Why it is strenuous to be an EPRDF fan. – By Kuchiye

January 6th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

I consider myself fairly balanced in most aspects of human demeanor. (more…)

I consider myself fairly balanced in most aspects of human demeanor. Keeping an open mind, avoiding being judgmental, believing in the power of discourse, self respect, respect for the values of others, sensitivity to real or imagined fears– these, in no particular order, are among attributes I consider important in any decent human being and in contemporary Ethiopian politics. Divisiveness, rhetoric, mediocrity, lack of dignity, name calling, holier-than-thou posturing and win-lose prototypes are among my turn-offs.

Recently, I swung into one of those “self-assessment” moods and tried to seek the rationales that made me a Kinijit supporter, www.ethiomedia.com/access/why_i_support_kinijit.html. Over the new-year weekend, I could not get over the persistent nagging of my conscience to continue with the “self-assessment” exercise. Hence, I began to reflect on why I find myself skeptical about EPRDF and why, indeed, the majority of Ethiopians find it strenuous to bring EPRDF into their fold. Here is what came out of my brain storming exercise:

1. EPRDF willingly landlocked the country and surrendered the right of 80 million people to access the sea. By admission of its top party brass, EPRDF forced EPLF to abandon the peace negotiation with the Derg government and facilitated Eritrea’s independence.
2. It surrendered the entire Eritrea only to turn around and fight an outdated trench war that claimed the lives of 70,000 citizens. This, over a piece of land that is of little consequence. In an even more perplexing saga, EPRDF surrendered sovereignty of that same piece of land to Eritrea – the Algiers Accord.
3. EPRDF exploits the ethnic differences of its people as a weapon of divide-and-rule. It cultivates mafia-type interest groups in regional administrations fully knowing that once these groups are entrenched, they will fight not for the people they are supposed to represent, but for the status-quo and for their circle of friends.
4. EPRDF dared to take a chance at democracy but lacked the wherewithal to accept the outcome. By so doing, it squandered an amazing legacy that would have gone EPRDF’s way. The killing of peaceful demonstrators, the mass arrests, the ban on independent media, are not exactly the types of incentives that inspire confidence and popular embrace.
5. EPRDF suffers from a clear case of paranoia. Therein might one find explanation for most of its shortcomings: political philosophy that is founded on ethnicism, propaganda strategy the boarders fear mongering, economic policy that endows the ruling party and its clique but denies the citizen, fear of creating political space to accommodate genuine opposition, habit of holding others accountable for its own ills.
6. For EPRDF, human and democratic rights are inconvenient truths that have to be recited on world political stages to satisfy the minimum requirement of donors. How else can one explain the absence of press freedom and the totally suffocating political climate Ethiopians are forced to live in? Isn’t this the reason also why Ethiopia is branded as one of the most press unfriendly countries in the world and a leading human rights violator?

Here comes my fair and balanced side. No doubt EPRDF inherited some of the country’s problems, but it was and still is in a historic position to mitigate them.

No doubt, also, some progress is made in selected development endeavors, albeit in limited fashion. School enrolment, gross health coverage, road miles etc have improved in absolute terms but as measured by human development Index, which the UN says, is a broader definition of wellbeing, Ethiopia ranks 169th out of 177 countries. That is not a record to write home about, is it?

The ultimate optimist in me says there is still time to right the wrong and to build a vitally necessary level of trust between all the parties who have vested interest in Ethiopia. If we dare to spell out what is important for each one of us and what we are fearful of, if we put down our guard and engage in decent discourse, if we show willingness to consider ways and remedies outside of our comfort zones, then we will no doubt be rewarded with a much needed breakthrough. Let’s try the wisdom of queen Sheba, the enormity of Yohannes, the benevolence of Menelik, the progressiveness of Haile Selasssie, the pride of Tona and Jifar, the cunning of Habte Georgis, the daring of Balcha and the humility of all our ancestors. What good is a generation that is not worth a legacy?

