leadership by itself gives him a whole different new mentality. It is a well known psychological fact that those who participate in a lengthy armed conflict will be impacted by the experience of violence. Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD) is one that is common among those who go through traumatic experiences such as armed conflict. Hailemariam is free from PTSD, Meles was not.

Another positive dimension of Hailemariam is his spiritual life. Hailemariam is a protestant Christian and Ethiopian Protestants are by large very committed to biblical fundamentals. Hailemariam, however, does separate religion and politics. In an interview he did with an Ethiopian Protestant magazine, he clearly asserted that his religious views will not hold him back from implementing his politics.

Major Crisis

Even though it is a wishful thinking to expect Hailemariam to be the political opposite of Meles, it is reasonable to expect Hailemariam to be less toxic and more reconciliatory in his political tone. But this is all assuming Hailemariam will be elected to be the chairman of the EPRDF and there by clinching the Prime Minister’s position. If Hailemariam is, for what ever reasons, undermined and does not to get the PM position that will be the beginning of a major crisis in the EPRDF coalition.

EPRDF, with a marginalized Hailemariam, will politically get into uncharted territories. Hailemariam party, Southern Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), holds 122 seats in the Ethiopian Parliament. Having Hailemariam ‘demoted’ from the perceived Prime Ministers’ position that he is expected to get is a political blow to the 122 SEPDM members in the Parliament. That is an opportunity Ginbot 7, OLF and others will undoubtedly see as a great political opportunity due to the Southern State’s geographic location and large population.

17 Million Protestants for Hailemariam?

Another dimension to a ‘demoted’ Hailemariam is the religious factor. Ethiopia’s politics is already at a tipping point of turning from ethnic politics to religious politics. The EPRDF has touched the nerves of Orthodox Christians in 1991 by removing the Orthodox Pope, even though the Church’s rule clearly says the Pope can not be replaced while he is alive. In addition to that the excursion of the Meles’ administration in to the Waldiba Monastery’s territory for the production of sugarcane has ignited an Orthodox anger at the EPRDF.

The Ethiopian Muslim have recently been protesting in the streets of Addis Ababa, in tens of thousands or more, demanding the Government stop interfering in their internal affairs, specifically in the Governments attempt to change the leaders of the Ethiopian Muslim association, by placing leaders with a doctrine from an imported Islamic teaching called Ahabisim. Scores of Muslims were killed in Aresi and Addis Ababa. More than 15 Muslim religious leaders are arrested from various parts of Ethiopia. Ethiopian Muslims have expressed their firm stand that the Government must get its hands out of the affairs of Ethiopian Muslims, and that they will not back down from their demand, whatever it will cost them.

According to Ethiopia’s Census 2007 Ethiopia’s Protestants are more than 17 million. If EPRDF undermines Hailemariam and that is perceived by Protestants as an attack on Hailemariam’ faith, the ERPDF will be facing a coalition of political Orthodox-Muslim-Protestants which will be easily exploited by the opposition, specifically the Diaspora opposition, which is willing to use any political tactic to unseat the EPRDF.

Hailemariam Joins the Opposition

If Hailemariam is either ‘demoted’ from the Prime Minister’s position, or he does not officially get to exercise fully the Prime Ministers’ constitutional powers, there by being manipulated and controlled in the background by senior EPRDF heavyweights, one possibility is Hailemariam may defect or resign from the Prime Minister’s position. And if that happens, again, the Diaspora opposition will welcome Hailemariam with open arms touting his defection or resignation as the demise of the EPRDF, there by pushing EPRDF into an implosion.

Hailemariam is the best thing for the EPRDF and the Opposition, but mostly for Ethiopians who seek a moderate and positive leader, unlike the fascist Mengistu or the politically toxic Meles.

You may reach the writer at

  1. Belay
    | #1

    Never ever lousy man
    rubbish mind

  2. Mulugeta
    | #2

    Who ever leads Ethiopia we need them to maintain peace and stability plus strengthen democracY

  3. tokoota
    | #3

    Hailemariam should not be bullied and intimidated by the woyane thugs. he should now prepare the way for a peaceful transition to free and fair democratic elections immediately. the first thing he should do is to free all political prisinors, civic leaders , journalists and activists who have been jailed by the terrorist woyane fascists. That is the minimum he could do to transform Ethiopia into a pluralistic , free and prosperous country

    | #4

    Things are going normal and as it is even if there could be conflict of interest b/n the major players there could be no danger that force EPRDF to make a change of direction Meles had gone he left stable country and united party behind there is nothing new except the wish full dream of the opposition abroad

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    The 2007 national census never reported 17 million as Protestants please refer back, don’t mis lead us.

