By Kebour Ghenna
It is said that the Roman Empire fell because it became weak and immoral, in a word ‘decadent’. As the late columnist Joseph Sobran once wrote, the Romans were so busy at their orgies, throwing Christians to the lions, poisoning their spouses, and eating exotic parts of animals in between visits to the vomitorium so they could eat more, that they didn’t notice all the Germans gathering on the frontiers. Then the ruthless pagan Germans rode in, trampled under their horses’ hooves the few poor debauched legionnaires who remained, still foolishly fighting on foot, sacked Rome, destroyed civilisation, overthrew the last emperor in 476, and ushered in the Dark Ages.
I am tempted to make an analogy!
Dysfunctional Ethiopia: Personality cult of Abye, religious conflicts, ethnic antagonism, economic fears, corruption, patronage, intimidation, violence, unaccountability.
Ethiopia is indeed in a period of change.
But do we really know where we are heading?
And if we do, then do we really want to go there?
This administration is failing not because of lack of support from the people, but because of poor leadership, ‘softish’ dictatorship, flawed institutional design. No one is allowed or wants to take responsibility.
Which brings us to the first defector of the new Prosperity Party’s democratic centralism: Lemma Megersa, an ambitious man who was quietly moved away from his powerful position as President of Oromia, to the Ministry of Defense, and now when he felt he may be losing all semblance of real power, he jumped ship.
Sound bad? Sound like a crisis? Well, may be.
Losing Lemma may be a nuisance but not a serious impediment to Abye. He (Abye) will continue to exploit the breakdown of EPRDF’s party influence. He’ll easily grab the party power (now literally HIS party) as it suits him with more freedom than perhaps any other leader in 50 years. He will organize the 2020 election with Jawar and co, hold multiparty elections with his Pro-Capitalist Prosperity Party as a favorite to win the elections. He will ultimately sell off state-owned assets to benefit the corporate sector and ease the way for price increases to consumers. Is that democracy, or domination by US capital?
Not that we know any better than you do, Dear Readers, how parties will fare in the next election. But if you read enough, you’ll see all the calls for multiparty elections coming from Washington are accompanied by a demand for open markets. Washington believes the two go hand in hand. And Prosperity Party obliges.
Meanwhile we spend time speculating about which local or national parties will form a government, or what happens if TPLF and ORDF or GPDM unite, or where would Lemma land, or Jawar go? etc…. We do not know we’re being played by the ‘Empire’. The problem is when we wake up… we would have lost everything, to be free to do anything!