  1. Berhanu Getahun
    | #1

    Once in a blue moon someone comes up with a noble and novel thought on what is important to bring peace ,democracy , rule of law to Ethiopia. What presently is keeping Ethiopia from getting out of this muck she is in is the greediness and intoxication with power the government is going through .As well as the same attitude that this generation has developed. Th is generation has become blind to the suffering of the general population . The present attitude is grab whatever is self agrandizing and self enrichment. This on the other has been celtivated and nourished by the governmsnt. Even those who have been asyiyng that they oppoase the present government are found to be emersed in this behavours lawless banditory and robbery. The solution creating a completely raadical change of attitude and uderstanding to the problems of ethiopia which is ulike the present one. GOD HELP US HOW!!

  2. tamrat alemu
    | #2

    dawn with tplf regim like mbeki.

  3. Mussa Ghedi
    | #3

    My late father returning from one of his far flug trips to Addis Ababa once told me what the then mayor of the city, who was engaged in the construction of a new townhall replied to an interview with the media.
    The interviewer asked him whether the mayor will replace existing employees of old municipality as it appeared, in his view, the employees would be to old fashioned to be housed in the ulra-modern offices.
    I was told that the mayer replied by reminding the interviewer that would it not be the same old clients that would visit his offices anyway.

    Whoever is doing the analysis, the current Ethiopian political dynamics seems to follow the ‘quelquelo silitcha..siltcha quelquelo’ pattern.

    May Allah afford us the wisdom to move forwarda bit.

  4. | #4

    i want know when is hailu shawel is going back to ethiopia,ETHIOPIANS IN SEATTLE WILL YOU PLEASE ASK HIM.

    THANK YOU.

  5. rachu
    | #5

    Kuchiye:
    Is this going to be a “why” series? Your last week’s essay on why you support Kinijit was brilliant.This one is brutally factual but also foreward looking. Love your style. How about Tewodros in your tribute list of our ancestors ?

  6. Azarya
    | #6

    Kuchiye: Amen to your last paragraph…

    “The ultimate optimist in me says there is still time to right the wrong and to build a vitally necessary level of trust between all the parties who have vested interest in Ethiopia. If we dare to spell out what is important for each one of us and what we are fearful of, if we put down our guard and engage in decent discourse, if we show willingness to consider ways and remedies outside of our comfort zones, then we will no doubt be rewarded with a much needed breakthrough. Let’s try the wisdom of queen Sheba, the enormity of Yohannes, the benevolence of Menelik, the progressiveness of Haile Selasssie, the pride of Tona and Jifar, the cunning of Habte Georgis, the daring of Balcha and the humility of all our ancestors. What good is a generation that is not worth a legacy?”

  7. | #7

    How sad to see that you have deleted my commentary on this article! Any interested party can go and read my entry at athttp://washerastyleethiopianpolitics.blogspot.com/

    I doubt if this entry will make it either. So much for your alleged belief in freedom of speech.

  8. Tegen
    | #8

    Washera_2,

    Don’t be surprised if your comments doesn’t show up here because THIS IS “FREE PRESS” and the publishers of this site are “FREE” to do whatever they want and they know what is good for the public…….you know what I mean right?
    One thing that puzzels me here is how come there is not a single POSITIVE NEWS from Ethiopia??????????????

  9. Tegen
    | #9

    Kuchiye,

    YOu said;

    “Here comes my fair and balanced side. No doubt EPRDF inherited some of the country’s problems, but it was and still is in a historic position to mitigate them.
    No doubt, also, some progress is made in selected development endeavors, albeit in limited fashion. School enrolment, gross health coverage, road miles etc have improved in absolute terms but as measured by human development Index, which the UN says, is a broader definition of wellbeing, Ethiopia ranks 169th out of 177 countries. That is not a record to write home about, is it?”
    ………………………………………
    But you forgot to elaborate more where Ethiopia was just 17 years ago, and in my openion, you haven’t been to Ethiopia recently because the reality on the ground tells another story not to mention the well documented and research based analyses of well known international institutions.

    The truth is out there but you have to be prepared to accept it and to call a spade a spade, if this government is able to book even a meer 1% economic growth after the war with Eritrea just 8 years ago and after the set back from the last election then they are doing A HECK OF A JOB!!!!!!!!!

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