  6. Tecola W. Hagos
    | #6

    This is an insightful article that is lucid and to the point. It is to the great credit of Yared that he gave us plausible (possible) political developments both negative and positive if there is some tampering with the process set in place by Meles Zenawi and his administration—the succession of Hailemariam Desalegn as Prime Minister. However, the problem is not just limited to the “election” of the next “Prime Minister,” but has a far deeper problem of holding together a party organization consisting of several independent political organizations that had played second fiddle for the last twenty one years of the leadership of Meles Zenawi and his TPLF Orgaization. Because of existing military and security power structure, it is inevitable that TPLF will continue to dominate the EPRDF, and that will simple further increase the political disaffection of the members. At any rate, Yared has done us great service in writing such insightful and educational article. Thanks, indeed.
    TecolaW. Hagos

  7. tedd
    | #7

    Another positive dimension of Hailemariam is his spiritual life. Hailemariam is a protestant Christian and Ethiopian Protestants are by large very committed to biblical fundamentals. Hailemariam, however, does separate religion and politics. In an interview he did with an Ethiopian Protestant magazine, he clearly asserted that his religious views will not hold him back from implementing his politics

    I do not see Hailemariam’s spiritual life as positive for Ethiopia. Protestants came to Ethiopia to destroy Orthodox religion not to promote Christianity. They think that protestants are the only christian on earth. That is why we hear them say she/he became christian every time an orthodox converted to protestant.They do not see orthodox as christian. That is not positive for Ethiopia. Ethiopian protestants have managed to divide Ethiopian christian family into two by brainwashing one family member into joining them. Now Ethiopian christian families have stopped worshiping god under one church.Imagine how hard it has become for a family at time when a husband goes one church and a wife goes another. It is even harder if children are involved. Who will decide for the children which group to follow? Religious holidays have become not easy to enjoy. I remember a family member who just changed to protestant saying I am not thirsty when he was offered to drink a holy water. He down graded the holy water to water out of hate he had for orthodox religion.Therefore I see the coming of protestant in Ethiopia to divide christian families and promote hate among them.

  8. kiros
    | #8

    Weyane from their day one when they control ethiopia they new they are so week so they have only one enemy they scared of is shabia,shabia could have the bigger share in ethiopia.

    so they have to let it go alone

    weyane they are very tiny they do not have any supporter,by one hand they get some support from shabia until they get stronger.

    the only choice they have now shabia gone ,amhara ,oromo,somali they become scared and divid the nation to stay on power.

    weyan even now they have no power at all lets rise up and by by by weyan.

    they will never make a peace with shabia they know how they gone be dominated cos diaspora eritreans have much to invest and control every sector weyane thats only their problem.

  9. selamta
    | #9

    wow my people are so full of yourselves you think you know it all,but i tell you ,you know nothing ,zilch but just wishing that whatever you trow out there would stick and be the next conversation piece.I tell you buddy the people of ETHIOPIA have spoken saying no thanks to your hate and divisionism , move on people ,get a life

  10. Melas
    | #10

    Unlike other groups, protestants in Ethiopia are not destroying orthodox or use force to convert people. Love is the keyword my brother.Ethiopian Protestants are not thirsty for political power grab,but given the chance to lead the country they will be a great promoters of unity,equality,prosperity. A persnons believe shouldn’t be a major factor to be or no to be a Leader . As we all know there are lists of criterias we all expect from an ideal Leader ,but ideal Leaders won’t run a country effectively great Leaders do. Let’s hope Hailemariam will become a great Leader and unite the country.

  11. Anonymous
    | #11

    2007 Census Protestant population is 14 million, not 17 million. In 2012 the number may be higher than 14 million, but not as much as 17 million.

    Please correct it!

  12. selemon tola
    | #12

    what impress me is this eritrean foolish good for nothing people like this guy kiros eritrea is a pariah state nobody even consider it as a state why are you talking about us everytime .why dont you do your homework and challenge your monster that stupid isayas nobody wants you in ethiopia the worlds no1 fool people of eritrea

  13. tedd
    | #13

    Love is one of the main forces to unite people. That is not the case with Ethiopian protestant. They are in the business of dividing the christian by brainwashing not by force. Without going far, investigate your families or families of close friends and try to see how divided we are. Those who were united now they are divided. I do not see that as love. No matter what, I have no problem having Hailemariam as our leader, but his faith will not do any good at all to Ethiopia as the writer tried to paint it.

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